orchardsnearme

wild-spring-samosa-recipe-ingredients-orchards-near-me

Recipe: Wild Spring Samosas

This is one of my favourite Spring dishes. Serve them as snacks to impress your dinner guests or rustle them up as a lunch time treat. Our wild samosas will put a spring in your step. We used three of our most loved wild Spring ingredients for these delicious samosas but feel free to get creative and add your own wild herb mix.wild-spring-samosa-recipe

Samosa Ingredients

  • Three cornered leak
  • Wild garlic
  • Dried Nettles
  • Potatoes
  • Cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Puff Pastry

Step 1. Boil your potatoes and mash them.

Step 2. Add a little olive oil to your pan. Next add wild-garlic-samosa-orchards-near-mechopped garlic leaves, three cornered leak, dandelion leaves, cumin, tumeric, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Fry gently for 5 – 10 minutes.

Step 3. Add your curry mix to your mash potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of frozen peas and stir for another 5 minutes.Get

Step 4. Roll out your puff pastry. Turn over a bowl and cut out circles. Cut your circles in half and brush tips with flour and water. Make cone shapes with your pastry and add a spoonful of your samosa filling. Squeeze the sides together.

Step 5. Bake until golden crisp.

Step 6. Enjoy

wild-dandelion-flatbread-recipe-spring-foraging-orchards-near-me

Wild Recipe: Delicious Dandelion Flatbread

This week we are foraging in the garden, using Spring weeds as the main ingredients in some of our daily dishes. Today we have a real recipe treat with easy garden weed flatbread.

Flatbread Ingredientseasy-garden-flatbread-recipe

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 50g of butter melted
  • 185 ml of milk

Flatbread Toppings

  • Dandelion Leaves
  • Nettle Pesto
  • Pine Nuts
  • Mozzarella
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

dandelion-garden-flatbread-recipe

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Head out to the garden to collect your freshflatbread-toppings-orchards-near-mely grown dandelion leaves and a few dandelion heads to decorate. Be sure to wash them gently under luke warm water.
  2. Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and baking powder.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat, once it is melted add the milk and remove from the hob.
  4. Make a whole in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.
  5. Gently mix all of the ingredients until it forms a sticky dough. Now knead the dough for 5 minutes and leave to the side in a bowl wrapped with cling film for 30 minutes.
  6. Once ready, divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces and roll it out.
  7. Heat oil on a pan and gently fry the dough for 1 or 2 minutes. You should see pockets of air rise as you cook.
  8. Now you are ready to add your toppings and place in the oven.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with toppings for this delicious flatbread.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

tempura-battered-dandelions-recipe-wild-food

Wild Recipe: Tempura Battered Dandelions

Dandelion (aka Taraxacum officinale)

Today we are cooking tempura battered dandelions, a real Springtime treat. Famous as a garden weed, this yellow headed plant isn’t often noted for its fantastic healing properties but dandelions are a real gift from nature.

They are a natural anti-inflammatory, used in skincare to treat anti-aging and has a long history as a medicinal plant since the 11th century. Dandelions can provide a welcome boost to your immune system in Springtime. All parts of this special weed are edible. Today the root is used as a trendy substitute for coffee.springtime-foraging-wild-garlic-and-dandelions

Try this delicious recipe to add some freshly washed dandelions to your diet.

Tempura Battered Dandelions

What you will need: Freshly Foraged Dandelion heads (aim for between 15 – 20).

Batter Ingredients

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 125 g Plain Flour
  • 250 ml/1 Cup of very cold water or sparkling water

Aioli Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons of White wine vinegar
  • 120 ml Olive oil
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt

STEP 1
Prepare the batter. The key here is making sure that the water is very cold. Leave it in the freezer for a 2 or 3 minutes if you want. Add the egg to the water, now gently mix in the flour with a spoon until smooth.Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, deep saucepan or deep fat fryer to 180’c.

STEP 2tempura-battered-dandelions
Prepare the Dandelion heads by gently washing them, removing the stem and leaves. Pat them dry before using them.

