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: Watercress

  1. Watercress no less

    Posted on


    watercress cornwall 1I will remember the floods of winter 2012 for a sad, if self-centred, reason. They washed my favourite Dorset watercress bed clean away.

    Since then, there have been fleeting moments of watercress wonder such as the babbling Cornish brook above. But it is only recently that I have found the time to go looking for a regular supply nearer to home.

    This one is on the river Avon as it makes it's final dash to the ocean but I’m saying no more- if you put in a bit of time and effort this is not an uncommon plant to find growing in our streams and rivers- just prepare for a bit of wadingwatercress will

    Wild watercress has a long season from spring to early winter and is identical to commercially produced plants so I will not go into a lengthy description except to say it will often grow taller and a bit more unruly having no-one to pamper it like it's civilised cousin. 

    If all this sounds too good to be true there is one unfortunate drawback- although easily surmountable. It goes by the name of Fasciola Hepatica. A catchy thing to to roll off the toungue if you want to impress people with your latin. Unfortunatly however, its basic translation is liver fluke. This organism has a complex life cycle, one part of which involves waiting around on plants (usually in muddy water) for an unsuspecting animal (humans included) to consume it, where upon it sets up home in the liver causing all sorts of gratuitous damage.

    Revolting I know but in reality all this means is that you can’t eat it raw. I always source my watercress from plants that are growing clear of the water in fast flowing streams, typically chalk or gravel bottomed, and as such am 99.9 percent sure it poses no threat- however, this is not a risk I take lightly so I always lightly cook it as a precaution. watercress close up

    Fortunately, watercress makes one of the tastiest soups out there so this is no great hardship and I feel a thick fresh organic watercress soup must be at least as nutritious as some limp, plastic wrapped, chemically laced offering from the supermarket.