Hedgerow Cookbook

A little book of magical and mouth-watering wild plants, and rambling recipes beautifully prepared and seasonally presented by travelling artist and writer Glennie Kindred.

A seasonal guide for travellers and gardeners with beautiful illustrations, and includes versatile recipes for all seasons. Packed with simple and exciting wild food to be gathered from the hedgerows and encouraged into our gardens.

With sections on spring shoots, summer herbs, autumn fruits, mushrooms and winter roots. These include tansy pancakes, flower fritters, herb vinegars, rose-petal jelly, nettle soup, rosehip and blackberry syrups, pickled damsons, root coffee, elderberry chutney and sloe gin, Hawthorn brandy and much much more.

ISBN 1-904263-03-8
PUBLISHED BY WOODEN BOOKS - GLASTONBURY UK
First Published 1999
Revised 2005

Price £6.00 + £1.30 postage - UK ONLY.

 

 

 

 

Sample Pages

 

 

Extracts

 
 

Introduction

Hedgerow cookery is an experience, an experiment, and a delight for all those interested in our native plants, country-lore, history, herbal medicines, and above all, food. I use 'hedgerow' as a loose term, to include plants found in meadows and woodlands, and garden escapes which may be found wherever humans have inhabited in the past or present.

If you have a garden, let a bit of the wilderness in, and put aside areas where edible wild plants can grow. Many of these will thrive in shady places and in poor soils, along the hedgerows of your garden, and can be harvested as and when needed. No garden is without weeds, but if you eat them as well, then 'weeding' becomes 'harvesting'. Horticulture has encouraged us to undervalue our native wild flowers, but by introducing native edible plants into your garden, you can always find something to add to salads, soups and stir-fries. Importantly, those freshly picked leaves, shoots and flowers will be bursting with fresh vitamins and minerals, long gone from vegetables which have sat for days in shops. I have also included some garden plants which are worth growing for their food value.

Knowing which plants are edible, where to find them and when to find them, brings a deeper connection to our natural world, and brings you full circle to the knowledge of our ancestors.

Derbyshire 2002

 
 
 

Spring Plants

Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria). Also known as Bishopsweed, Gout Weed and Herb Gerard. Cook as spinach.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Also May Tree or Bread and Cheese Tree. Add young shoots to salads for a nice nutty flavour.

Hop (Humulus lupulus). Steam the young leaf shoots.

Ladys mantle (Alchemilla filicaulis). Found on grassland and open woods. Use the young fresh leaves in salad.

Ladys Smock (Cardamine pratensis). Also known as Cuckoo Flower or Bittercress. Rich in vitamins and minerals. An old cultivated salad herb with a flavour similar to Watercress. Found beside streams, in damp meadows and in woodlands. Pale lilac flowers. An attractive garden plant which will self-seed once established.

Mallow (Malva sylvestris). Widespread on hedgebanks and waysides. Purple flowers July to September. The leaves are used in making a popular middle eastern soup called mouloukhia.

Nettle (Stinging) (Urtica dioica). Use the young spring tops in nettle soup, nettle beer, and nettle pudding. A powerful tonic.

Orache (Atriplex patula). 'Iron root'. Delicious leaves.

Ramsoms or Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum). With its white flowers it grows in woods and damp shady places. There is a strong smell of garlic wherever it grows. The long juicy leaves can be used in large quantities raw in salads and sandwiches, or cooked.

Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum). Best from midsum-mer until September. Common along the coast. Pick the whole plant. Wash in running water before boiling. Serve with butter.

 
 
 

Autumn Fruit Recipies

Basic Stewed Fruit or Fruit Puree Recipe: Wash the fruit and simmer gently in a little water, sugar or honey to taste. Keep the lid on the pan to keep the flavours in. A bunch of sweet cicely will reduce the amount of sugar needed. To make a fruit puree, sieve to remove seeds and skins. Beat to a smooth paste. Alternatively, fruit can be stewed in a covered pan with a little butter.

Fruit Fool: Mix cold sweet puree and whipped double cream (or cream and yoghurt). Serve chilled with a flower or fruit garnish.

