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Foraging on the estate with Josh

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Here at Trelowarren we love finding new ingredients to experiment with, even if they are ingredients we already know about but didn’t quite have the confidence to try. So we decided to invite Josh (self proclaimed botanical scallywag) to the estate to take us on a tour and help us discover what ingredients we have growing within easy reach that we may not have known about.

Hogweed was the first thing of about 30 ingredients he found that morning.

I have to admit, we did take a little persuasion to give it a go, mainly due to the warnings as a child, but I’m so glad we did and it’s now our favourite spice. We have already used it in lots of dishes and the abundance of it almost makes me embarrassed to have not used it before. As Josh told us:

Hogweed. (Heracleum sphondylium). One of the most common, delicious and unfortunately named wild foods of the U.K. The seeds of hogweed are a fantastic local spice with a warming flavour and are relatively new on the wild food scene. Much of our historic use of wild foods has unfortunately been lost over time. When reconstructing this lost knowledge we often have to look to other cultures and seek ‘analog’ plants: closely related plants that are still used for culinary purposes and apply this to our local flora. Persian Hogweed, Heracleum persicum also known as ‘Golpar’ is native to Iran. They are often mistakably labelled as Angelica seeds which can cause some confusion. The plant is very similar to our native hogweed and the seeds have a long history as a spice in the region. Often they are ground and added to soups and stews, bean and potato dishes. So far I’ve used our native hogweed seeds with great success in flapjacks, crumbles, pickles, liqueurs and Wild Curry. P.s . As with all foraging, great care must be taken to ensure correct identification. This is particularly important with this family of plants, the Apiaceae as it contains several deadly poisonous species. If in doubt, leave it out.

Josh is a member of the association of foragers and no mean chef himself, you should check out his instagram feed joshwildstives he shares all his info, recipes and great imagery, it makes more addictive scrolling.

So I bet you want to know what we are doing with the hogweed? Well, we toast the seeds and make a powder out of it and then make that into an aerated sponge to go on the set yoghurt, which gives a nice pleasant chew and a little fire, but like Josh said there are so many possibilities for this ingredient, a common yet unusual flavour. I wonder how many air miles could be saved if we harvested this instead of importing so many spices….

We are going to be consulting a lot more with Josh as the seasons change and if you fancy a day with us both next year he’s going to give us some dates for Foraged Food workshops, where we can take the public out, show you what you can and can’t pick and then sit down for some lunch in the restaurant. Sounds like a winner to me.

~ Jeff

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