Locavore Herb Foraging Walk June 2012

Just back from a fantastic herb foraging walk with the lovely folk at Locavore Glasgow as part of the Thursday Feed. The walk started at the Community Hub on Skirving Street and took us on a meander around the streets.

Shawlands is full of plant medicines at the moment – look high and low and you’ll find them. The high was Locavore favourite Elderflower – the boughs are full of these sherbert smelling flowers just above our heads – great for hayfever and general sneezes. Elderflower can be combined with some other local delicacies we found – Nettle – currently flowering and still full of punch – Plantain (Broad-leaved or Ribwort) – we decided to avoid the scrappy examples at the kerb surrounded by cigarette butts – and the low-lying Eyebright which needs a bit of crouching to see its coquettish lashes – well worth the effort.

We found plenty of plants for the walking wounded – Plantain of course, Comfrey with its allantoin, speedy healing and Horsetail – rich in silica for connective tissue repair, extremely useful after injuries and operations. The ever-present Cleavers (Sticky Willie to his friends) was abundant. Cleavers is just starting to get past its best as the flowers are appearing, it will still make a tasty snack or tea – to clear infections as a lymphatic alterative.

Another forager favourite was Wood Avens – with the strongly scented roots laced with eugenol, a volatile oil most recognisable from Clove. Wood Avens also gives me the excuse to say “bloody diarrhoea” whilst unsuspecting members of the public walk past – Wood Avens dries and acts on the large intestine.

The strength of plants in easing heavy, painful periods was found in Raspberry Leaf with the light underside to its leaf – to blink in the moonlight, Lady’s Mantle with the alchemists dew-drops and Shepherd’s Purse – delicate, heart-shaped seed pods still holding fast by the Bowling Club.

On the edible end of the spectrum we found Wood Sorrel with its distinctive Granny Smith apple smell, Chickweed with her white star petals split to appear like 10 miniature pieces of confetti and sampled Ground Elder – a non-scary Umbellifer with complexly tasty stems of “celery but not celery”, “refreshing” and “perfume” to name but a few responses – I think eau de cologne. We had a last look at this year’s Wild Garlic – which is dying back but still fully pungent.

After taking all this in, your brave foragers returned to Locavore for some of Roger’s Elderflower cordial, Reuben’s Potato wedges and Heather’s amazing cake. Now, when shall we do this again?

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