STEP 3
Before you start cooking your flowers, prepare your aioli sauce. Mince the garlic, mix the egg yolk and vinegar, whisk in the olive oil, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

STEP 4
Now is the exciting part. Heat a large portion of vegetable oil in a pot or wok. (Note: Never leave a pan of oil heating alone. Stay with the cooker until you are finished). Sprinkle your dandelion heads with flower, dip into the batter and drop into the hot oil for 2 minutes until they are golden brown. Only do a handful each time.

STEP 5
Sit back and enjoy this super weed snack.

To start planning your foraging adventures you can download a copy of our Foraging Workbook Planner here.

If you have any recipe tips or foraging knowledge to share we would love to hear from you.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

 

alexander-spring-rolls-wild-food-recip

Wild Food Recipe: Alexander Spring Rolls

These delicious snacks are a super healthy way to use your recently foraged treats and some of your staple fridge vegetables.

Alexanders are ripe for picking from April to June. These wonderful wild edible plants pop up everywhere. You will find them growing in park edges, forest edges and near coastal regions. It tastes like a mixture of celery and parsley, making it the perfect pairing for stir-fry’s and a lot of Asian dishes. If you are a vegetarian then you will welcome this addition to your vegetable list.spring-rolls-foraging

Try boiling the stems and leaves and making a substitute for pepper from the flower heads. The seeds are spicy acting as a healthy addition to your spice rack. You will see that many chefs use the roots, roasting them with a little olive oil and salt (as you would normally do with roasted carrots and parsnips).

Here is our little Alexander recipe for you to try out at home.

Alexander Spring Rolls

Spring Roll Wraps
2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of corn starch
3/4 cup of very cold water
1 heaped teaspoon of salt
Tip: Once you have combined the ingrediants to form your dough leave it to the side for 20 minutes while you prepare your filling.

Spring Roll Fillingspring-roll-filling-orchards-near-me
Finely Chopped Alexender Leave
Finely chopped Alexander stems (about a handful)
1 bunch of wild garlic leaves
Red Chilli
Finely chopped yellow onion
Yellow pepper sliced finely
Diced cucumber
3 Tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
Salt and Pepper

To Prepare

  • Gently saute the filling ingredients in a hot pan for 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl beat an egg.
  • Now make 8 dough balls from your wrapping mixture. Spend time rolling out each ball until it is as thin as you can get it.
  • Add the filling to the centre of your wrap.
  • Brush the rest of the inside with egg to help stick the wrap together and roll them up.

We hope that you have fun trying this wild recipe and sharing your Alexander Spring Rolls with friends.

To start planning your foraging adventures you can download a copy of our Foraging Workbook Planner here.

If you have been experimenting with foraged foods we would love to hear from you.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

wild-food-recipe-forest-pho-soup

Wild Food Recipe: Forest Pho

Do you want a taste of the forest? The fresh air, the wild garlic, the scent of pine, everything about the forest shouts discover and explore. This is exactly what we do when we cook with wild foods and embark on a foraging adventure.forest-pho-wild-food-recipe-orchards

Today we went to the woods and found the most delicious wild greens, fiddleheads, wild garlic, scarlet elf cups and jelly ears. Now we are ready to whip up a tasty bowl of pho to warm us up for the evening.

INGREDIENTS

foraging-for-wild-herbs

    • 1 bunch of Wild Garlic Leaves
    • A few leaves of wild mustard
    • Cleavers aka Sticky Willies
    • Fresh Ginger
    • Fiddleheads
    • Mushrooms (any kind will do but we used Jelly ears and Elf cups because we had some freshly picked)

 

  • 1 large onion
  • Peppercorns
  • Cloves
  • Chili Flakes
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Beef Stock
  • Noodleswild-herb-noodle-soup-foraging
  • Mint to garnish

Now you are ready to put your dish together and this couldn’t be easier. Saute the onion in a tablespoon of butter, add the wild garlic leaves

for two minutes. Now add the ginger, wild mustard and Fiddleheads. Stir gently for 1 minute. Add chili flakes, peppercorns and cinnamon. After another two minutes frying add the mushrooms. Now gently ladle the beef stock over the mixture, stirring as you pour. When your soup mix has boiled add the noodles.

