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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Foragers Diary; August 2018

The fruits of a bit of opportunistic Summer foraging; comfrey, sweet cicely and a single puff ball.

Comfrey leaves in a simple batter frying in oil.

Cooked and ready to eat.

Comfrey leaves are very suculent and are a felicious shade of green once cooked.

Comfrey fritter with cream and fresh fruit.

DISCLAIMER; Comfrey is superficially similar to foxglove which you absolutely must NOT eat, foxgloves contain digitalis and could kill you. Also avoid the purple flowered cultivars of comfrey as they have been linked to cancer the native Common Comfrey with it's creamy white flowers is safe to eat though. Select young succulent leaves rather than the older leaves as these will be tougher and may have developed a bitter taste. 

Foxglove leaves have jagged edges and a more oval shape
Comfrey leaves come to a point and have wavy but not jagged edges DON'T CONFUSE THE TWO!!

In August you may also find one of not only my favourite edible fungi but one of the most sought after culinary mushrooms in the world.

Chantarelles peeking up through the damp grass. 

They were so abundant I was able to collect quite a few and have been back for more since.
The wrinkled appearance instead of true gills is a key identifying feature. That and the fruity, almost apricot, smell and the bright egg yolk yellow colour.

My oldest preparing them for the frying pan.
Although possibly a waste in the eyes of a talented chef fried in butter as an accompaniment to a big breakfast they were great.

Don't confuse them with subtly similar species, the gill's here are wrong as is the colour and there was no smell of apricots, do be careful with fungi even ones which like the chanterrelle seem fairly easy to ID. 

There is no better way to get children involved with the outdoors and wild food than with a bit of wild fruit harvesting, blackberries, raspberries and all manner of other fruits are to be found in the countryside if you spend some time looking.
My oldest; very proud of his haul of red and yellow raspberries. Between us we got about four kilos of raspberries plus some gooseberries and black currants. 

It would have been criminal not to use some of them to make an eaton mess.
Mulberries are my favorite wild fruit, and while they are not native to Britain, having been imported to cultivate silk worms, you can often find them in the grounds of stately homes. I found one recently on a stroll around the grounds of tewkesburry abbey.

It was cordened off to stop people trampling the berries into the abbey.
But there were a few within reach. They do ripen to black eventually but are still delicious when they are like this. There is also a white variety.

And this is why they don't want them trodden into the abbey. They are incredibly juicy!


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