Tag Archives: foraging

Wild Carrot Leaves

Wild Carrots

I was out for a wander in deepest Essex recently and I came across a patch of land where Wild Carrots (Daucus carota) seem to thrive. You can barely take a few steps without tripping over some.

Wild Carrot Leaves

Wild Carrot Leaves

Anyway, I wasn’t entirely prepared, but I did a quick video on my phone so I could show them…

Hairy Bittercress

I ended up gathering quite a few, along with some hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). The bittercress tastes exactly the same as cress that you might buy from a supermarket (although all the sweeter for being free!).

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress

Wild Carrots

What to do with these diminutive, white carrots?

Wild Carrot preparation

Wild Carrot preparation

Firstly, the smaller, younger ones can be eaten raw (and I did), and they make a really nice, sweet snack.

Next, I quickly boiled a couple of the larger, tougher ones. Unsurprisingly, they tasted just like supermarket carrots, but somehow better.

Boiled wild carrots

Boiled wild carrots

Then I chopped a few of the roots and some of the leaves into a salad, which was served with a spaghetti Bolognese (which also had a few wild carrots in it).

Finally, I now have a handful of roots macerating in Vodka. I’m hoping that the sweet carrot smell and taste are going to come through.

Wild carrot vodka

Wild carrot vodka

One for the future, some kind of foraged carrot-cake?

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My Elderberry wine foraged booze

Foraged Booze

Now, I love the free stuff that I can find and collect and eat, and I quite like alcohol too; So to be able to combine the two is brilliant, hence foraged booze.

I’ve had a go at making Elderflower Champagne, Sloe Gin, and Elderberry Vodka in the past, so when an opportunity came to go on a walk with Andy Hamilton, the foraging booze king, how could I not?

I arrived early and spent a little time practicing my plant and tree recognition skills.

Andy arrived nice and early, and it turns out that he’s every bit as entertaining and charming as he is in his videos. After everyone else arrived we got started with a round of Elderflower Champagne from Andy’s bag of treats. What a lovely start.

The walk continued much the same way. It was a friendly group and I enjoyed chatting to everyone on the way around. The treats continued, and Andy provided information and advice, as well as many more tipples.

I brought my own along too. The Linden Blossom Tea mixed with Spiced Rum went down quite well.

We finished the walk sheltering from a little rain in a copse of trees, where Andy shared his final tipple and information. This one was a little unusual, in that it had blended crickets in it! None of us guessed the secret ingredient.

Foraged Booze Summary

Overall, a really nice experience. One of the things I liked the most about Andy, is that if any of us asked what one might do with a foraged ingredient in booze, that he hadn’t done already, Andy has ideas of what might be done.

I’m looking forward to the next one…

 

Thanks to Andy Hamilton of www.theotherandyhamilton.com

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