If not for the vagaries of fashion we would still be using alexanders today, but it was replaced in the daily kitchen by celery, much as fat hen was replaced by its cousin spinach.
Locavore spoke to Kerry Bowness about her love of nature, harvesting sustainably, and the treasure hunt that is foraging.
Mushroom season is a fickle mistress. Traditionally things are winding down by November, but fungi are not sticklers for tradition.
The autumn kitchen is a busy one; filled with pans of bubbling fruit, trays of drying fungi, and boxes of curing walnuts.
Usually October and November are the months for wild chestnuts, but regardless of timing they are often tiny malformed things with little actual flesh. Sometimes you do come across a good crop, more often later in the season when the seed has had time to fully develop, although the squirrels also know this.
Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is a startling fungus. Often bright yellow, and rather alien in appearance, it grows mostly on the trunks of oak trees, though sometimes on poplar or yew. It is a parasitic fungus, and eventually causes the rot and death of its host.
The giant puffball is a true beauty. In the meadows and on the hillsides in high hazy summer, they pop up in ones, twos, threes, sometimes in vast numbers. Coming across a ring of these fantastical mushrooms in a field, or spotting them from afar on the other side of a valley, is exciting and a little otherworldly.
Hogweed has become a legendary monster. A gigantic vegetal villain, lying in wait by riverbanks to spring upon unsuspecting couples out for an evening stroll, and dissolve them. Annual headlines in the media, horror stories, even a song by Genesis,…
Spring, undoubtedly, is my favourite time of year. After a long, cold, wet winter of hunkering down by the fire, these first days of warm feel like emerging from a cave. Early flowers are popping open, an embrace for the…
Spring is stubbornly refusing to show her hand, playing poker-face rain games and hiding the sun up her sleeve. It has rained for weeks, with one false dawn day when the sun shone warm and I was able to get…