How to find calm in foraging
I had the most amazing day down at Nomadic Dinners who create woodland feasts in the most beautiful setting. And this time, not only was it a feast for all the senses, it also made me feel connected to the world and other people during this time of isolation.
Both times I have been to Nomadic Dinners, before sitting down to food, guests have a chance to spend some time foraging with some expert guidance from the Nomadic team.
Finding calm in foraging
Living in the countryside, foraging whilst out on a good walk can be such a calming exercise, particularly with little ones who love discovering different aspects of nature and taking some of these finds back home. There is so much to know about foraging that I’m sure many of us have never realised before, and foraging with a guide helps open up a world of information about what the very simple things you can find out in nature that can supercharge our wellbeing. In any average field, there is a vast array of treasures, all free to anyone, if you know what to look for. Foraging also encourages us to spend some mindful time in nature and it’s proven that these two activities offer us significant benefits for our mental health and help us to relax and rebalance.
the four Fs
We walked through the woods with Kim, our foraging expert for the day, and she explained that foraging is all about the four Fs: fruit, flora, foliage and fungus. We can pick anything from open countryside within these four categories but never to eat anything unless you are 100% sure it’s safe and this is where building up your knowledge of how to identify some treasures within these categories as well as their powerful healing and nutritional properties is really important if you are going to take this to the next level.
We’re also aware these days of the health benefits of eating seasonally as far as possible. Foraging encourages us to do this as we have to work with what is available and safe to consume at that point in the year. Again developing a basic knowledge of this can help guide us and start to get us thinking about factoring seasonal produce more and more into our diets. In November and December, you can still look for wild plums and pines.
the power of pines
Collect the needles and the seeds from open pines. A tea extracted from pine needles is apparently high in vitamin C, making it a great anti-cold remedy. It also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene. Seeds can be dislodged from open pine cones by shaking them. Seeds can be eaten raw but are usually roasted or toasted. You can easily find a seasonal foraging guide with some googling and as you can see, it opens up a whole world of new knowledge for new foragers!
I really suffer with my skin, especially when I am stressed out so I when Kim showed us some goose grass and said this had huge benefits for skin health, my ears pricked up. It was right there, all across the field we were in – and completely free. Used in a poultice it can massively help improve eczema – I’d never heard this before.
We also found some yarrow which has antiseptic qualities and was used in WW1 to successfully treat wounds when they had ran out of more traditional medical supplies. Kim also talked about nettles, which normally I’m trying to get my little one to avoid, and how they actually count as a superfood. She also gave us a delicious recipe for nettle soup.
Apart from dining at Nomadic, I’ve not put any of this into practice but I definitely have nettle soup and a goose grass poultice on my to do list.