Tasty delights of wild food forage

ONLY four hardy souls braved the stormy weather on Sunday afternoon to join in the Monifieth Eco Force’s Wild Food Forage at the Dighty, but they were well rewarded with an enjoyable experience.

Led by Alex Graham, the group was introduced to common wild plants which have culinary uses of one sort or another. Plants like wild garlic, nettles, elderflower and cow parsley were identified and their uses discussed.

Mr Graham revealed that some of the less appealing weeds can have surprisingly tasty uses.

Nettles leaves, for example, can be cooked and used in dishes in place of basil or spinach. Dandelions also have multiple uses; flowers for wine, leaves in salads and even the roots can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute.

In spite of the windy conditions the Dighty’s wildlife was on show in abundance.

Swallows, recently arrived after their 6,000 mile migration, were forced to fly low through the trees in their search for insects giving close-up views.

A few moments of excitement were created by the rare sight of a predatory mink running then swimming along the riverbank, prey hanging limply from its mouth, obviously returning to its den. This cruel side of nature was soon balanced out by the sighting of a mother mallard swimming past with the cutest pair of fluffy ducklings.

After this enjoyable walk it was back to the shelter of the car and some samples of wild food products. They included nettle pesto on oatcakes washed down with a selection of home made drinks including nettle tea, elderflower cordial spritzer and meadowsweet cordial.