Finding Food: Common UK Edible Plants
Written by Preppers Shop UK Guest Blogger: Tom Linden
Common UK Edible Plants
For those beginning their journey into edible plants and living off the land I thought that I would cover some very easy to recognise plants in fact plants that we could even have in our own gardens or come across when walking the dog.
So here goes I hope you enjoy these simple and I have to say tasty recipes. I have also picked plants that are actually ready now to pick and enjoy.
The flowers which are the edible part have a slight coconut aroma and almond taste. They’ve been used in salads, for tea and to make a non-grape wine. The buds can be pickled like capers. Don’t over eat. The plant contains slightly toxic alkaloids.
Gorse flower wine
If any of you wine makers out there ever delve into the dark art of ‘Spring Wine’ making? Here is a recipe for gorse flower wine if you fancy giving it a shot?
Note – Never pick anything if you’re unsure of the identification.
– 5 litres of gorse flowers (fill small fermentation bucket to the 5l mark)
– 5 litres of water 1.
– 3kg of sugar
– 0.5kg of raisins
– 2 lemons
– Yeast & nutrient
Bring 5 litres of water to the boil in a large stock pot . Add the gorse flowers and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sugar, making sure it is completely dissolved . Chop the raisins, grate the lemon zest & squeeze the lemon juice . Add the raisins, zest & juice to the pot. Mix thoroughly and transfer (very carefully) into your newly sterilized fermentation bucket. Allow the contents to cool to 20-27*C . Add the yeast/nutrient mix . Store in a warm place (preferably above 20*C) for 4-6 days, stirring occasionally. Sieve the pulp from the liquor into a sterilized demijohn . Add an airlock containing sterilizing solution. Leave until fermentation has finished. Rack off into a sterilized demijohn & leave for 2 months or until clear (If cloudy you can use finings as per manufacturers instructions) . Bottle and leave for a minimum of 9 months
Note – At every stage of the process ensure that you are using clean & sterilized equipment.
Whole plant is edible as a vegetable. Add flowers to salads, or use them as a garnish. Use leaves in salads. Seeds can be chewed, or cooked in breads and biscuits, or steamed, or roasted in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C and sprinkled on food like pepper.
Leaves and roots can be eaten fresh. The roots are sometimes eaten like olives as an after-dinner treat, or boiled like potatoes.
You can capture the goodness of this plant by making oil; and it’s very easy: Sterilize a glass jar and lid.
Collect evening primrose flowers that are free of any dew or rain (they must not have any moisture) in your glass jar.
Be sure to fill the jar (do not stuff). Using a carrier oil of your choice (olive oil will do), pour oil into the jar until flowers are covered in oil. Poke the flowers to ensure there are no trapped air bubbles.
Cover and let sit two weeks. Shake daily. After two weeks, strain the flowers out. Use this oil to help enhance the nutrition of your home made salad dressings!
The Common Stinging Nettle
A stinging nettle herbal tea can be made by placing the organic nettle leaf into freshly boiled water and allowing it to steep for 3-5 minutes.
It is known for providing increased energy and stamina when the stinging nettle leaf tea is consumed daily over a period of time.
The leaves of the nettle plant and the root are both used by herbalists.
Stinging nettle leaf tea is also a diuretic and can be used as an astringent tonic. It is also purported to have affects on thickening hair and smoothing skin.
– 4 cups of fresh picked (washed) dandelion flowers
– 2 cups flour
– 2 eggs
– 2 cups milk
Mix the milk, flour and eggs and beat until blended well. Warm some olive oil in a skillet on the stove (keep at medium heat). Holding the underneath of the flowers, dip into the batter until totally covered in the fritter batter then place into skillet, flower side down. Once they are brown, flip and brown the other side. If need be, continue flipping until the batter coating is light brown. Remove from oil and allow excess oil to soak onto a towel or paper towel. Eat plain or drizzle with maple syrup, honey, or even roll them in icing sugar while they are still warm.
Be creative – add your favourite spices or herbs to the fritter batter!
Try using a Yorkshire Pudding mix/Pancake mix and just sparkling water it makes a very light tempura like batter.