A few of us have decided to start a monthly foraging trip and today was our first jaunt out. None of us have a great deal of knowledge, but armed with a pocket ‘Food For Free‘ book and some second hand advice we cycled (yep, I’m really getting into that now but my arse is *really* sore!) down to… the seafront. A strange place for a foraging trip you may think, but near to Brighton Marina we found a huge amount of sea kale, sea beet, samphire and rosehips, which I have now discovered were rosa rugosa.
The rosehips didn’t really look like the ones in the pictures yet. They were still a lighter orangey colour, so we decided to leave them and come back again later in the year when the book says they will be at their best, but we each gathered bagfulls of the other stuff. The book says sea kale is very rare but there was so much of it, I don’t think we even took a fraction of a percentage. According to a web resource it is one of the few vegetables native to Britain. The book also says to only eat the stalks, not the leaves, which is a shame because the leaves are these huge great cabbagy things and are really abundant. It was only later that I reaised the flowers I collected all had tiny black insects living in them which marched indignantly around the polythene bag I had unwittingly rehomed them in. Alas, I will have to put the sea kale out with my compost tomorrow as I don’t really want to drown a whole village of insects just so that I can eat their homes. My rather more experienced friend now tells me the leaves are in fact fine to eat and delicious in a stir fry – next time!
So, my meal tonight was one of the strangest I have ever had. It consisted of…
A mixture of three different kinds of pasta (ends of bags), served with tomato and basil soup (free from FareShare) with chickpeas and sea beet flowers and leaves cooked in it, samphire (also known as sea asparagus) blanched and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and locally grown lettuce with tahini dressing.
All rather nice other than the samphire, which has a ‘distinctive’ taste. It’s strangely chemically and not all that great really. We are going to try pickling it to see if that helps.