December
2021

December's Monthly Forage Box will be the final delivery of our popular subscription service featuring 5 unique, wild products. From January 2022, those looking for fresh, wild produce will need to sign up for our NEW subscription service - hurry though, as those who sign up for the new service before midnight on 12th January 2022 will receive a FREE product with their first box.

What's
Inside?
Fresh Alexanders

Fresh Alexanders

Other Names:
Horse Parsley
Season:
Autumn to Early Summer
Parts Used:
leaves, stems, flowers, roots, seeds
Origin:
North Wales
Possibly confused with:
other umbellifers (caution), including Hemlock Water Dropwort (DEADLY TOXIC)
Produced by:
Great alternative to:
celery, parsley, broccoli, angelica
COMING TO MARKET SOONBUY SEPARATELY
INFO

“What did the Romans ever do for us?”

Well, they decided to plant lots of herbs on our tiny little island, many of which have long since been lost from the allotment, but can still be found growing profusely in the wild. Two centuries after planting Alexanders to feed themselves through the colder months, this member of the wild carrot family (a potentially deadly bunch, so please be careful!) can be found nestled in hedgerows along coastal paths and seafronts. In its full form, it looks remarkably like a lot of other wild plants - some delicious, some dangerous - but the Winter growth tends to set it apart from being confused with most other species, barring the deadly Hemlock Water Dropwort*.

Later in the year, you can eat the stalks, flowers and eventually the seeds (watch this space), but we’ve sent out the leaves of the plant this month to be used as a herb - some of you may have even received flowerheads and stems, which are just as good to use. Flavour-wise, it has been described as spicy, pungent, perfumed, aromatic and apparently even tastes like myrrh (we cannot verify this) so is a versatile ingredient to have in your culinary arsenal. We enjoy it on sandwiches, as a garnish for curries or whizzed into a guacamole. Without question, though, our favourite way to really get to grips with this sophisticated herb, in what perhaps might be called an unsophisticated manner, is blitzed into a vodka and served alongside steamed crayfish. Dust off your food processor and simply drop in a handful of raw Alexanders leaves with however much vodka you are in the mood for, before passing the resultant liquid through a sieve. The result will be nothing like you’ve ever tasted before but will perfectly compliment the rich, floral sweetness of the crayfish. Sun not past the yardarm? You can substitute the vodka for water and create something they probably mess around with on those televised cooking competitions.

*Again, please be careful! Alexanders is not a beginner plant to identify!

Rosehip Syrup

Rosehip Syrup

Other Names:
Season:
Autumn and Winter
Parts Used:
Berry, Flowers
Origin:
Cheshire
Possibly confused with:
Other red fruit (not easily though)
Produced by:
Great alternative to:
Any syrups!
COMING TO MARKET SOONBUY SEPARATELY
INFO

We get a wide range of people attending our workshops (join us!) from hipsters looking for alternative lifestyle tips, to parents of searching for a few hours of someone else distracting their kids, right through to older generations looking to reconnect with a past-time they did back in the day. It's for our more senior citizens that the humble rosehip - so common in our hedgerows and pretty much the only thing clinging on in the chillier snaps - evokes a misty-eyed nostalgia for times spent collecting rosehips for just the purpose we are pleased to share with you here. We are reliably informed in person and print alike, that rosehip syrup became a key part of the national diet in the post-war era, when vitamin C was so hard to come by that the foraging of this amazing berry was actively encouraged by the government.

Fast-forward a few decades and the rosehip is now reserved for a small few. It shouldn't be the case, though, and although syrup might not be the most healthy thing to eat in a world full of nutrient shots and smoothies, we can still appreciate this forgotten fruit for its beautiful flavour. Enjoy as you would any syrup: atop pancakes, in a cocktail, drizzled over porridge or yoghurt... or if you're feeling really retro, enjoy a spoonful each morning for that wartime kick of vitamin C.

Fresh Dulse Seaweed

Fresh Dulse Seaweed

Other Names:
Season:
All year
Parts Used:
Fronds
Origin:
Cornwall
Possibly confused with:
None
Produced by:
Great alternative to:
Bacon
COMING TO MARKET SOONBUY SEPARATELY
INFO

Winter brings with it many challenges for foragers who spend their time in land. Strapping on some waders and your toughest waterproof jacket and head for the coast, however, and you will still be able to find plenty to gorge on. As ever, we want to normalise food that is so common and abundant in the wild, and as an island nation it is completely barmy that we don't have seaweed as part of the national diet. This month's seaweed is the delicious Dulse, which can be found across the mid-tidal range and grows in great, purple 'hands'. It's almost translucent flesh is softer than it looks and tastes remarkably like bacon (were that bacon to have been pulled from the sea, obviously)

As dishes go, you can really push dulse to all corners of global cuisine. Think of sushi, stir fries, soups, stews, pasta, pizza, pickled or poached eggs and you really aren't far away. All that is great, but how about a seaweed sandwich? Lightly fry your portion of dulse in butter or oil, season with whatever takes your fancy and serve warm between two slices of crusty bread, with a selection of whatever you'd usually pad out a posh picnic with. Why not even try a BLT but replacing the bacon with this far healthier substitute?

