I love foraging, I love the adventure of it, the thrill, the simplicity and the sheer satisfaction of collecting, preparing and eating my own gathered wild food. The last time I foraged for mussels I was with a friend, it was a wild, windy day […]
I have a foraging dog. He’s called Paddy McGinity (a name I inherited rather than gifted to him), and yes, he can climb rocks and cliffs as agile as a goat.
Most of the time my dog is with me on forays, while I forage and teach up to 100 different species of wilds in the UK. Often, he’s doing his own thing (chasing rabbits and exploring), though sometimes he hangs around and is inquisitive.
I’ve watched him ‘watch and learn’ to forage blackberries, rosehips, acorns and he’s good at apple scrumping. Seaweeds aren’t so popular with him, expect Kelp stems and fish, crab and rabbit are favourites, naturally.
Actually, many are surprised how many fruits and vegetables he’ll eat – celery and cabbage leaves being the exception, though cabbage stems are a hit! I’ve watched him sneakily remove broccoli from my friend’s bag, gobbled tomatoes from crates, and forage raspberries straight off a friend’s allotment (sorry Liz). To me it makes sense; a natural diet of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Unfortunately he’s not that selective, and easily succumbs to bread, sugar and fat (not dis-similar to us!).
He’s eaten many other wilds over the years too, mostly be default when he’s foraged (I’d say stolen) food from my kitchen. Nettle and Lemon energy balls he devoured very quickly, as were the second batch (very frustrating), Hogweed Seed Biscuits were a hit too, Alexander Seeded Bread is gulped easily and Elderflower ice cream has been ogled at, but so far I have been able to keep it away from him.
Such a sweet dog.
Of course, though he’s also an instinctual animal, a wild beast, an opportunist and a forager. Not dis-similar to us, though he is more closely connected to his wild roots. We have lots to learn from animals, and unfortunately they have lots to learn from us!
‘You just have to try that green stuff’ (participant on a foraging course) Luscious wild greens; Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) makes the perfect base for a Salsa Verde (green sauce) and it tastes so great that hardly anything else needs to be added. Over the […]
Ah, to stop and smell the roses, is a valuable moment in life. Everything else can fall away as your nose reaches towards the soft petals of the rose and you breath in, deeply.
It can also be an unknown moment; will the scent be strong or subtle, reminiscent or new?
Both wild and cultivated roses can be used, though please see my tips for picking below. The most common wild roses in the UK are Dog Rose (Rosa Canina), Field Rose (Rosa Arvenis) and the Japanese Rose (Rosa Rugosa). Each rose has a different scent, so it’s well worth smelling before you start picking, and finding your favourite rose types.
Such is the delight of roses. Petals can be used to decorate cakes, in cold soups, salads, meat dishes or desserts. Here’s a few tips before you pick them though;
Picking Tips for Roses
- If you’re picking cultivated roses, check: have they been sprayed?
- You can dry rose petals (then rehydrate them), or use them fresh
- Are the petals ready to be pluck (do they come away easily)?
- Petals that are ready to pick may have already fallen, or come away easily when touched (see below)
- Only pick the petals, never the whole flower-head (so the fruits can ripen later in the year)
In early summer and summer I may include roses in my foraging courses, and in the autumn I include the fruits of roses; the rosehips.
Cornwall is the 9th largest county in the UK, it’s boarder mostly by the sea (and Devon, of course) and is almost 1500 metres squared in area. We have amazing access to coastal areas, 422miles of it, where foraging is rich and includes fish, mollusks, […]
Everytime I run a Seaweed Foraging Course I make tasters. Sometimes I stick to old favourites like seaweed hummus, or 3 Seaweed Soup though often I tweak things or experiment – I like to keep things fresh and new. Frequently I make seaweed bread and […]
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”
Life’s an adventure isn’t it?!
And adventures can come in all shapes and sizes, from trying a new food to exploring a new place, to starting a family, a new relationship or a new career… Some like their adventures small, some big. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, I think.
For me, I’ve always loved to go to the edge, the edge of the cliff, the edge of the dance move, the edge of the water, the edge of what is comfortable and safe. As a very physical child some of those explorations ended in pain (the edge of the wall was not a happy ending), though most actually gave me a sense of exhilaration, or excitement and a dream of something more.
As I’ve grown older my aspirations have shifted from wanting to be a stunt woman (true), to learning how to take healthy risks, how to look after myself (and others) and how to weigh up whether I have the skills, strength and courage to go for something. Sometimes I do not, and admitting this also feels brave sometimes.
Learning about seaweeds has been an adventure for me, opening me to a whole new world to explore and one that gives me a smile of satisfaction at the end of the day. I also found the further I explored, and the more edges I went to, the jewels that I found were richer, more colourful and rewarding.
“…adventures don’t come calling like unexpected cousins calling from out of town. You have to go looking for them.”
I’ve played it safe till now, leading courses where seaweeds are accessible and easy to get to. You see, I want everyone to be able to learn about seaweeds. However, I also want to share some of these adventures and to really take you to the edges where you can experience a whole other level of seaweeding, and one I rarely get to share with others.
Seaweeds like Alaria Esculenta (Dabberlocks) and Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima), which like to be in deeper water and have more space. These feel like a special find, and the wonder of reaching these places akin to discovering a hidden beach and having it all to yourself.
If you have the desire to adventure further, to join me across the rocks, to the edge, this is what you may find, and so much more that neither you nor I can put words to, yet, or perhaps ever. Maybe it will come from an inner smile, and a sense of exhileration and satisfaction at the end of your day.
“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”
W. M. Lewis
Rachel Lambert leads seaweed foraging courses, please read the details for every course (or ask) to find out how challenging the venue is, I am also available for private forays, where I tailor an adventurous seaweeding experience just for you (tide and weather allowing) – for those who feel steady on their feet and want to climb, slide and step further out to explore the world of seaweeds. Courses are always timed with the tide and are only run when the conditions are safe, no unnecessary or ridiculous risks are taken, and safety and learning about the seaweeds and the sea is always paramount.
I’m standing on a rock at low tide, layers of organic matter below my feet, formed over billions of years. Beyond me is the great ocean herself, perhaps where we all came from and marking a time before our migration, along with (now) terrestrial plants, […]