Spring is about to end … and I still have not had the opportunity to do much foraging. The weather this spring has been anything but nice. It has rained and rained and rained … for most of April, May and now June … at least where we are in Lausanne. And on the few occasions when the weather was nice and sunny and we did not go anywhere, I tried to get as much done on the balcony rather than go traipsing into the woods to forage.
Ohhh … how I miss going on my foraging jaunts. But when summer is here and should there be hardly anything edible growing on the balcony, I would then be very upset with myself should I have let foraging take priority this spring!
But despite my best effort, the balcony garden is still far from ready and yet next week, we shall be welcoming summer already … agghh!!! What a bummer of a spring season this has been.
So the only time that I got to squeeze some foraging moment is either when I was out running some errands or when the hubby and I were out on an excursion such as when we went to see the wild daffodils. Not the ideal … but better that than to have missed out on spring foraging altogether lah!
These wild daffodils might be the main reason for our visit in early April to the woods at Eclépens, but since we missed catching them in their full blooming glory, I was happy to find another substitute …
… these wild dandelions (Taraxacum officinale). They were just starting and they will continue to bloom well into summer and even beyond.
This meadow just next to the woods at Eclépens was full of dandelions. And since I have decided that I am going to try to add more wild edibles into our diet this year, I told the hubby that we are going to pick some dandelions leaves and blooms to bring home to try.
Fortunately, the hubby was game to try these wild weeds.
In addition, while searching for the elusive daffodils in the woods, I also took the opportunity to pick a few other greens which I am familiar with … but which I have never had the courage to try.
I added some young wild garlic mustard leaves (Alliaria petiolata or also known as Jack by the hedge) into my little bag …
… as well some young hawthorn leaves (Crataegus monogyna). They are supposed to taste much nicer when young, and in the case of the dandelion leaves, less bitter.
Just like the dandelions and also the garlic mustard, the hawthorn blooms are also edible. But as it was still early spring when we were there, the flower buds have not yet bloomed.
Later in autumn, one can also pick the hawthorn berries or haws to make juices or jellies.
Once home and after having verified in the books that I have (but which I did not have with me during the excursion) and from pictures on the internet, these were indeed chickweeds (Stellaria media). What a pity not to have added them into my bag … but now that I know how they look like in the wild, the next time I see them growing in unpolluted areas like in these woods … they will definitely go into our wild diet as well! 🙂
And what did I do with my wild bounty?
Since my culinary skills are very limited … do not expect me to whip up anything fancy with them lah!
The dandelion flowers were cleaned and later dipped in batter and fried like banana fritters (my favourite snack!). As this was the first time that we were trying dandelion flowers, I chose not to fry all the flowers that we had picked so as to avoid any potential gastroenteritis problem due to our unfamiliarity with the wild food.
As for the young greens, they were all chopped up and then added into fried rice …
… to make my simplified version of nasi ulam! hehehe … 😀 I had made this fried rice when I was in Singapore using leafy greens that I had foraged from the wild at my home in Singapore (yup, I foraged back in Singapore, too!) and I liked it very much. So this would be the Swiss equivalent of that.
As for the verdict? Both the hubby and I enjoyed our simple wild food. The hubby liked it enough that he asked that we go and pick more of them to eat! 🙂
It was too bad that I did not have a lot of time this spring to go out and forage. It was therefore fortunate that the copse at the parents’ home provided an excellent set up for me to do some foraging during the few occasions that we visited them.
In fact … the parent’s place is the purrrrfect place for me to forage for my wild garlic. Want to see the photos? In another post lah! hehehe … 😀