I always have a few crackers on the side.

Now you are ready to serve and enjoy!

If you enjoyed this wild food recipes then you might also like to give our wild garlic pesto a try.

To start planning your foraging adventures you can download a copy of our Foraging Workbook Planner here.

Happy Foraging!

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

foraging-in-europe-orchards-near-me

Edible Invasive Plants and Biodiversity

As a keen forager, it is safe to say that I love all things wild food related, including the invasive species that climb onto, grow on and invade our native landscapes. When people see hear about my foraging adventures or join me for a trip outdoors, they are often worried if we are damaging the environment around us. I never claim to be an expert.

When it comes to wildlife, nobody is an expert. However, if you take the time to learn about the environment around you, the plants that grow in different seasons and the invasive plant species that are causing trouble than foraging for wild food and learning about the landscapes is the ideal way to brush up on your knowledge and avoid damaging the environment. If you would like to forage for wild foods go with somebody who knows their region, bring the right equipment and enjoy spending time outdoors.   

I have been following fellow foragers and food enthusiasts for a long time now and there are a few that have increased their focus on invasive plant species. So what are invasive plants, how can we identify them and how can we use them in our everyday lives? 

Invasive plants are introduced to their surroundings by foreign means and usually spreads generously around us. When they start to thrive they often cause harm to native eco-systems. Depending on your location you may be familiar with some non-native plant species. For instance, Japanese knotweed thrives in the woodlands and marshlands of Ireland. 

Here are just a few common invasive species you can find in Ireland:

Zebra mussels

Zebra Mussels can cause changes in water cycles and impact on the native mussels we love and the fish stocks. These guys originally come from Russia and the Ukraine. Many people won’t eat these mussels as they pick up pollutants easily. However, so does all shellfish so more research is needed here and they are used by chefs in some parts of the world. 

Sea Buckthorn

One of the hardest to pick but the sweetest taste if you can manage the picking. We finds lots of these berries spiking from their branches along the east coast shores of Ireland. Full of anti-oxidents and Vitamin C, this berry hangs around the shorelines of the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These guys are considered an invasive species so pick away. 

Japanese Knotweed

It is highly likely that you have heard of or seen this invasive plant in a park nearby or even your neighbours garden.  It was first brought to Europe in the mid 19th century by a botanist. Japanese Knotweed grows at an incredible rate and is capable of significantly damaging properties as it can squeeze through gaps of concrete.

There are three methods that are commonly recommended for helping to prevent the spread of Japanese knotweed. You can either spray it with chemicals that will eventually damage the environment around the plant, you can choose to bury it so deep that the plant is prevented from growing up out of the ground again or you can burn it. A less known method for getting rid of this disturbing plant is eating it. Yes, knotweed is edible and tastes similar to rhubarb, maybe a little more sour in taste. Not all parts of the plant are edible. Eat the shoots in springtime before they get hard. Enjoy them in dessert dishes and experiments.

Chickweed

Chickweed is a commonly foraged plant in Europe and it is native to the region. It can be varied in appearance but once you identify as area of it you will see it appear in the same place each year. It’s oval shaped leaves grow in pairs and it is abundant in Springtime. Best eaten fresh and raw, it has a mild flavour. It is considered an invasive species and often plagues land owners in North America. Instead of tackling it with pesticides, try picking some for your salads. 

Garlic Mustard 

Considered an invasive herb in the US it can be found in forests and the edges of woodlands throughout the world. If you are based in the US or Canada than please feel free to go on the ultimate picking spree with this tasty plant. It takes over woodland spaecs and blocks the light and water resources from nature species. It grows on roadsides, forest edges and open forest floors. The young stems and leaves are delicious. They can be steamed with other vegetables to add a garlic mustard flavour or cut them up to add them to soups and salads. Garlic mustard pesto and hummus are great recipes too. Treat your dinner guests to a special dip with their chips.

Hairy Bittercress

This is a popular member of the mustard family and well known by foragers around the world. Tiny white flowers develop at the tip of the stems. The leaves and seeds are popular additions to salads and stir fry dishes. It is a welcome peppery flavour. Bittercress likes open, disturbed spaces and you will often find it popping up near the garden or along pathways. Like a lot of edible green weeds, the leaves from hairy bittercress wilt quickly so it is best to consume it fresh.

