---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Vince Russett <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: Prehistoric spices
To: Malcolm J Watkins <[log in to unmask]>
Please don't touch daffs or bluebells: both poisonous.
Wild garlic is a wonderful harbinger of spring: we make wild garlic and
nettle soup, wild garlic risotto, use it in salads, stews, it's a
wonderfully versatile vegetable (as is garlic mustard). It's not illegal to
pick most wild foods (including samphire), but it IS illegal to uproot
plants without the permission of the landowner. A few species have absolute
protection, but by their nature, they're too rare to concern hedge grazers
like us anyway.
And we're just back from the kitchen having made 12 jars of spicy plum
chutney, from plums out of my old dad's garden (we made him some jam, but
he doesn't know yet!), apples from a wild tree, and some spices (chili,
coriander) that we grew. The sugar, alas, came from Waitrose - not that I
have anything against Waitrose: when I walk down the aisles there, unlike
any other supermarket, I almost feel I could live there.
Oh, and I'm reminded: almost time for crab apple jelly, folks: support your
local hardware shop and buy your jelly bags now!
On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 2:19 PM, Malcolm J Watkins <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I am not sure I want too many people finding our harvests! Round near us
> are cherry trees for which we seem to be the only pickers, sloes (often
> taken too early), blackberries, hazelnuts and apples in public places,
> mostly planted for public benefit near a very middle-class estate with
> playgrounds, school etc. I have only ever seen sloes taken (apart from our
> own nibbles on walks - we don't consider it fair to go armed with shopping
> bags) and then only by older folk.
> Wild garlic is abundant, but I have never experimented, so ideas would be
> most welcome.
> As for samphire, is it legal to pick it? I had a feeling (albeit without
> recalled evidence) that it is at least protected or may belong to a
> landowner. As for beach fodder, anyone ever managed to find somewhere to
> legally acquire sea holly? I am keen to try candied sea holly, once a major
> Colchester industry, now gone - usually recorded as eringo root.
> Never very cinfident about mushrooms, since the day that a colleague, on
> holiday on a boat with us, showed us which mushrooms in an abundant field
> to pick, and then insisted on an overnight spore test (he was a naturalist)
> - so in the morning all the mushrooms were dumbed on account of the
> infestation of maggots and other nasties....
> We are 'lucky' - we have abundant brambles, apple, pear, hazel, sloe and
> other food trees mainly because I don't do gardening. We also have a
> cherry, but it has never given us any cherries to eat - somehow they simply
> Now, can anyone tell me whether daffs or bluebells are edible? I have
> never seen any hint of evidence.
> -----Original Message----- From: Vince Russett
> Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 10:28 AM Subject: Re: Prehistoric spices
> Yes, looking around here, there are sloes. Lots of sloes. Bit early,
> though, you really need the frost on them. I tried putting some in the
> freezer, but somehow its not the same,
> One of the things that appeals to me about wild food is the seasonality.
> Ramsons, lime leaves, samphire, blackberries, mushrooms, hazel nuts, etc
> etc are all there in their season, and then they're gone, not like the
> caricatures of veggies in the supermarkets ('flown from Tanzania for
> freshness' a proud boast I once saw)
> There is a more serious point as well: being professionals in the
> archaeology trade (as most of us are), we need to think about food security
> - every field that is 'developed' (a horrible euphemism) is a victory for
> builders, and a defeat for agriculture. There will at some point come a
> time when we need those fields, we need that food. I've acquired quite a
> rep at work as 'Mr Food Security' because I will not let this go.
> On Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 9:53 AM, sophie cabot <[log in to unmask]>**
> Sloes? Ha - Lucky if you can find an undenuded blackthorn round here, it's
>> so fashonable! Not that we had any ata ll last year after the devastating
>> spring. I'm more hopeful this season.
>> Sophie Cabot BA MPhil.
>> > Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:47:29 +0100
>> > From: [log in to unmask]
>> > Subject: [BRITARCH] Prehistoric spices
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > Hi Vince and all,
>> > Culpeper's Herbal mentions that people cooked fish with garlic mustard.
>> > I
>> > tried this and it is very tasty.
>> > This week, I have been out picking blackberries and making apple and
>> > blackberry crumble (yum yum).
>> > I was picking sloes once for making sloe gin, and an old guy came up to
>> > and said it was nice seeing someone doing it - he remembered people >
>> > it in his childhood. (Why stop? hedgerow food is free!)
>> > cheers
>> > --
>> > Yvonne
>> > ~~
>> > Website: http://yaburrow.googlepages.**com/<http://yaburrow.googlepages.com/>
>> > Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/**yaburrow<http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/yaburrow>
>> > and http://yaburrow.googlepages.**com/publications<http://yaburrow.googlepages.com/publications>
>> > ----- Original Message -----
>> > From: "Vince Russett" <[log in to unmask]>
>> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> > Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 4:11 PM
>> > Subject:
>> > [BRITARCH] Prehistoric spices
>> > >I don't usually post when on leave, but this one caught my eye.
>> > >
>> > > The fact people used garlic mustard seeds (Alliaria petiolata) to
>> > > food seems to come as a shock to some.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > (from Explorator)
>> > >
>> > > Jack by the hedge (as it's known in Somerset) was gathered as a wild
>> > > in the spring in the 1950s (my gran taught me to identify it), and
>> good it
>> > > is, too. It does wilt a bit quickly, but wrapping it in a damp cloth
>> > > helps.
>> > > The seeds are slightly peppery, and in a time when English people were
>> > > frightened of spices, I loved them, especially with pork (or oddly,
>> > > tomatoes). I feel privileged to have been brought up in a time when
>> > > hadn't quite forgotten their hedgecraft.