Thanks for all your comments on the Frugal Top 20 Tips blog entry. There are some really useful extra tips and suggestions among them, which is brilliant, so thanks again and keep them coming!
And thanks too for your comments on the disastrous wild food course we went on. I think you’re quite right and I am definitely going to complain. The more I think about it, the more it worries me that this individual is running these courses.
Meanwhile, DJ and I haven’t been put off learning more about wild food and instead have been trying to find out more from other more useful sources. In our search we came across some great websites and blogs that I thought you might be interested to hear about if you haven’t come across them before. Especially given all the recent publicity about the rising cost of many food stuffs, and with world leaders meeting in Rome to discuss the global food price crisis.
Fergus Drennan is a professional forager based in the UK. He trained as a chef, but decided that he enjoyed being outside in the open air more than he did in the kitchen. And now he runs courses on finding and cooking your own wild food.
But even more extreme, he is currently engaged in an experiment in trying to live on foraged food alone, which is no easy task, even for a professional. It requires an awful lot of planning and organisation, because obviously foraging for food takes a lot of time and cooking the results much preparation. Especially when Fergus is also trying to hold down a full time job and write a book! He recently had to travel abroad and survive on food he packed with him, supplemented by items foraged from the local parks and green spaces he came across!
Fergus says he finds the most difficult thing is time management, because foraging for your food solely from the wild and preparing it for the pot is much more time consuming than simply buying things from the supermarket. And not to make things easy on himself, he is also semi-vegetarian! So he can’t simply go out and take a pot shot at a pigeon if he’s feeling peckish. Although oddly enough, his rules allow the eating of road kill – the idea is that he can eat the meat as long as he wasn’t responsible for killing it. I’m hoping to speak to Fergus soon – he’s a hard man to get hold of as he’s often out in the field looking for wild grub – so let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to ask him.
And another real character we stumbled across was Wildman Steve Brill, a charismatic forager based in the US. Once arrested and cuffed for eating a dandelion leaf in Central Park, he now runs foraging and wild plant tours for kids and adults in parks around the US. There are some useful recipes on his website (link above) for cooking wild plants.
And check out American Green Deane’s videos on YouTube. These are particularly instructive for helping distinguish between particular wild plants that are edible and ones that can easily be mistaken for them. Do bear in mind though, that some of the plants are obviously only found in the US, although the UK does share some plant species such as chickweed.
Remember – if you go foraging for wild food – DON’T EAT ANYTHING UNLESS YOU’RE SURE EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE EATING. Just because it’s ‘natural’ it doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat! There are many toxic plants out there.
Got any good wild food recipes you’d like to share? Let me know and I’ll try them out.