Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you some plants that I have learned more about since training to become a forest school leader and how I now have the confidence to forage, prepare and eat them with my family. My hope is that my experience will give you the confidence to have a go at foraging with your family too.
We are starting with an easy flower to identify, the Dandelion. Many gardeners view the Dandelion as a common weed but the Dandelion is full of goodness and every part of the plant can be eaten cooked or raw.
The Dandelion provides an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K, iron, calcium and magnesium and is used within many medicines.
I am sure you have heard of the drink 'Dandelion and Burdock' which is made of plants.
At forest school this term we would always make a pancake mix and add the dandelion petals to the mix before cooking them on the fire.
Sadly we can't be together at forest school this term so why don't you have a go at making some Dandelion pancakes at home. You can add any part of the Dandelion to your mix but I find the stem to be quite bitter so I prefer to add just the petals from the flower head.
I thought I would try out a new recipe with the ingredients I have at home. Have a go and let me know what you think.
125g butter (or vegan equivelant)
55g caster sugar (or any sugar in cupboard!)
180g plain flour
A large handful of Dandelion flower heads.
1. Heat oven to 190C/ gas mark 5
2. Give the Dandelions a shake and rinse under cold water before gently pulling all the petals off the flower heads and place in a bowl.
3. Beat the butter and sugar together and then stir in the flour and Dandelion petals.
4. Flour your worktop and rolling pin and roll out the dough to 1cm thick.
5. Using cookie cutters cut into shapes or alternatively cut into fingers.
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until a pale golden brown.
7. Cool on rack before you enjoy!
Don't be scared of the petals they have a very delicate flavour so add as little or as much as you like. The children enjoy the picking part so we tend to use quite a lot!