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Free Food From The Wild

The last post I did on eating out [?] was titled free fruit from the wild – but this one is more a days eating with some fruit. As you will discover, it’s not always necessary to bring a packed lunch, particularly at this time of year.

Once again, the golden rules of eating anything wild apply

if you do not know what exactly you are picking – Don’t Pick It !

1. Nettle

nettles

The common nettle or Urtica dioica is a personal favourite of mine. Extremely high in vitamins A,C and protein, I could give you the a recipe…. but this is more about eating on the go.

On that note and personally I like to eat the leaves as I’m walking. Do bear in mind the stinging hairs are on the underside of the leaf and like most green salads, the younger leaves are the better ones.

How to eat a nettle…. ? Scroll to 2 minutes 42 seconds – I love this bit of audio…

Micheál Galvin on the hedgerow walk (mp3)

2. Elderflower

elderflower elderflower berries

The scourge of many outdoor spaces, the Sambucus nigra is probably one of my all time favourites. It’s greatest use has to be the flowers which can be eaten straight away and how I had always done it. As it sounds, just munch on them like a horse might – but more than that, elder-flower with water and sugar is the most refreshing drink you will ever taste. Ever.

Which, if you leave it for a while will make booze.

My first taste of Elder flower champagne (mp3)

The berries can be made into many variations that are pretty much all jam-esque. I prefer to throw them in with whatever else is freely available and make a pulp. Yes I just eat it with a big spoon. Like Paddington Bear might.

3. Hawthorn

The crataegus monogyna. A dodgy image you may think, but – in focus are the leaves which can be eaten straight off the tree. Once again it is the younger fresher leaves that are the nicest – and I highly recommend the buds if you can get them.

A bit like a lot of the wild fruit the berries are great for jam-esque type boil the fruit to a pulp – but once again I prefer to mix these in with whatever is freely available as they are not that nice on their own, at all.

4. Crab Apples

The Malus – crab apple. Again, not that nice to eat on their own – but a bit like some of the other fruits I’ll eat a few of them if they’re the nearest thing to hand and I’m stuck a few miles further away than is necessary.

Once again, this fellow is nicest when boiled to a jam-esque type pulp and mixed in with others. In fact it works extremely well with hawthorn and elderflower berries.

5. Beech

The Fagus sylvatica is just your common beech tree. The nuts of the beech are my absolute favourite. A real treat to be honest. A pain in the tush to pick and peel en mass I find it better to pick a bunch and peel and eat from my pocket as I walk. It’s just nice to nibble as you go.

Once again – the leaves are edible but just like the rest of them, go for the youngest and the freshest.

The Garden Group – May Summer Outing

The 5th Garden Group outing takes place this weekend coming Sunday May 29th.

This is just a little taster of what you can expect….

Listen!

  • Date: This Sunday 29th May 2011
  • Where: Ballyboughal, The Slí na Sceacha/ Hedgerow Walk – Back Lane Trail
  • Time: 11.45 am

Also: I wrote this post on The Slí na Sceacha yesterday. It explains what and where in much better detail.

  • Details: meet outside O’Connors Pub – the only pub in the village in Ballyboughal
  • Numbers: limited to 15 [can be extended if I give enough notice]
  • Cost: No Cost. With thanks to Hedgerow Society Secretary Ann Lynch
  • Other: I recommend you read the garden group guide. And then read on…. Also Ann Lynch will be speaking about this outing and the history of the Hedgerow Society on The SodShow this Friday – 3pm – 103.2 Dublin City Fm 😉 Below is the route I took on Sunday.

New To The Garden Group:

Recommended reading of previous outings include

Please Note:

As always, if you are thinking of coming along the rules basic principles of logic courtesies as always apply. They are of course very simple.

  • If your name is not on the list [left via comment] – you can’t go. No offence. That said…
  • If you need to drop out – that’s fine but please do so as soon as is possible rather than simply not turn up at all – you not showing on the day may just stop someone else from going. This isn’t to sound in anyway rude it’s very simply because….
  • I don’t get paid nor receive any gratuities for this.
  • If numbers are going over put your name down on the waiting list and give me a call. We’ll fix something for you. Because…
  • The quota is most likely not decided by me. But then this isn’t the national concert hall.
  • Do enjoy yourself :)

Got a suggestion… thoughts or comments below

Garden Group-ees:

  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: see below. not a problem ;)
  • Dress Code: advised to wear suitable footwear and clothing. s.
  • Duration: 3 hours should see you well – if you are time restricted.
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call. This is the only post you’ll need to keep your eye on and I’ll update it and let you know via the facebook page and twitter.

Getting There:

This is O’Connors Pub in Ballyboughal so you know what it looks like now. Directions to get to Ballyboughal are below.

By Sat Nav
pop in these co-ordinates
53.522026, -6.267284

By Directions – from Dublin Airport

14.1 km 22 mins
Dublin Airport
Co. Fingal, Ireland
1. Head south toward Swords Rd
75 m
2. Continue straight
0.3 km
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit
0.5 km
4. Slight left at Dublin Rd 

Go through 1 roundabout
0.9 km
5. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the M1 ramp to Belfast/Swords/Balbriggan/Bèal Feirste/Baile Brigin/Sord
0.5 km
6. Merge onto M1
4.7 km
7. Take the exit toward Donabate/Skerries/an Ros/na Sceirí/Rush/R132/Domhnach Bat
0.5 km
8. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto R127 

Go through 2 roundabouts
3.1 km
9. Continue on R129
0.5 km
10. Turn left to stay on R129
5.2 km
11. Turn right at Naul Rd
0.1 km
12. Take the 1st right to stay on Naul Rd
54 m
arrive at destination on right hand side

OR

click here to view the map and add in your own starting point View Map

Contact Me:

Hedgerow Walks anyone?

peter donegan - hedgegrow walksThis is brilliant. The gas thing is when people say to me will that grow here – I usually suggest to take a look around you first. The only way to appreciate what is growing on your doorstep.

Slí = way, road, path & Sceach = thornbush, hawthorn, briar

Slí na sceacha = hedgerow walk/ way

The hedge.org is a voluntary group doing their bit. Their website has more links to relevant sites than you could shake a stick at [!] and brimmed with useful information. It also seems the local heritage councils have spent a few quid here too on grants to the various societies; and rightly so, they are so important.

That said, whilst it is maybe indirectly taxpayers money, it is theoretically free and beautiful! Put on those funky trainers, get outside with those old woolie warmers on you and watch nature changing around you. I love it!