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Hedgerow Cookbook

guidelines and foraging tips 3 2 Hedgerow cookery is not a survival test, it is about having the courage to experiment with the food you eat. Although your knowledge may prove useful to you one day, there is no need for the whole meal to come from the wild. Use it more as an exciting addition to your usual food. In the past pot herbs were edible leaves added to soups and stews, collected from the wild or encouraged to grow in the kitchen garden. I have included in this book basic recipes which leave the way open for your own interpretations and flair. Combining food from the wild with food you are more familiar with will help you integrate the new experimental tastes into your recipes. When walking, travelling and camping, your knowledge will bring invaluable additions to your food. The book has four sections Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, with plants and recipes for each season as well as basic recipes which can be used at any time of year. Remember to check ahead for seasonal overlaps. With so many plants to choose from, and the ever changing seasonal varieties, hedgerow cookery opens many doors for a varied and interesting source of free tasty food. When foraging, carry a good field guide. I recommend Roger Phillips Wild Flowers of Britain and his Mushrooms and other Fungi. I have purposefully chosen only plants which are common, easy to recognise and which cannot be confused with anything poisonous, but it is still important to ensure you pick the right thing. Gather wild foods on a dry day only where you are allowed, and away from fields sprayed with chemicals. Handle the plants as little as possible, putting them in paper bags or a wicker basket, and eat them as soon as you can. Only pick lightly and where there is a great profusion of the plant, using a pair of secateurs or scissors. Build up a wild food map of your area, so that the next year you can return to rediscover things you liked. Pick a specimen of each plant and press it between two pieces of clean paper under some heavy books for a few weeks, then mount it in a journal, with its name, a record of the date and where it was found.
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