Fruit Flan: Line a pie dish with sweet pastry (add 2 oz sugar to basic recipe on page 12). Bake for 15 mins in a medium oven. Chop fruit into thin slices and lay in the crust. Make a honey and water syrup, thickened with arrowroot, agar agar or fruit puree. Bring to the boil and pour over the fruit. Serve with cream.

Crab Apple Jelly: Chop 2 lbs of crab apples. Just cover with cold water, adding ginger slices and half a lemon to taste. Simmer until the fruit is pulped. Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or sieve lined with muslin to drip overnight (do not squeeze or your jelly will be cloudy). Measure and add 1 lb of sugar for each pint of juice. Stir over a low heat and then rapid boil until the mixture shows signs of setting when dribbled onto a cold plate. Pour into sterilised jam jars. Leave to set. Cover with greaseproof paper rounds and seal.

Blackberry and Apple Jelly: Made by the same method, using equal amounts of cooking apples and blackberries.

Hedgerow Jelly: Combine an assortment of hedgerow fruits with half the amount of crab or cooking apples to help it set.

Rowanberry Jelly: Use a mixture of 2 parts rowan berries to 1 part crab or cooking apples. Make in the usual way (see page 36).

Fruit Cheese: Wash and rough cut crab apples and other fruit (medlars, quinces, elderberries or damsons). Add water to a third of the way up the fruit. Boil until soft. Rub through a sieve and weigh the pulp. Return to a clean pan with an equal weight of sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring in the sugar, then hard boil for at least an hour. Setting point is reached when the mixture forms soft balls when dropped into cold water. Spread into an oiled baking tin and leave to set. Cut into chunks and wrap in waxed paper. Store in a cool place. Serve with cheese or diced and dusted with icing sugar.

Elderberry and Apple Jam: Quick and easy and a firm favourite. Make a pulp by boiling 2 lbs of rough chopped apples in some water, and pass through a sieve to remove seeds, core and skin. Do the same with 2 lbs of elderberries (just a little water needed). Combine the two pulps, adding 4 lbs of sugar, and boil for about ten minutes until it thickens. Makes seven jars of jam.

Sloe Gin: Prick one pint of sloes and put them into a wide-necked jar. Sprinkle in 2 oz of sugar and top up with gin or vodka. Cork and shake daily for three months. Strain off the fruit and rebottle. Leave for a year if you can resist the temptation! Trim the gin-soaked sloes from the stones and add to melted chocolate or fruit cake. Make other fruit liqueurs in the same way with damsons, bullace, crab apples or juniper berries.

Haw brandy: A traditional liqueur made by the same method as sloe gin with hawthorn berries and brandy.

Blackberry Cordial: Pour one pint of wine vinegar over 2 lbs blackberries. Cover with a tea towel and let it stand for a week, stirring often. Strain and bring to a strong boil, adding 1 lb of sugar and lb of honey. When cool bottle and keep in the dark.

Rosehip Syrup: Add 2 lbs of rough chopped rosehips to 4 pints of boiling water. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through muslin. Keep the liquid and return the pulp to the pan with another 4 pints of boiling water. Repeat. Combine the liquids in a clean pan and boil, reducing by half. Remove from heat and dissolve 2 lb sugar. Return to heat and hard boil for 5 mins. Pour into warmed sterilised bottles.

Blackberry Syrup: Stew 3 lbs with a quarter pint of water. Strain. For every pint of juice add 6 oz of sugar. Boil for 15 minutes and bottle. You can also combine blackberries and elderberries.

Elderberry Chutney: Stalk and wash 2 lbs of elderberries. Put them in a pan and bruise them with a wooden spoon. Add a large chopped onion, 1 pint of vinegar and 2 tablespoon of sugar. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, ground ginger and mustard seeds, and half a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and mixed spice. Bring to the boil and simmer until it becomes thick. Put into warmed jars when cool.

Pickled Damsons: Tie in a muslin bag: 1 small cinnamon stick, 1 blade of mace, oz allspice, a small ginger root, chopped rind of half a lemon. Gently boil with half a pint of white vinegar, 1 lb demerara sugar, and 2 lbs firm slightly underripe damsons. When the fruit is just tender carefully pile into jars. Fierce boil the liquid until it thickens and pour over the fruit. Close tightly.

