Forage for wild delights this winter

·2-min read

As the winter weather begins to creep in across the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are thinking about cosy days spent indoors.

But if you are up for a walk in the fresh air, then it can be a magical time to go foraging for food and learn all about what nature has in store for the season.

Belinda Blake, a nutritional therapist and clinic tutor for the Institute of Optimum Nutrition (ion.ac.uk), shares her top tips on what to look out for - just be sure to check the Foraging Code for full details on safe foraging and to ensure you comply with the law first.

Dandelion and burdock

Winter is a good time to harvest dandelion roots, which can be dried and roasted to make caffeine-free coffee.

"Also available at this time year are burdock roots which are beautiful when fermented," she said. "It is important to note, however, that you must ask the landowner's permission before digging up any plant in the wild (even a weed like the dandelion), but most gardens will provide a few dandelions to experiment with."

Winter berries

Although the hedgerows maybe lacking lush leaves, there are still some delicious berries to be had.

"Among my favourites are hawthorn berries, sloes, and rose hips which can be made into syrups, cordials, teas, jellies, or fruit leathers to nourish us through the winter months," explained Belinda. "These colourful berries contain vitamins and polyphenols which offer valuable immune support at a time when we need it most."

Nettles

Even in the depths of winter, you can still find some fresh greens.

'Where stinging nettles have been cut down, you will see new growth appearing throughout the year. The spring is the best time to harvest the leaves, but even in winter this new growth can make an excellent addition to winter soups and baking," the expert continued. "Finally, chickweed, garlic mustard, and the tender new tips of cleavers can be simply added raw to salads for a bit of vitality and crunch."

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