Foraging Health

Old Fashioned Taste for Winter

rosehip-syrupWhen German warships blocked the import of food to Britain in WWII, rosehips came to the rescue. With no access to oranges, the Ministry of Health needed something to boost the country’s Vitamin C levels. Rosehips can contain 50 times the amount of Vitamin C as the equivalent weight of oranges, and were (and still are) abundant in Britain’s gardens and hedgerows. ‘National Rose Hips Syrup’ became a household item during the Second World War, and over 500 tons of these pretty fruits were used to keep Britain’s Vitamin C levels topped up.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it’s otherwise known, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. It is an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. These occur in the body from the food we eat, from air pollution, ultraviolet light and cigarette smoke. Vitamin C helps our body make collagen, which promotes wound healing. It also improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, and boosts the immune system, helping us fight off seasonal illnesses. Since it’s water soluble, it needs to be consumed daily, and we absorb it better from food rather than tablets, which often flush straight out of us again.

With their rich Vitamin C content, then, rosehips are an amazing door-step answer to staying healthy and fighting off winter bugs.

rosehipsRosehips are the fruit we see on rose bushes in autumn. They vary in size, shape and colour. Roses are members of the apple family, and the petals and fruit of all roses are edible. They can be used, dried or fresh, to make tea and, when properly cleaned and washed of the inner fluff, can even be added to salads for a delicious zing.

While those who have never tried Rosehip Syrup might think it was one of those ‘medicines’ you’re obliged to pull a face at when your mum shoved a teaspoonful into your mouth, it was something kids actually looked forward to. A daily treat before school, rather than a disdained chore to be endured.

One of the most-heard comments from my customers is, ‘This is just how I remember it. I forgot how great it tastes.’

I make my syrup from locally foraged rosehips each autumn. With so many varieties of roses around, it’s no surprise that the ones I find are not always the long, scarlet berries of the native briar. They come round and fat, pale or dark. I find ones the size of cherries (or even small plums), and some the size of haws (hawthorn berries). They all make good syrup.

Rosehip syrup does’t have to be taken as a spoonful dose once a day. You can use it drizzled into yogurt, or onto ice-cream or porridge. You can tip a little into hot, cold or sparkling water and take as a drink – use about the same amount as you would use to dilute squash. You can even add it to gin or vodka to give it a bit of something different.

Preparing rosehips for syrup is a matter of picking off the dried-up sepals and stalks and giving them a really good wash. However, if you want to eat them in a salad, or add them fresh to tea, it’s necessary to also cut them in half and scoop out the seeds and the irritating hairs surrounding them. The hairs aren’t poisonous, but they irritate, and can cause sore throats. If drying them for tea, you need to chop them up before drying, as once they’re dry the skins become hard, preventing the luscious flavour escaping when you add hot water. Put them in a muslin bag to steep, too, unless the hairs have already been removed.

If you’ve never tried rosehip syrup I urge you to give it a go. The roses the hips came from spent all summer soaking up the sun, so this old fashioned remedy is a great way to bring sunshine into a cold, dreary day.

Environment Foraging

Jewels of the Hedgerow

cropped-blackberries-300x3001.jpgFrom ancient times, humans have had a hunger for gems like garnets, rubies, emeralds and diamonds.

There’s another type of jewel our ancestors hungered for, which has been sought for far longer than gemstones. Millenia before we settled the land, back when ‘wealth’ was not measured by possessions or the abstact and arbitrary concept we call money, people sought another kind of treasure. In many ways, this particular ‘gem’ was just as rare as the mineral ones we value so highly today.

The hedgerow’s seasonal bounty could be gathered only when it appeared on the bush, during a very short window of opportunity. The rich prizes were highly sought when in season and people would go into the forests to fill bags and baskets for the tribe to enjoy. Without refrigeration, though, they could only be eaten when they were available in the wild.

When you see fruits such as blackberries and elderberries ripening on their branches, it’s easy to understand why humans have come to consider dark, glittering gemstones so attractive. It’s in our nature to desire them, because evolution has programmed it into us. They represent wealth and security.

