Hedgerows: foraging, discovering, exploring

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Introducing another of our lovely new bloggers,  Sarah, who lives in the North and loves to try her hand at gardening, foraging, cooking and all things outdoors... we're so very happy to have her on the team, and we hope you enjoy her posts to come.

Although autumn is my favourite season of all, May is most definitely the month of the hedgerow. It's difficult, even on the rainiest of late spring days, not to delight at the sheer lushness of the roadsides as you pass by: verdant green punctuated by frothy white cow parsley and beautifully-scented hawthorn blossom.

White Cow Parsley

This past Sunday was wet, wild and windy. I curled up on the sofa and read 'The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals' by Adele Nozedar. Being a Northerner I'm already familiar with foraging things like 'wimberries' (bilberries) which grow in abundance along moorside paths, and ramsons (wild garlic). I grew up close to Ramsbottom which is named after the plant; the name translates as 'valley of wild garlic' and it's prolific at this time of the year in the local woodlands. Reading the book I learned about so many other plants, their identification and their uses.

I've decided to make a calendar of what's ready to harvest and when. It seems you can make tisanes from the majority of these hedgerow plants and flowers, but those which appeal to me the most include blackberry and crab apple jam, damson gin, elderflower cordial, rosehip syrup, raspberry vodka, and sorrel soup (a childhood favourite).

Elderflowers

I'm looking forward to gathering and preparing these ingredients  - maybe some will even make it into festive hampers later in the year. I'm also planning to take my little book out with me on our walks, to identify native plants and flowers, and to put names to those I know only by sight. Because whether you're interested in foraging or not, just looking into a hedgerow with it's tapestry of colours, textures and scents is something to be celebrated and enjoyed before we head into summer.

English Hedgerows

Just a note: please be responsible when foraging. Only take what you need, from a place where there is plenty available, and leave enough for wildlife to eat and others to enjoy. And have fun!

Thanks for reading,

sarah-signature