By guest blogger SARAH BENJAMINS
A gorgeous sunny day enticed us out to the hills of Hebden Bridge on Sunday 18 May, through beautiful mixed woodland, along babbling brooks and gullies, crossing a hidden waterfall, and up onto sunny meadows. Late spring brings an abundance of interesting plants, both culinary and medicinal, as foraging expert Jesper Launder (pictured) explained. Woodavens, Nettle (rich in iron and other minerals), Toadflax, Jack by the Hedge, Rosebay Willowherb, Meadowsweet (aspirin precursor), Hawthorn Flowers (good for the heart).
We collected basketfuls of watercress from a stream, along with a graphic explanation of why foraged watercress should always be eaten cooked not raw (liver flukes are not to be messed with). We also found Easter Dock, an important, nutrient rich wild spring food which is celebrated nearby at the annual Mytholmroyd Easter Dock Pudding Festival. The highlight for some was looking for pignuts, along with a lesson on how to forage legally, sustainably and responsibly, ensuring we leave a habitat able to continue to provide its bounty year on year. Back at base, Jesper cooked up our finds, making fritters and soup, and sharing with us some of his home brewed Oak leaf and Knotweed wines. A great way to spend a Sunday!
There are more great photos from the trip to Hebden Bridge on our Facebook page here and here.
Jesper is leading some special elderflower forages this month, and on 25 June you get a free Le Parfait jar to preserve your jams, jellies, pickles etc – see our website for more: click here.