Even today many folk make use of this seasonal treasure. At the modest expense of a Sunday afternoon, the whole family can explore the river or countryside lanes and gather more blackberries than they can reasonably eat. Fortunately, unlike our ancestors, we have freezers. We also have some delicious recipes, developed over centuries, to preserve the fruit and keep us going until they are next in season.

Freezing soft fruit can take a bit of patience. Chucking them onto the shelf in a plastic bag or box will produce a solid black mess you have to chip at when you decide you want to use them.  Here’s a tried and trusted method for successfully freezing hedgerow fruit.frozen-blackberries-artimg

  • Wash the fruit thoroughly to get rid of dust and insects.
  • Allow to drain, then dry with a tea towel or kitchen paper.
  • Spread one layer over a baking tray, making sure it’s not over-crowded and the berries are not touching.
  • Place flat on a freezer shelf until the fruit is frozen. Repeat if you have sufficient berries.
  • Once frozen take out of the freezer and place the berries in a bag.
  • Return to the freezer

Using this method, you will have a supply of berries that are not all stuck together, which you can dip into whenever you want to use them. You can select the exact number you need (not a messy lump), and return the remainder to the freezer for next time.

When foraging for berries, though, remember to leave some for our furred and feathered friends. They don’t have supermarkets.

Foraging Health Herbs


Elder-flowerThe use of Elderflower in beverages has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to the growing number of ‘foodies’ out there, but its use in traditional medicine goes back thousands of years.

Elder can be found in all parts of the UK and Europe, and its flowers drench the surroundings in heavenly scent from the middle to end of May (possibly later in more northern areas). If left to develop, those flowers turn into tiny black berries in the autumn, and are a popular wine ingredient.

The only part of the elder which is safe to eat are its flowers. The stems, branches and leaves contain a substance similar to cyanide, and thus are toxic.  Even the berries are unsafe in their raw form, and must be cooked before consumption, to get rid of this harmful chemical.

In manufacturing, elderflower extracts are often used in perfumes. Elderflower water is used in eye and skin lotions. But that’s not all these beauties are good for.

The laborious task of stripping the star-like flowers from their heads is worth every second, since, not only are the flowers fragrant, they are delicious.  From tea, tincture and cordial to deep-fried, battered delicacies, elderflowers make awesome eating. What makes it even better is that elderflowers contain many beneficial substances and properties.

For instance:

Elderflower can be used as a gargle and mouthwash for coughs, colds, laryngitis, flu, and shortness of breath. It is used on the skin for joint pain (rheumatism), and pain and swelling (inflammation).

There’s evidence that elderflower might work like insulin to lower blood sugar.

What else?


– contains phytochemicals that help prevent free radical damage
– contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 Complex, Vitamin C
– is anti-inflamatory, antiviral, anti-cancer
– is an effective diuretic, laxative and insect-repellant
– helps asthma
– is effective against allergies and sinusitis
– is a detoxification aid (increases sweat to eliminate metabolic waste)
– treats fungal infections, rheumatism, toothaches and urinary tract disorders
– as a skin tonic or ointment can fade skin freckles and blemishes
– is calming and refreshing
– fights colds and flu
– as an infusion can be used as an eyewash for conjunctivitis and eye infections, or as a mouthwash to relieve sore throats and tonsilitis
– is not recommended for pregnant, breastfeeding women, or someone undergoing surgery.

When collecting Elderflowers, do so during a dry day, and not first thing in the morning when they may have dew on them.  Pick young flowerheads – those which are in bloom, but which may still have a few unopened buds on them.  Warm, dry elderflowers have the best fragrance and flavour.

elderflowerWhen foraging, never take from private land without permission from the owner.  Take only 10% of the flowers from any one bush.

Be absolutely confident that you correctly identify the plants you are taking.  There are some plants whose flowers look very similar to elder, but which are poisonous.  Elderflower is a tree/bush, and the flowers never appear on a stem coming straight from the ground. Elder branches have paired leaves coming from a central stem.  The leaves are elongated with a slightly-pointed tip.

On the left is elder.  Elder = Yum.

Hemlock – a painful and certain way to die.

