January 2014, not so bleak

It’s a mild wet January night and I’ve been out to see what’s happening in the woods and byways.

To my delighted surprise the hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum repandum) are still putting out fresh growth, we had many a feed of them throughout Nov and Dec and they have continued, a very tasty little morsel served alone or with steak and pink pepper,Yumm.

Also the Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda) though I found just one on Dec 26th.

You may also find some Jew’s ear fungus (Hirneola auricula-Judae) they often grow on dead or dying Elder trees.

For me the plant of the month has to be Dandelion(Taraxacum officinale)or specifically the root of the plant.

now is the time to dig the roots and dry for Dandelion coffee. dandelions are terrific plants with so many health benefits and roots should be harvested during winter months while all the energy here. As the weather is mild and damp it should be easy to dig them just now.

When you have dug them, scrub well,chop and roast in oven at about 150 degrees centigrade till they are coffee colored, store in airtight container when cool and grind to make coffee.

Dandelions are rich in Iron, Magnesium,Calcium,and other minerals, plus Vitamin  A, B1 B2 B3 B5  C and E.

they relieve degenerative joint disorders, are well recognized as liver and kidney boosters and also reduce blood sugars.Not bad for one very common plant, and that’s not all, we can talk about the leaves and flowers later in the year but here is an interesting snippet from herbalist Isabel Shipard, “dandelion plants are said to breathe out ethylene gas….. by growing dandelion under fruit trees the ethylene gas given off can aid in the early ripening of the crop” now that is something to try.

Also appearing on a wall near you, especially if the wall is lime free is Navelworth (umbilicus rupestris) I love the leaves to munch and they are at their best early in the year.

This year the Chickweed (Stellaria media) has continued to grow fresh all winter, I keep a small jar of pesto made from it in the fridge and whizz up a fresh batch every now and then, it’s another amazing herb, particularly good from anyone with bowel disorders.

So it may be winter, but well worth getting out and getting some fresh greens or Dandelion roots, maybe even a mushroom for supper.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Simon said,

    February 17, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Hello Mary,

    Great to see that there is still food growing even at this time of year! I came across what I think is Jews Ear on a dead branch, but I’d like to be 100% before I eat it (I haven’t foraged mushrooms yet). Is there any confusion species in ireland? I’ve checked my foraging books and they haven’t said anything about any poisonous look-alikes, but I’d prefer to get more advice from an expert like yourself! If all goes well I’ll bring back a log and see if I can grow some at home in a corner of the garden!

    Thanks a million! Love your blog!
    Simon

    • February 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hi Simon, Thanks for comment, do you have photo of mushroom? What are they growing on? I’ll pat photo of Jew’s ear this morning which is growing on dead Elder.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • February 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Sorry wasn’t finished that, did it have the veins? It is most likely to be the ear fungus “Hirneola auricula Judae the Chinese call it black fungus and it dries very well. So check out photo which I will upload now and happy foraging, I spotted Alexander’s yesterday ready to cut.

      Sent from my iPhone


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