Monday, March 4

Foraging begins!

...this is hairy bitter cress!!!

Well this grows all by itself...I never have to encourage it and then come the early days of spring....there it is in amongst the stoney paths that trap the winter rains.
....oh that sounded quite poetic I think...
..."The stoney paths that trap the winter rains"....

Well anyway...this hairy bitter cress is actually quite delicious when washed and the root removed and popped into tomato sandwiches or added to a spring green salad!
Here's a little blurb about it from a foraging post that I came across....

Hairy bittercress is known by other common names like pepperweed, snapweed, and land cress. It is in the mustard family, and has the same peppery, bitter flavor as other mustards. It is best to gather the greens very early in the spring, or in the late fall when the leaves are tender. The many leaf stalks grow from a basal rosette, can reach about 4" long, and are sparsely hairy. Each leaf stalk has 5-9 paired leaflets, and the largest unpaired leaflet is at the tip of the stalk. From the center of the basal rosette, flower stalks will grow up to 10" tall, with several more leaf stalks growing from the main stem. The flowers are very small, white, and have 4 petals, and will bloom while the seed capsules are forming. The seed capsules are small, about 1/2"-1" long, and olive green. When the seed capsules are mature, they can explode and spread the tiny seeds far from the parent plant. While the flowers and flower stalks are edible, they may seem a bit tough compared to the more tender leaf stalks and leaflets.

Now you see all know it probably, and perhaps you all got there before me and had been putting it into your salads...for ever! 

I snip the roots off....plunge it in to cold water a few times and often just leave it in the water until I use it.
We had it in sandwiches today alongside some gorfeous carrot and lentil soup!

(Like the fish swimming around in that bowl by the potter!)

The next herb to be foraged  will be the juicy tops of the early nettle crop that I maintain at the side of the orchard....oh alright ...grows whether I like it or not...
...but boy does it make a good nettle broth..
They say that it's good for the liver.
That's good enough for me!


  1. The tender Nettle tops I eat (I too keep a small patch), but I've never come across the Cress. It doesn't look like anything that grows here. Pity!

  2. Don't know a thing about hairy bitter cress but I do know hairy crazy poet is ready for spring. I am going to look and see if there are any crocus' sprouting yet!

  3. We eat lots of mustard and cress in egg and tomato sandwiches Gerry - but have never seen this stuff growing.#Do you have a recipe for that nettle broth? I have always wanted to try it and as you can imagine we have plenty of nettles here on the farm, so I would like to give it a go.


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