On the right is hemlock.  Hemlock = Death.


Foraging Herbs

A Sloe Harvest

220px-Illustration_Prunus_spinosa1Sleeping Beauty enjoyed her long nap undisturbed thanks to the thorn hedge surrounding her castle.  While this fairy tale cast those thorns as the villain of the piece, farmers of olden and present days rely on them to keep their livestock from straying, and rustlers and predators away.

Many of the hedges we see today are made up of one of two thorny species: the hawthorn and the black thorn.  While hawthorn is commonly recognised, the neglected black thorn is often overlooked by the casual observer.

Prunus spinosa – the black thorn, whose fruits are highly astringent, yet delicious if treated right – can be seen in flower between March and April.  Flowering at the same time as the wild cherry, its frothy white blossoms are visible from the road in many a hedgerow. The blossoms precede the leaves, and are an early source of nectar for insects.

It’s in autumn, however, that the black thorn enjoys its moment of fame.  A walk in the countryside at this time of year will yield bushes of dark berries which cling close to their stems.  The thin-skinned fruits have a small, hard plum-like pit and yield dark, purple juice which stains clothes and fingers alike.

sloeberriesThe fruits, called sloes, resemble blueberries at first glance, as they often have a greyish bloom coating their skins. The berries are inedible straight off the bush, as they are incredibly sour.  They are more palatable after the first frosts, or after freezing.

Evidence of the early use of sloes by man is found in the famous case of a 5,300-year-old human mummy discovered in 1991 in the Otztal Alps along the Austrian-Italian border (nick-named Otzi): among the stomach contents were sloes. Source

Many people will have heard of ‘Sloe Gin’ and it is this use of sloes most people have heard of.  Sloe gin is more a liqueur than an actual gin and is made by infusing neat gin with fresh sloe berries and sugar. But this is not its only use. Sloes can be made into wine or jam, added to fruit pies, or used as a dye.  Juice from the skins has also been used as an ink. Sloes steeped in vinegar produce a delicious alternative to red-wine or sherry vinegar. They can be presevered to produce a pickle similar in taste to Japanese umeboshi.

Sloes are high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.  Sloe syrup can help with flu and help rheumatism. The berries can help with stomach cramp and to break up kidney stones.  Do not eat the pits, as they break down in water to produce harmful hydrocyanic acid.

Foraging Health Herbs

Common Mallow – an Unsung Hero?

marshmallowsWe all know the fluffy confection called Marshmallow.  Roasted, in s’mores, or just come-as-you are, they’re a delicious addition to our sweet-tooth repertior.  But did you know the treats were originally created as a cough and sore throat soother by pharmacists of long ago?

Also known as cone flower due to the marshmallow's flower's distinctive outline
Also known as cone flower due to its flower’s distinctive outline

The commercial treat is basically a combination of whipped egg white, sugar and gelatine, but the traditional goodies once contained a decoction of marshmallow root – a garden plant that grows happily in our temperate climes, and which makes a pretty addition to our gardens.

Did you also know the marshmallow has an even more common cousin?

The humble mallow, scourge of roadside and river bank, if allowed to grow unchecked can reach several feet tall.

The common mallow is not as widely-known, or as widely used, in herbalism as its relative, but it shares many of the same properties.  For both plants the main action is to produce a slimy substance which, when released, forms a silky film over an inflamed area.  This is useful in the treatment of irritations to the mouth and throat if taken orally.  It is astringent and can promote the coughing-up of mucus from the lungs.

Mallow_January_2008-1Mallow can also be used to relieve an inflamed digestive tract. Its action is the same as above – it coats the tract with a thin, soothing film.  It can also help stomach and bladder complaints.

In addition, a poltice of the leaves applied to the skin under a warm, moist dressing and left for 30 mins or so calms sore or inflamed skin. It can soften and soothe the skin when applied locally and can sometimes be found in hand cream.

The roots and leaves have been used as a natural dye.

A decoction of the root is a good egg-white substitute.  When left to soak, the water surrounding it becomes thick and gloopy.  This can be whipped up to make a merangue and goes some way to explaining how we ended up with our marshmallow treats.

