Posts

The Magical Orchard Hedgerow Walk

crab apples

There are 2 more hedgerow events [so far] proposed between this and the year end. I will note them here as they arise. To The Walk….

I spoke about it in depth on Friday’s SodShow, but Sunday 9th October saw the Magical Orchard Walk take place with the Ballyboughal Hedgerow Society.

I never knew this was sitting right on our doorstep….. sure, what else would you be doing  on a Sunday afternoon

I however how done this walk so many times. Every-time it is simply magical.

A nice mix of never been and experienced, aged from the very young upwards made the day out. Haws or Hawthorn berries were tasted, Sloe’s were eaten for the first time for many, on the go impromptu Nettle leaf eating demonstrations took place all the while varying types and colours of crab apples were tried and tested.

As we travelled, we passed by fields of freshly sown winter wheat, acres of onions that were left never to make it to the super-markets and queried the identification of Charlock versus Rapeseed. The list here could go on for ages….. We even stumbled across a tree into which someone had etched their initials – it was dated 1936.

A great day out. A breath of fresh air. Some apple jelly for my troubles. 😉

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.