This is wild angelica, of which there are a fair few sub-species. It grows in damper areas, particularly in the boggier bits of streams, woodland edges and canal paths. As part of the difficult umbellifer family, it is VERY important this is identified correctly, as the same family also contains deadly lookalikes. Always err on the side of caution - don’t munch on a hunch!
Although the entire plant is edible, we’ve selected the seeds where the bitter taste of angelica is intensified. You can use these much in the same way you would cloves, cardamom pods and cassia bark - you’d never eat them on their own, but incorporated into a dish where their aromatic flavours can be imbibed by the rest of the ingredients, they become something a bit special. We recommend using them in baking, where their unique flavour acts as a spice, much like cinnamon or nutmeg. Try them in a carrot cake or ginger biscuit. Alternatively, steam some white fish with some soft herbs and a small pinch of these seeds for an aromatic twist to a classic.
Like gin? After juniper and citrus peel, angelica is probably the next most used botanical in gin distillation. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making an infused gin using 200ml of gin, a generous sprinkle of seeds and a few months of patience. The result should highlight angelica’s aromatic qualities and would make a superb cocktail ingredient.