 

Reviews

"This pretty little book would fit any anorak pocket whose wearer scrabbled about in woods and fields hunting wild food. It's a bible for ramblers who might otherwise wonder what to do with hairy bittercress, yarrow or shepherd's purse as they wander the meadows of England. The woodcuts give some help in identification, although the apprehensive (who might fear a dish of stewed hemlock instead of alexanders) may feel the need for a more voluminous back-up in their camper-van nearby. But the real achievement is to pack in such an infinity of recipes. Some are so telescoped as to make the tyro blink, but there are plenty of grand ideas, such as like chocolate hazelnut spread, rose petal jelly, Moroccan mint tea and wild garlic relish. Don't forget that most of these plants have a season: miss it and they'll be horrid; catch it and they are fine. Time to put the boots on." - The Guardian

"In hedges, woods and, meadows and even weeds in the garden good food is growing. This book has mouthwatering recipes, from each of the seasons. Such delicious delights as Spring green tortillas, Summer risotto of herbs and flowers, Autumn fruit cheese and Winter hot pot. Hedgerow cookery is not a survival test, it is about having the courage to experiment with the food you eat. Maybe just use some of the plants in addition to your usual food. A wonderful little book." - The Green Shop

"Immensely popular in its original hardback, this new paperback edition is one of a new series of ancient traditions titles printed on recycled papers with no colours or glosses. The covers are matt and leathery, and already look old. The print is of the highest quality. Most simple herbs are covered. Herbs which can have side effects are omitted. Includes a repertory at the end for easy access and useability." - AA

"A great guide with alternative herb names: Excellent, guide and very user friendly reference to many healing herbs, and the ailments that they soothe. The author first details how & when to harvest the herbs, and guides you through the drying, dosage and preparation. (for internal and external use ) There are short chapters on 21 healing herbs, (with a few appropriate cautions ) and a further appendix style listing of 5 more useful herbs, as well as a listing of useful trees. A copious amount of information in a diminutive little guide that you can surely bring with you to the store, or field to collect your herbs. A very handy Repertory closes the book with an index of ailments and abbreviations of the herbs that heal and soothe each ailment, EXCELLENT !!! One of the added features that I loved about this volume is the alternative names of some of the herbs: Scaldhead, Sticky Willy, Love-man, Piss-in-the-bed, Blow Ball, Cuckoo Beads, Pixie Bears, Chucky Cheese, Hagthorn, Nose Bleed and Old Man's Pepper !! Just a priceless, useful guide that was a great, quick read and as always with the Wooden series, wonderfully illustrated, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!" - Jorma

"What an absolutely fascinating insight to just what is available in the hedgerows of Britain, instead of queuing up at the long checkouts, sucking in smokey, smelly bodies, just take this book with you into the countryside, have a good healthy walk and aspire to pick JUST a FEW of any item in the book and try them out for yourselves, you will enjoy the walk, it's a very satisfying benefit, and such good fun to identify the varied plant life - a bonus is that you do really begin to understand the country side as well. Just go for it!" - Robo

"Just a small little book with seasonal recipes for jams, jellies, soups and suchlike from the hedgerow. These were intriguing in themselves, but the real wonder of this book are its wonderful illustrations of nuts, plants and fungi in the style of woodcuts." - Myrtle

"Tiny Little Gem: This is a lovely tiny little book which I bought multiple copies off to add to all my closest friends Christmas presents. It reminds you of the wonderful bounty under our feet and beside us on our walks." - Lola

"Sweet And Interesting: I love this little book. It's full of little insights, recipes and titbits to whet the hedgerow-foraging appetite. I'd recommend as a starter book, there's plenty in there, but if you catch the hedgerow 'bug', look out for more in-depth books." - Henna

"Simple, well-known and collectible ingredients, easy to follow recipes, enticing pictures and delicious results make this an exceptional cook book. I was also very impressed with the style and obvious charm of the authoresses." - Cheasonj