Mallow tea made from an infusion of the dried leaves is mild in flavour, somewhat akin to green tea, and is pleasant to drink. The fresh leaves can be added to salads.  The mallow seeds are also edible and, when fresh, can be toasted to give a delicious, nutty sprinkle.

It’s thought that ingestion of the herb can lower blood sugar levels, so use with caution if you suffer from diabetes or blood-sugar related problems.


Foraging Health Herbs

Blackberry Leaf

cropped-blackberries-300x3001.jpgBlackberries (brambles) are a ubiquitous plant, found in any area fork and spade neglect.  For many garderners it’s a pest, sending out thorny tendrils from the tiniest shred of root time and again, but there’s another side to blackberries we might overlook. While we have all tried the delicious bramble fruits, either raw or in preserves and sauces, how many of us have tried using its leaves as a natural remedy?

Blackberry leaves can be chewed fresh (though watch out for thorns which may lurk on their underside).  They are high in tannins and Vitamin C, boosting immunity and blancing the body’s ph. Chewing fresh leaves can help with canker sores and inflamed gums.  They can also be made into a poultice for rashes and and to promote skin healing.

As a tea made with dried, fermented leaves, this plant can help with a number of ailments.

For minor sore throat pain
Blackberry leaf tea is suitable as a gargle and mouthwash for inflammation of the mouth and throat when you have a cold. When you first notice a sore throat, you can keep it from worsening by gargling with blackberry leaf tea right away. Drink 2-3 cups of the tea daily to supplement the effects.

For diarrhea
For gastrointestinal flu with diarrhea and cramping, a decoction of blackberry leaf tea can prove to be very effective. Drink 2-3 small cups sweetened with a little honey or stevia over the course of a day. The astringent tannins in the leaves will reduce both the intestinal inflammation and the excess flow of secretions. You can also add peppermint tea to increase this effect.

For skin rashes
To treat inflamed or oozing rashes, make a decoction by gently boiling the blackberry leaves. Soak a cotton cloth in the liquid. Wring out the cloth and place it on the affected area; cover with plastic wrap. Leave on for 30 min. Repeat several times a day.

Sore Mouth

Use the tea as a mouthwash to improve the condition of the mucus lining of the mouth and to soothe scratches, mouth ulcers and sores.


Antioxidants protect us against free radicals, which can damage cells and may be a factor in heart disease, cancer and other health problems. A study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that blackberry leaves had higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity than the fruit.



Foraging Health Herbs


hawthorn-flowersNe’er cast a clout till May be out.

The first written record of this obscure saying was in Dr. Thomas Fuller’s, Gnomologia, 1732.  Word of mouth uses of the rhyme preceded this back to the 15thC, and was no doubt crystal clear to all who said and heard it.

Some of the confusion we have with the rhyme these days is that there are several meanings for both the word ‘clout’ and ‘May’.

Clout, even back in the 15thC, could have meant a clod of earth, a blow to the head, or even clotted cream.  However, they also had a meaning no longer in general use today, which refers to a fragment of cloth or clothing and it is this meaning they attribute to the saying.  Don’t cast off your winter layer until May be out.

Which brings us to the second source of confusion.  Clearly the word ‘may’, as in ‘it may be’, doesn’t fit the context here, but we have two other meanings for the word, both of which are linked, and may indicate hawthorn’s importance to our ancestors.  The arrival of the month of May co-incides with the appearance of hawthorn blossoms, those ubiquitous hedgerow beauties adorning field and roadside throughout the month.  These blossoms are also called May. Folklore has it that to adorn the outside of the house with May was seen as good luck, yet to bring it indoors was (and still is) a strong taboo.

Our saying, therefore, suggests that spring isn’t official until the hawthorn is in blossom.

In the autumn, the hedgerows turn deep red with hawthorn berries, and the branches sag with an abundance of the wonderous fruit.

Part of the rose family, this ancient protector of field and village is not only good for keeping bandits and wild beasts off your doorstep, it keeps illness away, too.

