A foraging guide for spring
Foraging is a wonderful experience all year round – if you know how to do it. That’s why we’re sharing a foraging guide for the spring, with tips from our Cookery School.
A common misconception is that when the days get longer and the weather brightens, growing season resumes in full force. However, in reality, we often only see the first green shoots by early March, therefore looking to nature and things we can gather by foraging locally may prove much more bountiful as there are plenty of plants ready to be picked.
Here, our Cotswolds farm’s Cookery School shares their favourite picks from nature’s larder in spring.
We often smell wild garlic before we see it and Britain’s grassy woodlands are rich with this aromatic, flavourful variety. If you go out foraging, try making your own wild garlic butter, a fridge staple for the coming months. Or, try adding chopped wild garlic leaves to mayonnaise and sour cream, or as part of a fresh spring salad.
An ingredient that is often overlooked, hawthorn is the first wild plant to show green shoots in the spring. Like nettles, it can be found anywhere when foraging and is identifiable by its raggedy-lobed leaves which make a tasty addition to spring salads, cold potato salad and diced beetroot, or with cheese in sandwiches.
Spring varieties to look out for are morels and St Georges, typically found on open pastures, roadside verges and the edges of woodlands from April onwards. Be careful picking yours as there is no room for error – we advise referring to a mushroom handbook or foraging with an experienced picker. Try our foraged mushroom pasta, a seasonal dish that’s a delicious reward for foraging.
A versatile ingredient that is packed with antioxidants, protein and essential vitamins A and C, nettles are an ideal plant to seek out when foraging as they are plentiful in hedgerows across Britain. Pick yours early on in spring as the leaves are at their most tender stage, making them great to cook with. We recommend making a warming foraged nettle soup or nettle and ricotta gnocchi.
Head to our recipes section for seasonal inspiration, including several foraging-inspired dishes.