A couple of Saturdays ago, we led a walk around a little patch of our city that we know pretty well – guiding a few people in the ways of edible urban Brighton foraging as part of our edible city month and as part of the Chelsea Fringe.
The day was perfect – wonderfully sunny but with a bit of a breeze, and with everyone turning up we soon had a crowd of 20 or so people, raring to learn a bit of urban foraging. A few people had foraged before, a few had never thought of foraging and it was great to see a couple of families interested in exploring their repertoire of wild foods.
After a run down of the (very complicated) laws of foraging we started our walk, pointing out around 15 different edible flowers, fruits and foliages, from the highly fragrant and blousy Japanese Rose to the very unassuming Hairy Bittercress.
Some of the plants and shrubs were very familiar, others not so, and we told a bit of the ancient folklore that accompanies the uses of the plants as well as uses in modern medicine – especially with our favourite shrub, the hawthorn.
But the most important factor of the day was to show how a relatively short walk can supplement the weekly food shop – urban foraging is not going to replace the supermarket, but why spend a few quid on salad leaves when you can pick them, fresh and tasty on your doorstep for free?
After an hour of walking and talking, loads of photos and chat later (including a couple of stinging nettle casualties) we ended up back at our start point, on a bit of urban greenery right next to a large supermarket, where we had a little foraged picnic feast that we had made, comprising of:
- Elderberry and ginger cordial, wild plum and rum cordial and nettle cordial for the drinks.
- Japanese rose syrup drizzle cupcakes, lilac and lavender shortbreads, ground elder and garlic mustard quiches, mini cheese scones with wild garlic pesto and mini cheese scones with wild apple cheese.
It was a wonderful afternoon – thank you to everyone who attended the event and made it such a success. We will be running a series of these Brighton foraging walks over the coming months, so if you would like to attend one of the next walks, drop us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
And you can read a review from one of the attendees here, at the Epicurious Adventurer.