Hawthorn leaves are delicious to eat fresh, when young and soft, and make a good on-the-go snack for ramblers. They also make great tea, either fresh or dried.The flowers can also be added to the tea.

hawthorn berriesThe berries, or haws, can be used in a great many ways, not least as a healthy food.  Just make sure you remove the hard pit in the centre.  They have a tangy, mild flavour similar to apple, though the skins can be tough if left on the tree too long.

Health Benefits

There has been much recent research into hawthorn’s use as a medicine for heart conditions, and the plant is now being researched as a safer alternative to digoxin. Trials have shown a great deal of promise, and the use of hawthorn as a heart-health and cardio-vascular medicine is now taken seriously.

Hawthorn can help withhawthorn leaves

  • Chest pain
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardio-vascular efficiency
  • Angina
  • Arythmia/Palpitations
  • Helps with high and low blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tapeworm infestation
  • Boils, sores and ulcers (as a wash)
  • Itching and frostbite (as a wash)

Because some of these conditions can be life-threatening, always refer to your GP before attempting self-treatment.

Foraging Herbs

Getting Nettled

nettleWhodathunk this humble wasteland weed could be hiding some very potent secrets? 

Most of us think nettle is a nuisance, to be cut down, torn out or shriveled by weedkiller, yet this herb is a startlingly useful plant.  Not only are its leaves edible, it offers a wide range of benefits if drunk as a tea.  Of course, collecting it is a challenge, but with a stout pair of wellies and some gloves, the job is far from impossible.


The stingers in nettles aren’t actually thorns, but tiny brittle hairs possessing a small amount of formic acid (the same acid ants use to protect their nests).  Once the leaves have wilted, the acid quickly loses its potency and the herb can then be handled comfortably without danger of getting nettle rash.

So what do nettles actually do, except sting us?




butterfly1. Butterflies can’t get enough of it. Nettles are butterfly food for at least two common British species – the Red Admiral and Painted Lady. Without these ruthlessly efficient plant pollinators all sorts of crops would suffer and that in turn could affect the human food chain. It’s not just the disappearance of the bees we need to worry about.2. They’re medicinal. Nutritional therapist Jenny Logan claims that nettles can be used to ease the symptoms of gout, among other ailments. “They help to clear excess uric acid out of the joint – and it is the uric acid which causes the pain and inflammation associated with gout.”

3. They are survivors. The sting on the underside of the nettle leaf is designed to protect it. Tiny hairs laced with formic acid sink into the skin leaving raised bumps.

4. They tend to come with their own first aid kit. Dock leaves are commonly believed to soothe the symptoms of a nettle sting, and they often grow close by. But their proximity is pure coincidence says Phil Griffiths, conservatories manager at Kew Gardens. “They’re just both very quick to adapt to neglected areas.”

5. Nettles are chic. The fibre inside the plants can be spun into string and used to make fabric for clothing, cushion covers, and even paper. “A mature nettle is incredibly fibrous, like flaxen,” says Guy Barter from the Royal Horticultural Society.

6. The German army used nettle fabric to make army uniforms during World War I.

7. It’s low-maintenance. Nettles love wasteland. They will flourish wherever the soil is rich in phosphate and are common throughout Northern Europe. They can grow to be 4ft tall.

8. The plants are packed with magnesium, iron and calcium – all essential minerals for healthy humans, says trainee nutritional therapist Lucy Tones.

9. They’re tasty too, although nettle nutrition is a dish best served hot. The sting disappears when the leaves are boiled which is probably why they are most commonly consumed in the form of tea. If that’s not your cuppa, nettle soup is also “earthy, slightly tangy, outrageously healthy,” according to Good Food magazine blogger Toby Travis. The basic ingredients are nettles, onions, potato, stock and seasoning.

10. And finally, they can raise your spirits… literally. Nettle wine is a traditional country wine that’s enjoying a bit of a resurgence. It is a very dry, crisp wine that “retains a bit of a prickle” according to Lyme Bay Winery manager James Lambert. The winery recently made 3,000 litres of its unusual tipple using 40kg of nettles.

So what ailments can this humble and ubiquitous plant help with?

