Will's Wild Food Diary

 Wild food diary

Fresh, organic and free! Of all things bushcrafty, nothing gets me more excited than a foraging adventure.

From time to time, I update this page with a different wild food that is in season- gradually building up an online reference on some of the foraging delights available to us.

In addition, I write a 'Wild in the kitchen' blog for the UK's leading site for professional chefs. 

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Disclaimer: There's loads of good stuff to eat out there and much of it is very easy to identify. Unfortunatly, there are also some plants and fungi that can make you seriously ill or worse. This diary is a brief overview intended to inspire and not a substitute for a good field guide and teacher. I will endeavour to point out any obvious poisionous look alikes but ultimately foraging is the individual's responsibility. Unless you are 100 percent confident you know what something is then leave it alone! Please also be aware that, as with any food, different people can have different reactions so it is good practice to always try just a small amount first.

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Category: Bramble leaves

  1. Brambling on

    Posted on

    At some point in the past you've probably reached out to this plant and plucked a plump dark berry from it. But did you know the tender spring greenery makes for a slightly fruity, super medicinal, spring forage?bramble leaves

    I'm talking about bramble- the rough and ready rogue of the plant world. Popped straight in the mouth the leaves are a bit bitter but a decent handful infused in hot water for 5 minutes, perhaps with a drizzle of local honey, yields a fruity herbal tea that is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants.

    Bramble (Rubus fruticosa) is also a member of the rosaceae family (rose family) which gives it strong astringent qualities. In other words, it dries and tightens- chew a leaf and you'll probably notice the saliva in your mouth starting to dry up. This makes it a handy treatment for conditions such as mouth ulcers, bleeding gums or sore throats- it dries and tightens what is basically an open wound, thereby accelerating the healing process.

    This astringency also makes it useful for many digestive/ intestinal tract issues. Indeed, legend has it that during the American civil war in the 1800's, 'bramble truces' were a fairly common occurence. Dysentry was rife amongst both sides and so the warring factions would lay down their weapons to pick bramble leaves for their sick comrades- before continuing to kill each other. Bizarre species we are indeed.

    bramble leaf teaForaging considerations.

    Bramble is a notorious micro-hybridiser which means there are over 100 species in this country alone. Nevertheless, the basic characteristics tend to be the same, straggling long stems, thorns and a generally greeny red tinge. It's possible, at this time of year, that bramble could be mistaken for wild raspberry or one of the wild roses but these are also forageable and have very similiar medicinal qualities.

    The leaves are in their prime right now as they start to spread to the sun. Drink fresh or gently dry and store them in an airtight container away from direct light. They'll last until next spring and can be enjoyed as a herbal tea or utilised as a medicine should the need arise. As with all foraging, please do so with consideration for the plant, much better to spread out the picking than strip a whole plant bare.