Food from the Towpath
Nettles taste really good, and are very healthy - an essential (and tasty) part of any spring diet. Pick the young leaves wearing rubber gloves or a plastic bag over your hand, and give them a good wash to get rid of the fox and dog pee. Boil or steam them for just a minute or so, then use as spinach.
Nettle Pancakes make a thick pancake batter (wholewheat flour, oil, baking powder and oil - no need for eggs), leave to rest. Steam or boil the nettles, then shred, allow to cool. Put the nettles in the batter and make thick pancakes. Delicious with curry or stew.
Comfrey, or knitbone, is related to and often confused with borage. Happily both are edible :-)
Herbalists warn us not to eat too much comfrey all at once, but now and again is fine.
Comfrey Fritters a version of pakoras, and just as yummy. Pick tender young leaves and wash. Make lots of very thick batter from gram (chickpea) flour and water - add salt, bouillon or spices to taste. Dip the leaves into the batter, some people make a swiss roll, others just dunk it in, but do make sure the leaves are well covered. Deep fry until golden brown all over (turn them half way through). You can shallow fry these too.
Wild garlic/ Ramsons. lovely- don't bother looking for cloves, take the young leaves, wash, tear into salads, or onto something just off the heat.
Hawthorn. Young leaves for salad.
Pignuts. You have to dig them up. Make sure that you leave some, of course.
Sloes, the fruit of the blackthorn tree.
Sloe Gin Add to gin, along with sugar, shake every now and then, leave a couple of months to make delicious sloe gin! Either pick the sloes after a frost or prick each one with a needle.