With foraging schools popping up like mushrooms and wild ingredients creeping into the menus of some of the country’s leading restaurants, the foraged-food trend is bringing out the hunter-gatherer in all of us.
But you don’t have to venture into the wilds to join the revolution. Some of nature’s richest rewards can be foraged in your own back garden – even if that happens to be an urban terrace.
From the common weeds growing up between the cracks in your path to that much-maligned stinging nettle patch, culinary spoils can be found in the unlikeliest guises and locations.
“Foraging can be done anywhere, from parks and forests to towns and cities – and even your own back yard,” says Agatha Chapman-Poole, avid forager and author of wild food blog Grow And Graze.
“Dandelion heads make the best liver-cleansing tea while the petals and buds of daisies are great for adding colour and flavour to salads. Embrace any nettle outbreaks, too, as they’re packed with nutrients and delicious in soups and in a pesto with hot pasta,” she adds.
If wrangling with weeds doesn’t fit with your romantic notion of garden foraging, there are plenty of beautiful wild plants and flowers out there that look every bit as good as they taste – and can be grown easily at home.
“Try growing your own violets or primroses – both are edible and give great colour to salads and cocktails,” suggests Chapman-Poole. “Or elderflowers and gooseberries are easy to grow and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen.”
To help get your edible garden off the ground, we’ve compiled a list of some of the prettiest, tastiest and easiest-to-grow plants.
Click through the gallery below for inspiration on which plants to grow, how to grow them – and how to reap their rich rewards in the kitchen.