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Favourite Wild Food, easy to collect and identify

Posted by laura on November 19 2013.
Favourite Wild Food - elderflowers

Favourite Wild Food – elderflowers

I decided to compile a list of my favourite wild food. Each must be easy to find and identify foods to collect from the nature for a camper, rather than for a wild food enthusiast. The problem is, there are so many plants and fungi that I have come to love since my involvement with foraging, it has been difficult to decide which ones to mention here! But after a careful consideration I have tended to avoid salad plants that often act as a poor substitute to a great lettuce (many a forager will disagree with me there) and have gone for plants that add value to an existing camp supplies. I will also avoid plants that are difficult to identify or have dangerous imposters.

My favourite wild food

Each week I will expand upon one of the list, include some identification advice, including their habitat, appearance and seasonality, as well as traditional uses and some great camping recipes. NOTE: This is not an identification guide, and you should never collect wild food without one!!

Favourite Wild Food – Ramsons or wild garlic

– lighter tasting and more delicious that normal garlic, eaten as a leaf rather than a bulb. The flowers are also edible. Can used as a salad leaf, or mild herb and is truly easy to identify. And will certainly impress fellow camper when you come back from the woods with an addition for the dinner plate.

Favourite Wild Food – Elder or elderflower

– has a unique taste, great for making cordial, better for making champagne cocktails. This is a yearly spring ritual for us, collecting the flowers, turning that into cordial and then mixing it with bubbly.

Favourite Wild Food – Clams, cockles and muscles

– easy to find and identify and totally delicious. There are definitely some safety issues to consider here, including poisoning and we all remember the fate of the Chinese cockle pickers. However if all these factors are considered there is no better wild food to cook on the beach on the evening you picked them.

Favourite Wild Food – Horn of plenty mushrooms

– one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, with no similar species. Great dried and made into flans or risottos. Your will be lucky if you find any, but if you do you can pick them safely, take them home and double check before drying them for future dinners. If you do find some, as the name suggests you will get a decent crop.

Favourite Wild Food – Marsh samphire

– one of the wild larders most treasured delicacy. Chefs love wild samphire and it is on every food show at the moment,very trendy! It is easy to identify, but unfortunately often grows in sensitive areas and so double check the land you are on.

Favourite Wild Food – Fat hen, Shepherds purse and Chickweed salad crops

– easy to identify and are so prevalent that they can be found in any mown field. I have already professed my dislike of salad plants, however these are great plants to teach your kids, as they are easy to identify and grow everywhere,

Favourite Wild Food – Sloes or blackthorn

– a relative of the damson or plum, well known for a flavouring in Gin… need I say more, who doesn’t like sloe gin, again great with champers!

There are many more I could care to mention and as this season of camping gets underway I will strive to come up with more recipes that can turn a camping trip into a wild food foraging culinary experience

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