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Dried Ground Elder
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Dried Ground Elder

Dried Ground Elder

£ 4.50 
£ 2.50 
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A bit like parsley, a bit like celery
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5g
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INFO

As with so much of the wild produce available to us in Britain, Ground Elder was brought here by the Romans (who else?) to be grown as a pot herb in a climate where their delicate, Mediterranean herbs simply wouldn’t survive. As anyone who has it growing in their garden will testify, it is a prolific grower and takes all manner of work to get rid of it. Perhaps, instead of spraying harmful weedkiller to eradicate it and everything else in the area, hand-picking the most feral specimens to keep it under control would suffice, with handfuls of the stuff then being available for the cooking pot. It’s particularly good for you, with over four times as much vitamin C than spinach, for example.

Regarding the ID of the plant, some care still needs to be taken. It does have some similar features to other members of the carrot family (regular readers of this website will know just how dangerous they can be) but can start to be distinguished by its smooth, celery-shaped stem, along with three distinct leaf stems. It is ‘elder’ by name only, given such a label due to the similarity of appearance between its leaves and the tree of the same name, but the two species are not related. Albeit one of the easier plants to identify within its botanical family, please don’t let this brief description be your only guide - go and find a more comprehensive description and remember to cross-reference with other sources. Once you know it, however, you’ll spot it growing everywhere you look!

Use as you would any dried herb. We haven't ground this one up too much should you wish to retain its shape a bit more, but a quick whizz in a spice blender would do the trick. It is very comfortable in egg dishes, soups, salads, fish, meat, curries, sauces, dips, roasts and indeed anywhere you would have found parsley (let’s not forget that in the 1970s, this was any dish not on the dessert menu) but we find that it is best incorporated into a sauce. A simple beurre blanc sauce would be a good place to try it, or perhaps in a ground elder ‘parsley’ sauce for use in a fish pie.

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