A Guide to Wild Winter Greens

Winter can be tough on foragers, especially those far from the coast who rely on field and forest.  Mushrooms, so enthusiastically pushing through the leaf litter a few weeks ago, have mostly retreated into the dirt.  The generous hedgerows have become rather miserly, offering up a few scant rose hips and the occasional sour crab-apple. …

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A Year in the Garden

Last year I was approached by a publisher about writing a book. A kind of guide to the things I am doing here, separated into sections – a year in the garden, and year with the bees, a year of wild food, etc. This was to be a narrative, interspersed with recipes and more practical…

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Flavours of the Forest

The flavour of dried ceps and other boletes is altogether different to the fresh mushrooms. Deep and dusky, it speaks of forests and earth, of leaf litter and moss. To me, it is one of those special ingredients, along with things like butter or vinegar, that can transform a dish from the mundane to the magnificent.

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Winter Chanterelle Tagliatelle

It is very cold, and mist curls through the bronzing leaves of the forest canopy, turning trees into hulking shadows, half-hidden keepers of old secrets.  The feeling in my fingers is gone.  Dewdrops collect in my beard and eyebrows, and I cannot feel my nose.  I am shivering, and somewhat lost, but I do not…

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On Chestnuts, Oyster Mushrooms, and Ancient Mutants

One of the attractions of foraging is that it is possible to find flavours and textures that are unavailable in the shops.  Most wild mushrooms are so complex in their relationships to the land, to the other organisms that share that space, that they are difficult or impossible to cultivate.  You might find penny buns…

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The Hedgerow in Autumn

The greens of summer fade toward the golds and rusts of autumn. This morning is a dim one, with thin mist curling across the meadows. The sun breaks the horizon. The mist takes on colours, hazing pink and orange as its fingers reach across the land. More rain is promised. Grey clouds hang fat and…

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Chicken of the Woods

Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is a startling fungus. Often bright yellow, and rather alien in appearance, it grows mostly on the trunks of oak trees, though sometimes on poplar or yew. It is a parasitic fungus, and eventually causes the rot and death of its host. It is fairly easy to identify. Young specimens are bright to pale…

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