Top 10 Urban Wild Food Finds
Known to many children and dogs throughout the world, Cleavers, also known goosegrass or sticky willy, is a creeping plant that grows along the ground, or over other plants. They attach themselves to clothes and animal fur with small hooked hairs which grow out of the stems and leaves. Cleavers are edible, with the leaves and stems of the plant often being cooked as a leaf vegetable. Cleavers can also be used to make a coffee substitute, poultices, tinctures and teas.
Chickweed is extremely common in gardens and is often considered a noxious weed that needs to be removed. On the contrary, chickweed is a fantastic edible, with a delightful apple-skin crunch that's perfect in a salad, soup, pesto or just served sauteed with butter. It can also be found all year round!
8. Hairy Bittercress
If you go out into your yard or garden, chances are that you find this plant in a pavement crack or in one of your plant pots. Hairy Bittercress is extremely common and is suprisingly tasty, having a slightly peppery, slightly bitter flavour. It's great as a cress substitute, so is wonderful in a soup or stew, or even on an egg mayo or roast beef sandwich!
Common Plantain, also known as Broad Leafed or Greater Plantain, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family. Considered a very common garden weed, it grows on lawns and fields, along roadsides, gardens, and in other areas that have been disturbed by humans. The whole plant is edible, with the young, tender leaves eaten raw, and the older, stringier, leaves boiled in stews, much like spinach. The young buds can also be cooked and eaten, tasting a little like asparagus.
6. Flowering Currant
The Flowering Currant is quite a popular garden plant in the UK due to it's stunning Springtime displays of hanging, decorative blooms. It is related to other edible currants, such as the blackcurrant and redcurrant, and does produce edible berries, but these are lacking in flavour. The real appeal of this plant comes from it's edible flowers, which have a strong herby aroma and taste a little like sweet hibiscus. They can be used for a range of purposes, including raw in a salad or garnish, or infused into syrups, teas or vinegars.
5. Wild Cherry
The Wild Cherry is a deciduous tree that produces beautiful displays of white, five-petalled flowers on it's branches during the spring. It is common all over the UK and can be found almost anywhere, town or country. Wild Cherries are just like supermarket ones, delicious, tasty and sweet, but free!
4. Dryad's Saddle
Much like the nettle, everyone alive knows what a daisy is, but most people are unaware that this unassuming little plant can also be eaten. From being added to salads and used as a pot-herb, to being enjoyed as a refreshing tea, the daisy is an awesome little edible and can be found absolutely everywhere.
Purveyor of painful, itchy stings and bumpy red rashes, most children are all too familair with the humble stinging nettle, and have been avoiding them for years! Growing absolutely everywhere, from yards and gardens to fields and woods, the stinging nettle is an amazing superfood with unlimited uses in the kitchen, from soups and mains, and desserts and syrups, to teas and other beverages. Even their seeds can be used.
Everybody knows what a blackberry looks like! And most people know where to find them - whether you live in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a city, Brambles are absolutely everywhere - and those sweet, plump and delicious berries epitomise sunny september childhoods, complete with purple-stained lips. The simple blackberry is where most people start their foraging journey, in fact most people have actually been foraging for years and never realised it!
The dandelion has to be the number-one recognised plant in the UK. Just step out of your front or back door and you'll be sure to come across one in a matter of seconds - you may even have spent many a day trying to dig them up or burn them from the cracks in your pavement! Dandelions are 100% edible, from root to flower head, and can be used for a multitude of purposes in the kitchen, from salads, stews and soups, to desserts, syrups and drinks. A truly versatile edible that's instantly recognisable and super-easy to find.