Where to Find Commonly Foraged Plants? Around the UK and Cornwall you will stumble across many plants that can be foraged. Whether that’s in the garden, woodlands, coast paths or the city streets. Plants pop up everywhere and whilst there are some that need to be avoided, there are a real selection that can add a different kind of flavour to your meals.
One of our favourites, the ever so potent Wild Garlic. The fresh smell of garlic alone is enough for you to be able to identify this plant. Found in woodlands, Wild Garlic has long and pointed leaves which flower white clusters. The leaves and flowers are edible and are delicious when added to soups, sauces, and pesto. We like to use it for our Wild Garlic Salt, one of our best-selling products.
Wild Garlic is commonly found in woodlands and when its in season it tends to carpet the woodland floors. You can’t miss it, however, if you can’t see it, you will most probably smell it. Wild Garlic is very potent. Especially when walked through or interfered with.
Used in a selection of Wild Cornwall products, Hawthorn Berries are found on a tangled mass of thorny branches. Often found in hedgerows, this tree is thick, thorny and acts as a great security barrier for small birds. Hawthorn is most likely to be found within farmland hedgerows, places with nutrient rich soil and wooded areas. It’s native to Britain. Wild Cornwall use Hawthorn Berries in a selection of products: Hawthorn Malt Vinegar, Hedgerow Ketchup, Forager’s Chutney and Hedgerow Burger Relish.
Common gorse can be found in all kinds of habitats, from coast paths, to gardens, to farmland and woodland. Typically, it flowers from January to June. Gorse can grow to be a large shrub; its leaves are needle-like and small yellow flowers bloom during the spring and summer. Gorse has a lovely coconut fragrance which is noticeable when walked past.
We use gorse in our Countryside Herb Mix.
Otherwise known as Horse Parsley, Alexanders aren’t picky as to where they grow. If you’re on the coast, you’ll see them growing in abundance. That’s their favourite place, although they grow in hedgerows, wastelands and woodlands.
We always suggest being careful when out foraging for Alexanders. Especially if you’re new to foraging. There are a few similar plants which aren’t good for you. Hemlock, a plant very similar to Alexanders is known to be incredibly poisonous. Do your research before heading out or take someone along who is knowledgeable and can show you the ropes.
Britain’s Spice. Arsesmart aka Water Pepper is a great alternative for chillies, it can be found anywhere wet. A great place to start is riverbanks, estuaries, stream edges, damp ditches and even fields which are prone to flooding. There are quite a few plants that look similar to Arsesmart, however it only takes one bite to know if you’ve got the right plant. The leaves are hot and peppery. Nonetheless, when you’re on the lookout for this little spice, look for stems which are 1-2 feet high with lance shaped leaves with fine hairs along the edge. Tiny pink flowers stand upright off the stems from July to September.
When cooking and using it with food you can use the shoots, leaves and tips. You can use them fresh or dried, just as you would with other spices. We use Arsesmart in our Nomad’s BBQ Rub, Rambler’s Sweet Chilli Sauce and Rose and Calendula Sweet Chilli Sauce.
This tender, herbaceous plant is commonly found in gardens, and in woodland spaces where the soil is recently disturbed. Funnily enough, this plant isn’t just found in the countryside. Chickweed can find its way into every nook and cranny, including in the urban/city environments.
Chickweed is recognisable from its pointed-oval leaves and small white petaled flowers. To ensure it is Chickweed, there is a single line of thin hairs running down each stem and leaf stem.
All parts of the chickweed plant are edible, making it an incredibly popular plant to eat across the world. When cooked we think Chickweed tastes like spinach, and like spinach it has great health benefits. It’s loaded with mineral, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Mouse-ear Chickweed
- Scarlet Pimpernel
Rock Samphire, also known as sea fennel can be found on the cliffs in Cornwall. You can identify this plant by its thick, green and succulent leaves. Its flowers are umbrella like and are coloured from white to green. Some people think it has an aniseed scent. There are laws about root pulling of samphire, you can pick the leaves however you are not able to de-root the plant. So go easy!
Rock Samphire is slightly different to the popular Marsh Samphire, especially when it comes to the taste. Rock Samphire has a crisp texture and is a great accompaniment to fish, it does however have a strong aromatic flavour of parsley. It can also be spicy so use sparingly. Marsh Samphire on the other hand is just incredibly salty. We’d recommend avoiding cooking salty things with Marsh Samphire as it will be a salt overload.