Foraging has become increasingly popular in the last few years and there is something wonderful about gathering ingredients from the natural environment around you. It is wonderful to be outside amongst the flora and fauna, exploring and really noticing what there is locally. Perhaps it reinforces the connections between us humans and the natural world, helping to ground us? It certainly gives me more pleasure than going to a shop!
In Spring and early Summer we are fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful flowers on the Machair and there are foraging opportunities along the seashore.
After running out of runny honey to add to desserts, fruit and yoghurt I was delighted to come across a recipe for Meadow Flower Scented Honey in Fiona Bird's book The Forager's Kitchen. This is a wonderful book with advice on responsible foraging, how to forage and gather and some fantastic recipes to try.
All the flowers needed for this recipe were growing in our garden. As early as 3-4 days after cutting the lawn there would be an abundance of new flowers buzzing with bees. I felt able to pick the flowers I needed for a jar or so of honey before the lawn was cut the next day knowing the bees had access to plenty of flowers in the wilder areas and there would soon be a plentiful supply of flowers again in the lawn.
It was very therapeutic picking the petals and flowers from the stems and and my fingers were sticky from the nectar of the clover.
The kitchen was filled with a lovely delicate floral scent and the resulting honey was delicious on fruit and with yogurt.
If you would like to find out more about where to forage and gather, what to look for and are not sure where to start then I can highly recommend Fiona Bird's book "The Forager's Kitchen". Her twitter feed can be found at @TheForagersKitc and she also has a blog page http://seaweednamara.blogspot.com
Happy foraging and exploring!