As our first 12 months draws to a close, we thought it would be great to celebrate with one of our favourite country wines. Fans of anise flavours will love this delicate, light tipple - it's such a crowd pleaser! At 5.2% ABV, this is a great one for a balmy afternoon in the sunshine.
Sweet Cicely tends to prefer more northern regions and particularly likes hillside roads and hedgerows up in the clouds. It does bare an annoyingly similar resemblance to other umbellifers (which is a notoriously tricky family to get to grips with) but a key ID feature is the unmistakable 'aniseed' smell from the leaves, stems and flowers. For this wine, we took plenty of the flowers and created a traditional sparkling wine recipe to really show off this native herb.
That's right: Sea. Truffle.
This might seem like two words that don't really compute but, believe us, it's a match made in heaven. Just a small nibble on a dainty frond will blow you away with rich, umami garlic flavours, which combines with a natural saltiness to produce a truly unique flavour that you can only get from foraging!
Sea Truffle doesn't last long and will start to deteriorate quite rapidly out of the sea. This means you need to either wolf it down the moment it arrives or get it in the fridge to enjoy alongside that evening meal. Cooking it tends to diminish the flavour so this is definitely best enjoyed raw. Lay it atop a poached egg or perhaps alongside some rich ravioli - whatever you choose to do with it, keep it simple.
As with all seaweeds, picking should always be done with scissors, not by tearing. This leaves the main body of the plant attached to the rock and therefore a fighting chance for regrowth. Here at Forage Box, everything we pick is done so using techniques such as this.
A stalwart of forest and moorland alike, these tiny berries are our native answer to the better known blueberry. What you get with blueberries, you get tenfold with a bilberry - yes, it's trickier to get hold of them (they are small and wild, after all!) but they are much tastier, juicier and healthier than the watery, shop-bought blueberry.
Enjoy them as you would any berry... by the handful, over yoghurt, in a smoothie or as part of a fruit salad. Just remember that they will stain your fingers a rich purple if handled too firmly!
It is during the height of summer that plants start thinking about how they are going to get through winter, and therefore we start to see fruit and seeds being produced where once there was lush green growth. Take a stroll along any country path and you'll be sure to pass common hogweed, growing quite happily in a number of habitats.
What the majority of other walkers may not realise is that they are walking past one of THE great wild spices. Even just one of the little seed pods is enough to send your palate into overdrive! Often described as a little bit like cardamom with a hint of orange, green common hogweed seeds are a perfect addition to any dish calling out for robust flavours. Try it as part of a curry paste or crushed into a rice salad!
Wood Sorrel is one of those plants that you’ve probably missed in the past, but once you know what it looks like, you can spot carpets of the stuff growing all over the place. Happiest on forest floors, it appears all year round and provides a tasty snack on any stomp through the woods. It looks a lot like the clover you will find in your nearest lawn, but has a much more fragile leaf and stem.
Taste-wise, Wood Sorrel has a flavour that has been compared to lemons, apples and even grape skins. Expect a strong tartness for such a small plant! We recommend not cooking it, but adding it to dishes as a garnish or mixing through greek yoghurt. If you do choose to cook with it, whack it in a simple sauce and serve with something that would go well with a lemon kick such as shellfish, Mediterranean vegetables or summer soups. You won’t be surprised to hear that it is packed with Vitamin C, so it is great for your health too!
As with many foods, it is recommended to not eat too much Wood Sorrel in one sitting - the amount we have sent you is about right for someone with no known health issues concerning the kidneys. If unsure, please seek medical guidance.