Wilde in the Woods

Wild Food, Wild Medicine, Wild Booze. OffBeat Living, Foraging Walks & Talks.

New Forest fungi picking ban by the Forestry Commission

Aside from the lurid media “Aliens Ate My Fungi” headlines, the alleged criminal gangs sweeping the forests, the unsubstantiated evils of fungi picking on conservation, the misreported fungi poisoning statistics and the thinly disguised racism against Eastern European families, there are some concerns that have emerged that are actually not really about the fungi at…

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foraging in Scotland

Why foraging? A trend or an ancient connection to nature…

Foraging reconnects people with nature in a really positive way. Once you can identify plants, appreciate their culinary and medicinal values, recognise them as old friends and discover the wondrous ways in which nature works its sentient biochemical magic, you are left with a deep awe and respect for nature, the plants, the fungi, the…

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The Future of Food and Technology

I was asked for my thoughts on the future of food and technology. It may have been a spam email but I answered it anyway: “The future of food through technology will change it in ways we haven’t even yet thought about. Already scientists are trying to grow steaks and burgers from stem cells in…

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How to make Diodgriafel 

…or how to make wine with wild yeast In Wales, recorded in 1802, poor people would “make a drink called Diodgriafel by infusing [rowan] berries in water”. In 1798, John Evans writes that this was drunk with oatmeal-cake, barley-bread or potatoes. For a change they’d occasionally have hung goat, dried fish, goat or sheep cheese and acidified buttermilk. Basically,…

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Green Sweet Cicely Seed Sweets

How to make sweet cicely seed brittle, a form of boiled sweet, and mukhwas, a foraged wild take on Indian sugar coated fennel seeds. Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is found growing wild in the parts of the British Isles that have a cold enough winter for the seed to set. This is mainly north Wales…

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Spruce Pine Honey

I love the fresh growth on pines, spruce and larch and make fresh, citrussy-pine needle teas from the young needles. I also adore this spruce ‘honey’ (a pouring pine syrup), made as soon as the new bright young tips appear on the spruce trees. I am indebted to the lovely Meriel Cairns for this inspiration,…

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Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)

Hedge woundwort on the midge battlefield

Early June and the midges are out. I suddenly noticed this when I walked into a sylvan glade in the woods. It was so beautiful. The brilliant sunshine dapples by the shade of luminous green beech leaves. The last of the bluebells nodding gently with the white flowers of pignuts, scattered with yellow tormentil. Then suddenly brought out of…

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Do dock leaves really work?

The question I’m always asked on my foraging walks when talking about the common broadleaf dock is “Do dock leaves really work?”, “Do dock leaves work on nettle stings? or “Why do dock leaves work on stinging nettles?” For fun, I always ask someone in the group to demonstrate the correct use of dock leaf on…

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Sea buckthorn berries

Sea Buck’s Fizz Recipe

A classic twist on a Buck’s Fizz – that traditional mix of orange juice and champagne – the Sea Buck’s Fizz is a lovely sweet/sour, sherbet, fizzy drink guaranteed to get your guests relaxing. I first made it with my friend John Wright, who wrote the River Cottage handbook ‘Booze’, when we served it up at a seashore…

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Spruce Pine Honey

I love the fresh growth on pines, spruce and larch and make fresh, citrussy-pine needle teas from the young needles. I also adore this spruce ‘honey’ (a pouring pine syrup), made as soon as the new bright young tips appear on the spruce trees. I am indebted to the lovely Meriel Cairns for this inspiration,…

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