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Less is more: young, fresh shoots to collect during Lent. #wildfood

Having reached the ‘half-way mark’ during Lent and I’ve bought a few charity shop items (supporting local and international causes), visited Brighton VegFest with the Vegan Organic Network and enjoyed a new Seaweed produced by @Seagreens.

Since then, Spring reminds us that fresh, new shoots are bursting forth and flower buds preparing to bear fruit later in the year. Behold the best wild food foraging season in the urban South East London region and another walk tour around our local @Mountsfield Park, which yielded many meadow and woodland delights.


Here’s how to pick your own wild green salads, to save purchasing mixed salad leaves, pre-prepared in plastic bags.

In the lower woodland area: Dead nettle has square stems (with apparent edges), tiny pink flowers and leaves similar to that of stinging nettles, offering a robust flavour, minus the sting (hence it’s name). Chickweed (Stellaria Media) spreads and grows horizontally, along the ground, in clumps, with tiny white flowers and lots of leaves, which all has a light flavour, like lettuce.

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is in lush leaf – with feathery foliage, celery stalk like stems with white buds becoming tall, umbelliferous flower heads later in Spring. Beware not to confuse this with Hemlock, a poisonous, similar plant to which Hogweed is also akin but with purple spots along the stems. Only touch those stems which are green (& not covered in purple splotches).

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) grows in low level clumps (to a metre high in summer) with iron-rich leaves, delicious to juice (in moderation) or boil into a tea and offers us a natural energy and stamina boost, due to its high iron levels. Combining Dandelion(Taraxacum) detoxes our urinary tract and large Burdock leaves (and roots) opens cells for purification. The former ‘Lion’s-tooth-plant’ (in French) refers to the shape of the plant’s leaves and yellow flower head.

Yarrow (Achillae millefolium); feathery little leaves grow in the grass and have a strong flavour, great for blood clotting and wound healing, as is Plantain (Plantago) with ribbed, pointed, finger-like leaves with threads form parts of the ribs (part of our ‘common-thread’ principle.

We each enjoyed all of these leaves, which due to their being uncultivated, offer us unprecedented mineral amounts of Calcium and magnesium, plus Chlorophyll, as a blood cleanser, which helps in thyroid balance, glowing skin, hormonal balance and energy. Each weed offers a unique, vibrant taste and grows tenacious, wild and free; elements which pass into our cells: we are what we eat (and absorb).

Dandelions