We did something totally different last week: we went foraging for food! Now that might not sound particularly adventurous to some, but when you consider that I live in South London â€“ in many ways a concrete jungle â€“ it’s about as adventurous as it gets!
We met up with a group from Lambeth Band of Solidarity, led by Ceri Buck and picked nettles, dandelions, lime leaves and hawthorn before returning back to the community centre to prepare a lunch that was as enjoyable as it was interesting.
Today I’m going to share my favourite recipe from the day: Dandelion Fritters
Dandelion flowers have a host of health benefits, including weight management, cleansing the skin and rejuvenating the liver. It is a fantastic ‘morning after’ drink when steeped in hot water and sweetened and drunk as a tea.
Now, in less healthy fashion, on to the fritters.
- 10â€“15 Dandelion flowers per person trimmed so that there’s no bitter stalk, and washed
- 1 medium egg
- 225ml ice-cold water
- 100g plain flour
2.Lightly mix in the flour with a fork and beat gently. Don’t worry too much about lumps.
3.Dip the dandelions in the batter, and drop in hot oil. The oil should ideally be at 180C/350F for cooking dandelions; if the dandelions sink to the bottom of the oil, the temperature is too high.
4.Fry till golden brown, then remove and place on paper towel
5.For a sweet treat, drizzle lemon juice over, then dip in icing sugar. For a salty treat, dip in mustard, or our favourite, sprinkle over salt and pepper and enjoy!
A few tips for foraging safely:
- Be 100% sure of the plant you’re picking to eat
- Try to pick away from main roads or train lines as the ground is more polluted near transport routes.
- Preferably pick in areas that haven’t been built on in the last 100 years, as these places shouldn’t have any lead piping in the ground
- Find out if pesticides are used in the area you’re interested in
- Make sure to pick higher up in areas where dogs are walked!
- Pick no more than we you will consume
- Pick no more than a third of the plant â€“ we want new seeds and new plants next year!
- In the UK it is illegal to uproot a whole plant in a public area or without the consent of the land owner