Purslane

This sweet wild treat comes into its own in the summer months. It contains fatty acids and vitamin E. It is known to help treat digestive and urinary issues. Purslane has thick purple stems. You will notice the small yellow flowers that sprout from the tips of the plant. It is an invasive plant in North America and had been used in traditional dishes and salads in the 18th century. 

Feel free to have a listen to this short invasive rant here!

Learn more about Invasive plants on one of our foraging adventures.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

foraging-in-february-orchards-near-me

What’s in Season? Foraging in February

There are wild treats to be found throughout the year but as we make our way into the Spring months the forests start to come alive. In February the snow capped slopes will start to appear green again and we can venture outdoors to get closer to nature.

So what’s in season at this time of the year. Foraging in February is fruitful if you know what to look for and where to find them.

7-wild-plants-for-springtime-foraging-in-february

Hairy Bittercress

A common plant that grows year round and is the perfect replacement for cress or rocket in your salad dishes. Pick the leaves when young; February is an ideal time of year to collect these.

Nettles

This versatile stinging leaf is one of the most undervalued wild edibles around. From warming nettle soup to fresh nettle pesto there are so many ways to use this ingredient in Springtime.

Pennywort

Another underestimated small plant is pennywort. Often found crowded at the sides of forests and trees, this wild gem is said to help lower blood pressure. Eat it raw in salads or add it to dishes like you will find is some cuisine of Sri Lanka.

Wild Garlic

You will find this pungent plant growing in large patches in dense forests. Both the leaves and flowers are edible and chefs around the world will be out and about for wild garlic season. Follow your nose instead of your eyes for this wild plant as the smell will guide you to its location.

Watercress

As the name suggests this wild plant can be found near the water sides. It works well in soups and the raw leaves are packed full of nutrients and anti-oxidants.

Salad Burnet

As a member of the rose family we love this refreshing wild plant species. The leaves are small and delicate and often hard to identify. Many say that it tastes like cucumber which makes is a perfect addition to all winter salads.

Gorse

This is one of our favourite flowers. It has a mild coconut flavour and works a treat in salads and smoothies. Remember to leave some for the bees as they love these bright yellow flowers.

Be sure to wash all of your wild foraged foods carefully under luke warm water, never uproot the plant, be gentle and don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way.

Now that you know whats out there you can begin your foraging in February adventures.

Enjoy learning about the wild foods around you and join us for a local forage in Ireland if you are nearby. You will find our guided day tours here.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

reflections-on-foraging-a-way-of-life-orchards-near-me

Springtime Foraging Tours 2020

Join us for a taste of the wild as we embark on unique adventures in Dublin and Wicklow for some Springtime foraging fun. We will enjoy learning about the land around us, getting a taste for foraging and making some new friends.

We are pleased to announce three public foraging tours for the coming months.

Friday 21st of Feb – Dublin

In February we will walk the trails, sample the wild food and discover the wild foods around us.

BOOK NOW

Friday 6th of March – Dublin

In March we are planning our wild greens outing to the coast of Dublin where we pick some wild learns and get to know about the plant species living near the capital.

BOOK NOW

Friday 13th of March – Wicklow

In the middle of March we will make our way to the heart of Wicklow where the mountains greet us and the forests house lots of hidden treasures for foragers to enjoy.

BOOK NOW

We recommend that all participants bring a small picnic on the day as we will stop for a break to discuss the wild plants that we discover.

Some Foraging Rules:

  • Never taste anything that you cannot identify correctly
  • Wear gloves when picking
  • Never pick from the root as you will kill the plant
  • Always forage with a friend (preferably one who has knowledge of wild plant species).
  • Do not pick endangered species
  • Do not take more than you need

If you have any questions about your tour please contact one of our foraging team at info@orchardsnearme.com

climate-change-and-the-future-of-foo

Climate Change and the Future of Food

How will we cope with any scarcity of food in the future if we don’t learn about our sources of food today? There is an alarming amount of coverage about the adverse effects of climate change on our eco-system. There are many ways that our food production could change in the future and climate change could have a severe impact in the foods that we already consume today.

