Are you ready to add a little more adventure to your spring cuisine? Look no further than the world of foraging. Here’s your guide to some of the most delectable finds in Wales this April, courtesy of Amy Wild.
April marks the perfect time to scour woodlands, forests, and countrysides for fresh spring greens to give your home-cooked meals a local, seasonal twist. So put on your walking shoes, grab some gloves and head into nature to explore the abundance of wild edibles available during Spring, as foraging season is well and truly upon us.
First up, we have Alexanders, also known as horse parsley. Its leaves and stems are edible and have a unique, slightly sweet flavour that’s perfect for a variety of dishes. Plus, the plant is incredibly versatile: you can use it in soups, stews, salads, and even as a substitute for celebrity in recipes. This wild veggie is a real treasure – some say it’s like finding a rare item on eBay…
Next, bramble leaves. Sure, you’ve picked blackberries before, but did you know the leaves are also edible? They are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C and add a fun, adventurous spin to your spring salad. Just be careful of the thorns.
It’s peak season for dandelions: April is the perfect time to get out and gather these yellow gems and make a variety of treats, from dandelion coffee and wine to desserts and puddings. These bright blooms are not only beautiful to look at but they are also packed with vitamins.
Cow parsley is another must-try herb. But if you’re a beginner, beware: it’s a carrot family member and can be easily confused with other species, notably poison hemlock. So before you start munching, make sure you know exactly what you’re eating.
Garlic mustard is another flavourful find. This herb has a mild, peppery garlic flavour and is a member of the cabbage family. Its other common name, jack by the hedge, is fitting as its garlic-like aroma, when crushed, was once said to be the devil’s breath. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying its deliciousness!
Hairy bittercress is a weed most people overlook, but it has a delightful, peppery tang flavour and is nutritious too. It’s packed with vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants, making it a great addition to any healthy diet. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your meals: sprinkle some over a salad or use as a garnish.
Nettles are a no-brainer – so long as you put on your thickest gloves before you start picking to avoid getting stung, that is. Once you have your gloves on, select the young leaves from the tips. From there, the culinary options are endless: whip up some nettle soup, add it to a Welsh rarebit, or even toss it in an omelette.
Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, is a native find that grows in dense clusters on the forest floor. It’s a rich source of folklore and purportedly has the power to ward off vampires and evil spirits. But if the real magic is in its delicious flavour, that’s more than enough.
Although unlikely to be flowering just yet, mallow is another herb perfect for picking in April. Its leaves and stems are edible and rich in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin C. So, get out there and start foraging – who knows what delicious surprises you’ll find…
Foraging events in Wales this April
Every Sat until 16 Sep: Beginner’s hedgerow forage, Cathedral Close, Pembrokeshire
Fri 7 – Mon 10 Apr: Coastal foraging glamping holiday, Pembrokeshire
Price: from £225 per person; Easter offer: 3 nights for the price of 2
For details, email: [email protected]
Sat 8 Apr: Foraging walk along Neath Canal, Neath
Price: £25 per person
Sun 9 Apr: Foraging along Llangollen Canal, Llangollen
Price: £35 per adult; £15 under 16s
Price: £27.80 (one adult; one child)
Price: £49.10 (over 16s only)
Wed 26 April: Introduction to coastal foraging, Online
Sat 29th April: Spring into foraging, Online
Sat 29 April: Spring foraging, Rookwood Riding Centre, Caerphilly
words AMY WILD
Want more food & drink?
The latest reviews, interviews, previews and features, from Wales and beyond.