Last weekend I drove to Exmoor for a gathering organised by Robin Harford, the best forager I know. (I’ll take every opportunity I can to learn from him.)
Robin is an intuitive forager. His method is to use all of your senses to get to know a plant: sight, touch, smell, and only when you’re 150% sure, to taste.
To use all your senses like this when you forage you need to centre yourself, to quieten your mind and pay attention to what you experience, to what your body is telling you.
And to listen to your intuition.
Is it the plant you think it is? Is it good to eat? What does it remind you of? What could it go with?
Here’s 6 of the wild plants we gathered for our supper, you can find and eat all of them right now:
1. Ground Ivy: I love its smell. Grows in moist shady areas, it has hairy aromatic leaves, a distinctive taste, and a strong mint-like aroma.
2. Goosegrass: also known as sticky willy, cleavers or clivers, it makes a cleansing liver tonic. Pick the tips for salads or use like spinach. You can even squeeze the juice out with your hands.
3. Three Cornered Leek: we had them in a ferment (with salt). Looks like a grass, has an extraordinary taste.
4. Plantain Buds: pop the flower buds into your mouth, they're firm, nutty and mushroomy, great sautéed.
5. Garlic Mustard: another favourite, it's aromatic and garlicky, found in hedges and by paths. Good in salads.
6. Nettles: the UK’s superfood. Blanch to get rid of stings. Steam or sweat it like spinach, and keep the water to make tea.
To get to a point where you can experience your senses as Robin teaches, it helps to practice.
Which is why we're running Ben Rayner’s Simultaneous Awareness class on June 5th - he’ll show you how to get more in touch with your senses, and how to bring the peace and energy of Nature into your daily life.
Ben's an interesting guy. He was a professional skydiver who discovered nature awareness after a bad accident that left him temporarily unable to walk.
Indigenous healers helped him develop a method that gives you deeper access to your intuition and brings you into the moment.
It'll be an enlightening session.
Simultaneous Awareness, Sunday June 5th. School of the Wild
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.