Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Foraging in Leeds

As I now have much more of a focus for my brief, I am going to brand and promote a business offering foraging walks in Leeds, I decided to look into foraging in Leeds more specifically. 

I found a blog where someone had been on one of Mina's foraging walks. 

The information here was really helpful as it mentioned where the walk was, as so far I have found that this seems to be a secret thing, people don't seem to tell each other where they can find things which I personally find odd.

However, this walk was in Meanwood Park and they found chicken of the woods mushrooms, camomile, watercress, nettles and wild garlic. 

A tip I read that seems really sensible is to never take anything if you cant find more than one, it is important to be sustainable. 

I found another article about foraging in Leeds which was again very helpful as it listed the items found.

Cherry blossom – Who would have guessed that you can eat the delicate pink and white flowers that are so abundant at this time of year? They are sweet-tasting and look exceptionally pretty in a salad.
Chicken of the woods mushroom – This luridly yellow-coloured wild mushroom grows by oozing out of cracks in trees and looks anything but edible: but it is! It has an identical taste, texture and smell to chicken and after blanching it for two minutes you can cook it in exactly the same way: “You can even making chicken nuggets with this mushroom,” says Mina.
Goose grass – Where I grew up, this clingy weed was the perfect missile to throw at your friends in the playground – and for that reason it was deemed ‘sticky willy’. Well, I was surprised to find that it’s a legitimately edible green, just blanch it for a couple of minutes and viola!
Wild garlic – With its subtle flavour of garlic, these versatile leaves can be found all over the place at this time of year: make them into a soup, a pesto sauce, use in a salad or simply steam.
Wood sorrel – These small and delicious clover-like leaves taste sweet like unripe raspberries and are perfect mixed into a salad or used in a sandwich as one of your five a day.

This was again someone talking about a guided walk they went on with Mina. I decided it would be beneficial to e-mail Mina for some direct information as it is clear she is an expert on the subject and is based in Leeds which is where my proposed business will be based. 

This Leeds-list website talks about Mina's walks and gives the top three finds of the walk. 

When browsing the internet I found a lot of forums and Mina again pops up in most of them.  

This is a quote from Mina and she mentions some of the popular findings.

' As far as things we are likely to see go, the two things at the top of my list are wild garlic and chicken of the woods mushrooms. 

I have been running wild food walks for nearly two years now, taught in excess of 250 people, have been featured in the Leeds Guide in the articles "How To Be More Green" and "Food For Free Foraging Walks". I was also on the 4th episode of "The Edible Garden" with Alys fowler on the BBC. These walks are a lovely day out (if I do say so myself) and Spring is an awesome time to go on one due to the sheer abundance of food out there.  I will be covering a variety of wild fungi and edible greens as well as teaching you how to identify fungi in a systematic manner to make it as safe as possible. '

Reading the many comments made me aware that there are a lot of people who are interested in foraging in and around the leeds area.

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