Dried Dryad's Saddle Mushroom

Dried Dryad's Saddle Mushroom

Other Names:
Pheasants Back
Season:
Spring and Summer
Parts Used:
Origin:
Various
Possibly confused with:
None
Produced by:
Great alternative to:
COMING TO MARKET SOONBUY SEPARATELY
INFO

A while back, whilst mindlessly trawling through foraging Twitter, we stumbled upon an ID request for a mushroom that was directed at a very famous chef (a person known by a single name, like Plato, Pele or Prince) who, to their credit, smashed the ID out the park but also including a damning addendum along the lines of 'not very nice to eat, though' with that green vomiting emoji that we all know and love. Our hearts sank. Here was a big-hitter telling their millions of followers that a mushroom that are really quite fond of wasn't worth it.

Not a great start to us convincing you this product is worth it, but it would probably not be a surprise to learn that said chef hadn't tried said mushroom at all. After all, in a Michelin-starred world of truffles, morels and porcini, the Dryads Saddle mushroom is absolutely not winning any topprizes. However, it has a unique watermelon aroma and a light, umami flavour profile that is so versatile and really quite delicious. Enjoyed freshly picked in Spring, it is one of the highlights of the foraging calendar kicking off again, yet even dried and used in the depths of Winter, there is still something to be said for this very common bracket fungus.

To get the best out of any dried mushroom, this one included, we recommend rehydrating in boiling water for at least 12 hours to let the liquid really infuse and the mushroom itself soften properly. You may wish to break it up into smaller pieces before rehydrating. Once you've done that, you can add the liquid and mushroom bits to  to risottos, sauces and anywhere that requires a bit of stock. It's delicious, trust us.

Guelder Rose and Rowan Jelly

Guelder Rose and Rowan Jelly

Other Names:
Season:
Autumn and Winter
Parts Used:
Berries
Origin:
Cheshire
Possibly confused with:
other red berries (caution)
Produced by:
Great alternative to:
Redcurrant Jelly
COMING TO MARKET SOONBUY SEPARATELY
INFO

‘Don’t eat red berries!’ is sound advice that you will have been instructed to follow as a child. It is sort of true too - Holly, Yew and Lords and Ladies are just three dangerous examples - but there are possibly more exceptions to the rule than you think. Guelder Rose isn’t actually a rose at all really, and is a fairly common shrub found in damp soil and it produces an abundance of red berries in late summer, just as blackberries and raspberries are fading away, right through to the depths of winter. The berries contain a toxin and should not be eaten raw, however with a little bit of cooking, that toxin is removed and we can enjoy the amazing flavour knowing it won’t make us ill.

To show off the autumnal, and arguably savoury flavour profile of the Guelder Rose berries, we have turned them into a jelly alognside another overlooked hedgerow fruit, the rowan berry. Spread it thickly on buttered toast, or try it paired with some cold meats - we have even tried it warmed and drizzled over some roast vegetables after they come out the oven. Either way, it works wonders as a sweet or savoury condiment to any meal.

READY TO TRY OUT
NEXT MONTH'S BOX?

Only £10.00 per month. Pause anytime!
“What a great idea! Forage Box has transformed our midweek meals!”

Matt B, Monthly Subscriber
review stars
“Wild food gives me so many more options for my recipes and Forage Box is a perfect way to get wild ingredients into my home kitchen.”

@thefoodygirl, Travel & Food Blogger
review stars
“Hands down my favourite subscription!”

Nick T, Chef and Monthly Subscriber
review stars
“What a great idea! Forage Box has transformed our midweek meals!”

Matt B, Monthly Subscriber
review stars
“Wild food gives me so many more options for my recipes and Forage Box is a perfect way to get wild ingredients into my home kitchen.”

@thefoodygirl, Travel & Food Blogger
review stars
“Hands down my favourite subscription!”

Nick T, Chef and Monthly Subscriber
review stars
Get
Started