Wild Food

Table of contents 

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.

Tips for Sloe Gin

When Picking from a tree take the boat hook with you. The best fruit is usually near the top and you can hook branches down towards you (carefully - you don't want to break the tree.) Put antiseptic on any Blackthorn (Sloe) scratches - they'll usually go septic otherwise. Wear a thick coat or a leather if you have one to protect yourself. When making the gin go easy on the sugar (one or two tablespoons should be enough to start with.) You can always add more later but you can't take it out. I've taken to making my sloe gin quite dry - its surprisingly good like that. Also makes good sangria in the summer. Rather than pricking each sloe you can put them on a board and run a sharp knife over several at once. You might get a bit more sediment - but you'll probably need to filter the gin anyway. The berries will swell a bit while they are soaking in the gin - make sure you use a bottle with a wide enough neck to get them out again. If anyone has found a use for gin soaked sloes let me know. They cerlainly look like they should be useful for something - but I feel that a gin and sloe crumble might be an aquired taste!

Food from the hedgerow

Great website. We have just foraged lots of Damsons from overhanging trees along the towpath in Nottingham. This time of year (July) they are in abundance! Have a look at my blog The Kite Experiment for photos.