It has been reported that our oceans are absorbing much of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions and this is damaging our coral reefs which are key breeding grounds for our marine life. Where will our fish go to survive? And with the pressure on farmers to pivot away from traditional beef farming where will we source or meat from?

Now isn’t the time to panic, its the time to plan and make some food choices that will help us to better understand the foods around us.Of course there are innovators coming up with brilliant solutions and there are farmers schemes like CSA’s that are re-imagining modern farming but we could also take a closer look at the forgotten, often ignored food sources, such as weeds. This week we present foraging as one way to substitute some of our key ingredients. 

future-of-food-climate-change

A series of freak climate events in the 1870s caused a Global drought that resulted in the death of millions of people. In India it was known as the Great Famine. The most significant climate event was El Nino of 1877 where warm waters released heat into the air creating storms. In addition to the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and the Atlantic recorded higher temperatures than normal.

Today, we rarely find famines in the developed world. The majority of famines hit places where organisations cannot enter and trade issues are hurting local people. However, with all of these climate unknowns in front of us we must be prepared to take action in the case of a climate crisis. Eating local and community supported agriculture, known as CSA’s, have become trendy in recent years. 

We hear about many people adopting sustainable agricultural practices and promoting community food initiative. They are not just farming enthusiasts but socially engaged individuals who enjoy spending time outdoors and learning about the land around them. A few examples to look up include Juniper Hill Farms and Moy Hill Farms. These farming communities should be admired for the innovative approach to farming. They also encourage the sharing of knowledge, which we love here at Orchards Near Me. 

fruits-europe-orchards-near-me

However, there are other opportunities if we decide to broaden our knowledge base and look at the traditional farming methods of nearby regions. It could be just as beneficial to learn about the foods coming from nearby resources. For example, in Europe we have many different climates that lead to the production of a wide variety of food species. In a time of crisis wouldn’t it be great to know what foods could your neighbours offer as a substitute if you run out? We believe this is all about immersive farming education and understanding the role of nature in the production of food.

Chefs from around the world, often privileged and guys that are striving for their next Michelin star love to travel to learn about other food cultures. We think the general public can also get it on this interesting past-time. Learning about the ancient art of crushing grapes in France or discovering why bee keeping is a national tradition in Slovenia or why the warm summer days of Bulgaria led to the popular cold soup of Tarator are ways to preserve traditions and carry them into the future.

traditional-food-europe

Food is closely linked with the weather and geography of a region or country. Traditional dishes often reflect the mood associated with the climate. The proximity to the wild atlantic coast makes Portugal heaven for fish lovers and the cultivation of fruits and olives makes Greece a mecka for salad eaters. 

If we begin to understand the landscapes around us and how they are affected by the climate we can better educate ourselves in food production and regain knowledge of how our ancestors used wild plants and integrated them into their dishes. Although large corporations have successfully harvested key ingredients for human consumption and distributed major crops around the world, it is also worth knowing about the lesser known and lesser used crops that can act as substitutes if the time comes when we need them too. This is one of the reasons why we encourage foraging and learning about the wild plants around you. 

There is enough food to feed the masses as long as we teach ourselves about the food sources available to us and re-train our palettes so that we can adapt dishes to include some wild flavours. 

Feel Free to listen to the Go to Grow podcast version of this article on our YouTube Channel

For more food rants and foraging adventures please get in touch with us.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

forest-walk-playlist

Inspired in Nature: Forest Walk Playlist

What music do you listen to when you are out for a walk in nature? Mostly, we tend to listen to the trees around us or the rivers running or the birds whistling but a good forest walk playlist with the right beats can put a spring in your step.

16-songs-forest-walk-playlist-outdoor-listening

Here are some of our favourite songs to listen to when we are out in the forest:

It was hard to narrow this list down to the above but we finally managed. Do you have your own forest walk playlist? We would love to hear your favourite tunes for outdoor listening. Send them to us below and we will add them to the list.

contact-us-button-orchards-near-me

Select your currency
USD