  • Nettle stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity
  • Nettle relieves arthritis symptoms
  • Nettle promotes a release of uric acid from joints
  • Helps to support the adrenals
  • It helps with diabetes mellitus
  • Strengthens the fetus in pregnant women
  • Promotes milk production in lactating women
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms
  • Helps with menstrual cramps and bloating
  • Helps break down kidney stones
  • Reduces hypertension
  • Helps with respiratory tract disease
  • Supports the kidneys
  • Helps asthma sufferers
  • Stops bleeding
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces incident of prostate cancer
  • Minimizes skin problems
  • Eliminates allergic rhinitis
  • Lessens nausea
  • Cures the common cold
  • Helps with osteoarthritis
  • Alleviates diarrhea
  • Helps with gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation
  • Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouth wash.
  • Has been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Relieves neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica
  • Destroys intestinal worms or parasites
  • Supports the endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas

You can brew stinging nettle leaves in almost boiling water and drink daily as a curative to all these ailments. Just be sure to check with your doctor since nettle can affect certain medicines and medical conditions.

1 pack of 10 Nettle Teabags is £2.00. We offer a promotion on our stall of 2 packs for £3.00. You can also order online at £2.00 per pack. Please contact via email if you want to take advantage of the promotion. Online orders will be charged via paypal and will include £1.00 postage.Buy Now Button

Foraging Health


Dandelion-emoedgars-sxc.jpg2_You see it everywhere, and for many it’s a pest.  But dandelions are a true gift from nature and deserve a bit of room in your garden.

  • The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
  • The dandelion flower opens in the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves and flowers. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
  • The leaves can be used as a salad ingredient, though has a bitter taste. Saute or blanch and use like spinach.
  • It’s a rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. It also contains vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. In addition, it contains B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D.
  • Dandelion contains more protein than spinach.
  • The latex released from a dandelion when the stem is snapped can cause dermatitis in some people, but is currently being researched as a commericial alternative for rubber.
  • Dandelions attract pollenating insects like bees and is a vital source of nectar for early butterflies.
  • Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva and chamomile.
  • The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the appearance of its coarsely-toothed leaves.
  • Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
  • Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!

Health Benefits

Digestive Aid – Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

Kidney – This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too.

Liver – Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance.

Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells.

health_benefits_of_flowers_imageCancer – Dandelion acts against cancer to slow its growth and prevent its spread. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer.

Diabetes – Recent animal studies show promise that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.

High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also regulate blood pressure.

Cholesterol – Animal studies have shown that dandelion lowers and control cholesterol levels.

Gallbladder – Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages.

Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling.

Immune System – Animal studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi.

Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible.

Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.

1 pack of 10 Dandelion Teabags is £2.00.  We offer a promotion on our stall of 2 packs for £3.00.  You can also order online at £2.00 per pack.  Please contact via email if you want to take advantage of the promotion. Online orders will be charged via paypal and will include £1.00 postage.Buy Now Button


The Great British Hedgerow

BLACKBERRIES-300x300Most people have fond memories of childhood adventures, exploring the wild in late summer and autumn, with  the scent of smoke on the breeze and a bag or basket clutched in their hands, scanning the hedgerow for blackberries.

They might also remember getting home from that adventure, a little green at the gills from ‘sampling’ their treasure on the way, and wondering what marvellous things will come of their hard work.

Speaking for myself, it was a little disappointing.  Blackberry and apple crumble.  Nice.  But there were a lot more blackberries than that.  Blackberry jam?  Not enough for that. Often those precious berries ended up going mouldy and consigned to the bin.

I was horrified this summer to walk along my local river bank and see heavily laden bramble bushes bowing and sagging with… rotten berries.  There were thousands, nay millions, of the tiny gems turned to brown husks, unpicked and left to waste.

It was a similar story for the hawthorn berries and rosehips lining the path.  Sloes in their thousands left unpicked.  Gone to rot.

These, among other wild foods like nettle and dandelion, are highly nutritious foods which are both free and tasty.

This website aims to offer ways to use these wild foods as part of our diet, and gain the health and economical benefits free food can offer.