Fruits of the Forest:
Available now from a Roadside near You
(30 May 2014)
Whether you are fortunate enough to have a garden space to call your own or not, there is always a culinary delight to be foraged from a local roadside, regardless of the time of year. Recently for instance, I have noticed and collected common garden runaways fennel, rose hip and dandelions for all manner of uses. Not only are these morsels available at no added cost to me, but they are also growing in optimum conditions free of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers.
I have included some information about these plants and their uses below:
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – This hardy Mediterranean perennial is a versatile culinary and medicinal herb which has been used extensively since medieval times. The young stems, pollen and seeds are used, imparting a distinct and sweet aniseed flavour to meat, soups, stuffing. Fennel seeds are also reputed to aid in digestion and stomach complaints.
Dog Rose - (Rosa canina) – This wild rose has also been used for thousands of years: its flowers to scent liquids, conserves and potpourri, and its rosehips as a human super-food. Rosehips are high in calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin c. They can be eaten raw or steeped as a tea (sweetened to taste of course) and consumed after meals for best effect. Collect rosehips after the first frost when fruit has softened slightly and is bright red. They can be dried and kept for up to one year.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Common and overlooked this low-growing weed from the northern hemisphere may be, but useless it most certainly is not. The foliage, flowers and roots have a multitude of uses and benefits, both culinary and medicinal. Dandelions are high in vitamins, minerals, protein and natural sugars, and can be used to impart great flavour to main meals and beverages alike. For instance, its taproot can be dried and ground to make a caffeine-free substitute.
To ensure you identify foraging plants correctly, The Weed Forager's Handbook - A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia (Author: Grubb, Adam ISBN: 9781864471212), will help get you started.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Dog Rose - (Rosa canina)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)