Revenge is Sweet (and tastes like spinach)
Before you start foraging
- Make sure you know what you are picking.
- Take a photo of the plant you are looking for or carry a reference book with you
- If you're not 100% certain it's the plant you're after, leave it and check with an expert
- Only pick from areas that have not been polluted by chemicals, car fumes or animal urine
- Ideally pick after rain
- Always wash your foraged food before eating.
Revenge is sweet (or tastes like spinach)
Anyone who has a garden will be familiar with that troublesome and persistent weed, Ground elder. No matter how diligently you weed and dig it always seems to be able to defy eradication. But did you know that it is perfectly edible? Now you can eat it out of your borders!
Ground elder(Aegopodium podagraria) or gout weed as it is sometimes known was introduced to Britain by the Romans as a vegetable and was popular in Britain right through the middle ages as a spinach-like green. However, after this time it declined in popularity. Possibly partly due to its tendency to take over the garden. Although in Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe it is still popular as a pot herb and as a salad vegetable.
It is best picked in the spring when the young shoots and leaves are at their tenderest. Wash well. One of the best ways of preparing them is to cook a good couple of handfuls in a tablespoon of butter and a tiny amount of water (like spinach in fact). Season to taste and gently simmer for 10 minutes or so, whilst stirring all the time. When they are tender, drain and stir in a little more butter. You will be pleasantly surprised. They have a nice tangy flavour. As well as a vegetable on it’s own it makes a good addition to quiches and omelettes. It can even be used to add a certain “je ne c’est quoi” to muffins and cupcakes.
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