FORAGERS are always enthusiastically looking for new wild foods and recipes to try out and share. Usually, we get to celebrate our successes…. but what about our failures?
Living in a part of the Irish countryside that’s rich with native plants, my family has had great fun finding and cooking all sorts of wild fruits and plants for almost a decade.
On the other hand, we’ve also had one explosion, a frantic weekend product recall and a jelly that refused to set. And for every fumble, I hope that an important lesson has been logged and learned!Continue reading “Foragers’ fumbles and fails”
WATCHING my daughter Becca (8) rescue earthworms while I dug the garden got me thinking about the benefits of allowing children to get mucky.
As she scrambled around to protect the worms from our hens, Becca was being exposed to what I consider healthy bugs. She was running her own conservation mission while chatting to me about why she loved earthworms.
A BARN OWL sighting close to our home one Thursday evening provided what I like to think of as a shared ‘super-buzz’ moment for me and our daughter Becca.
This was the first time we had ever seen a barn owl in the wild – but 8-year-old Becca didn’t have to wait quite as long as me for the experience of a lifetime!
The following morning her 84-year-old grandfather told me he hadn’t seen a barn owl for many years – probably not since his youth. Our conversation got me thinking about how lucky Becca had been, and how much I hoped she would have many more opportunities to see this snowy-faced, enigmatic bird.
FORESTS provide a valuable space for anyone seeking ways to find fitness, mindfulness or a free amenity for energetic kids, but they’re also easy targets for sneaky, illegal dumping.
There are three very good reasons to be angry at those responsible for fly-tipping or illegal dumping. Dumpers damage the environment, they are too lazy and/or cheap to legally dispose of items that are often recyclable and they cost the rest of us money!
THE YULETIDE season may send most of us into a shopping frenzy but Nature and Christmas have gone hand-in-hand from the very beginning.
The early Christians were a savvy bunch, recognising the need to adapt existing Pagan customs to help ease the transition for converts adopting a new set of beliefs. And that’s why there’s so much greenery in our homes at this time of year!
CRAB APPLES are one of those wild-growing fruits that often remain untouched on the tree but they actually make a delicious jelly that bridges the gap between savoury and sweet.
The apples we grow or buyare descendants of wild crab apples, which are usually found along hedgerows or in woods and untouched spaces. A handy tip is that if there are rowan trees in an area it’s likely that you will find a crab apple tree nearby.
We’ve made crab apple jelly on a couple of occasions but this year we decided to adapt our usual recipe by adding cloves to give it just a hint of spice. We like the jelly on bread or scones, but it can also be used with meats like pork or turkey, depending on your personal taste.
ROSEHIP syrup is a recipe with an interesting history and tastes good over all sorts of foods, including icecream and pancakes!
The great advantage of rosehip syrup is that while the process of making it is a little bit finicky the tiny red hips of the wild rose are readily available for free on hedgerows and in many gardens throughout the country.
These tiny red fruits look a little bit like elongated apples, which is no coincidence as they belong to the same family as crab apples and apples.