First forage

Anglers Country Park, just outside Wakefield, used to be the site of an open-cast mine but has now become a lake with bird hides and paths for walkers and cyclists. As my daughter recently learned to ride a bike, I thought this would make an ideal place to hire a couple and have a practice together. 

lake at Anglers Country Park

I don’t find the park particularly inspiring. We went there about five years ago and I hadn’t been inspired at that time – but once we took ourselves outside the gates we found the entrance to a natural wood. 

wood near Anglers Country Park

We didn’t have time to explore but along the road there were nettles a plenty. Considering the amount of nettles in my garden would not be enough to make anything substantial, after some lunch we had to go back and try this foraging business.

nettles being turned into cordial

Picking nettles with a plastic bag in lieu of a glove to protect my hand was a little laborious and I felt strange helping myself to what is generally considered an annoying weed. However, one group of passers-by seemed quite intrigued and then somewhat knowledgeable themselves. But no, it was cordial not wine I would be making. Roll on next week when it should be ready!


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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6 Responses to First forage

  1. I never knew you could make nettle cordial. I’ve made soup lots of times. Look forward to seeing the finished result.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Caroline. I have loads of nettles left, so perhaps I could make soup with them. Do you have a recipe I could use?

      • The recipe I use is from Roger Phillips’ Wild Food book. 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 2 potatoes, 2 handfuls of nettles, olive oil, salt and pepper, one chicken stock cube, some single cream. Chop and fry the onion, garlic and potatoes. Add nettle leaves (but not stems). Add stock with 1 litre of water. Boil for 15 mins and then liquidize, season and add a swirl of cream.

  2. Oh nettle cordial, that sounds interesting. I’m yet to pick mine, but I get rather nervous getting close to the plant, let alone picking leaves 😀

    • Helen says:

      The plastic bag on my hands worked well – but I know what you mean. The nettle cordial is yet to be served but I tried the nettle soup as described by Caroline and it was quite palatable 🙂

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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