Sloe berry patties, hawthorn berry leather, elder berry cordial, rosehip infusion – these were a few of the delights cooked over a smoking wood fire at the School of The Wild’s wild food walk.
Wild food expert Milly Hawkins introduced us to both familiar and unusual hedgerow rewards and – perhaps as useful as the identification skills – Milly showed us simple ways to prepare and cook the produce in order to get the best out of them.
Milly, who holds qualifications in health science, nutrition and environmental conservation, has had a passion for wild foods since childhood. She has also worked extensively with The East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership and ethno botanist Professor Gordon Hillman to research the foods of indigenous Britain. Milly is a mine of information for the keen forager and enthusiastically imparts her knowledge to both adult and child.
Rewarded by warm, bright weather (in October!?) we spent an enjoyable time beside the fire learning about and experiencing the qualities of wild food. This was followed by an informative wander through the woods of Stanmer Park, where us amateurs were finally able to put names to plants commonly seen on our walks, to understand how they fitted into the surrounding ecology and which we could eat and which to avoid.
The School of the Wild is a MeetUp group run by Nigel Berman that focuses on getting back to nature. Past meet-ups have included wild swimming and fire making and next month Milly will be showing us how acorns can be turned into food!’