Danda and the dock leaves

Before I proceed with this story, I would like to remind you all of what happened last summer when I picked a blackberry for Danda. It was the first blackberry of the summer and I picked it for Danda and trekked up the biggest hill in the world to give it to him. You’ll have to check the post for his reaction.

So last week, I went foraging. I now have a book about foraging, called Food For Free by Richard Mabey. It’s fabulous and I’m cautiously working my way into new types of edible plants. It started with nettles…

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…and has now expanded into dock leaves and dandelion leaves too. On the river near Ham House, there is an abundance of greenery for the taking. It’s like a forager’s paradise….

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Nettles on the left, dock leaves toward the middle then dandelion leaves on the right. Dandelions are really good for you, apparently. And the whole plant can be eaten, from flower to root. Things like dandelion leaves and dock leaves were collected constantly and steamed and eaten like spinach but when spinach started to be grown more, we got away from eating these things.

Along I went, on my foraging mission, collecting lots and lots of greenery and thinking what lovely things I would make with it.

That evening, I decided to make a chilli with venison mince and lots of tomatoes and onions and fresh red chilli. As all these things are quite rich flavours, I decided to add the greenery in right at the end, just until it wilted a little, to lighten the whole thing up. So in it went, I stirred everything round, seasoned it and put it in bowls for Danda and I.

We dug in, munching away. I was feeling all at one with nature, eating my recently foraged greens in my dinner. I looked at Danda, knowing he was feeling the foraging love.

His face was a picture of uncertainty.

“It’s quite bitter,” he said, looking at it nervously.

“Put a bit more salt in,” I advised. He did so. He tried it again.

“O, it’s really bitter, Laura…. Do you want mine?”

And so I had two dinners and Danda ate toast. So that went well.

*I have since worked out how to counteract the bitterness. I need to put the greens in earlier, so the bitter taste is dissipated and the other tastes are allowed to come forward.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Will Danda eat pansy? 🙂 I loved that blackberry post

    Reply

  2. Posted by Alex Jones on June 22, 2013 at 19:42

    Dandelion leaves are evidently full of different vitamins and minerals. I foraged for them too late, rather than in the spring, so suffered their bitter taste.

    Reply

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