Foraging

Spring Greens!

Eating seasonally is one of my favourite ways of feeling more aligned with earth’s cycles and come Spring I really start craving fresher, zingier and lighter meals with lots and lots of greens. And just as if Nature intended, our gardens and woodlands are bursting full of Spring greens, that nourish and cleanse our bodies after a heavy winter.

After consciously gardening to keep and enjoy wild edibles over the years, there has been plenty coming up over the past few weeks. They have filled our teapot and topped most of our dishes and both my mind and body are starting to feel lighter and clearer after the long Winter months.

One of our favourite ways to enjoy wild greens is in a pesto. It is simple, quick and delicious. We use it to dress salads, vegetables, pasta and potatoes. We don’t follow a recipe and embrace it varying each time but start by popping a big handful of greens into a blender along with a squeeze of lemon, some seeds (or nuts) a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper and I often add a handful of peas to give a nice freshness and sweetness.

We also add chopped greens to the top of almost any dish, or into soups, salads and pasta dishes.

Some are wonderful enjoyed in a fresh spring tea or cold water infusion. My favourite for this are Cleavers and the Nettles.

As with everything, once you get your eye in, identifying plants becomes almost second nature but it takes time to learn, we are always cautious, avoiding anything unless we are sure – there are poisonous lookalikes out there so cross reference, learn from someone and take your time – it is worth it. We still enjoy adding a few extra plants to our repertoire each year.


Here are just a few greens I use on a regular basis as they are local and abundant to me. They are often an important nectar source in early Spring so we only ever take a small proportion of what is growing leaving lots for the wildlife who depend on them. There are lots of other tasty greens not listed here and getting to know those in your garden is a good place to begin.

Botanicals

What is a Salve?

If you haven’t used a salve before, it is probably different to the consistency of a lotion or cream you may be used to. A salve is completely water-less (like all of the products we concoct) which means there is no need to add a preservative to the product. When water is used in skincare, it gives a lotion like texture to a product but requires the addition of a preservative to keep microbes and bacteria from developing. Some preservatives can be harsh for the skin and we prefer to steer clear of them, opting for a completely natural product.

Oil based products, also referred to as anhydrous (water-free) are not prone to microbial contamination. It is important to ensure we don’t add water to the product by using wet fingers to apply for example, due to the lack of preservative. Whilst some skincare can be up to 70% water, oil based skincare such as salves, balms and skin oils do feel different to use. For a start they are full of rich oils so we do not require the same amount of product as we might when using a lotion. They can take longer to sink into the skin and some people prefer to use them overnight when they can truly work their magic. They have many benefits, including being great value for money as you aren’t paying for a large proportion of water in your product and tend to go much further, a little really does go a long way!

Today I concocted a small batch of healing hand salves that are now for sale in our Etsy shop. It is our last batch with this year’s Dandelion infused oil which is super nourishing for the skin – hands and otherwise.

Botanicals

Helping Hands Salve

On a beautiful day a few weeks ago, we foraged a bounty of delicious dandelion flowers, rich with colour and healing properties. We also collected some fresh nettles and wanted to use them both in something special. These abundant plants are considered to have numerous beneficial properties for nourishing and protecting the skin. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, offering antibacterial and anti inflammatory action. They felt like the perfect plants to create a healing hand salve, especially for sore, over-washed hands. We also added some of our homegrown dried organic lavender for a gentle scent and extra healing.

We wanted to create an offering that we could give to loved ones, many who are key workers and who have been suffering with sore hands due to all the extra washing during the pandemic. We will be concocting another small batch of balms in the coming days so keep an eye out if you would like one.