Foraging

Foraging Resin in the UK

Wild Fen was born out of love and recognition of just how many healing plants we could grow and forage in and around our home in the Fenlands of East Anglia.

Whether it be for medicinal teas, infused oils and balms or making aromatic incense blends, our life long love of nature, evolved into handcrafted creations that celebrated the beauty and magic of the nature around us.

We grow or gather everything that goes into our products and this includes the resin in our incense blends.

Resin is an amazing substance produced by certain trees in response to damage. It has antibacterial properties and acts as a healing plaster that prevents the tree from further damage or infection.

Anyone that has had the pleasure of smelling resin knows it has the most potent scent as well as medicinal properties. It has been gathered and used as incense and medicine for thousands of years.

When gathering resin it is important to take it from the excess areas only, where it has dripped down the tree’s bark and never directly from the wound where it has a vital role in protecting the tree. Always remember that first and foremost, resin is for healing and protecting the tree. Any extra is a blessing.

Resin can be added to a loose incense blend of herbs and barks to increase the burning time of the blend or it can be used on its own, burned on a charcoal disc or used in a resin burner.

We add foraged pine resin to our Botanical Incense Blend and Cedar resin to our brand new Mindful Jars and Cedar Magick Incense Blend.


Foraging

The Intuitive Art of Foraging

It has been an interesting foraging year for us. I have found myself feeling incredibly drawn to collecting certain plants – wild rose early on in the year, mugwort throughout the summer and wild oats as the summer progressed. There have also been other plants that despite their abundance and potential, for one reason or another we didn’t forage many/any this year – elderflower and rosehips stand out as two.

When I first began to discover just how many nutritious and healing plants grow all around us, life became an exciting and busy journey of researching, learning and (sustainably) hunting for plant treasure. Each walk would be an opportunity to gather some free food and medicine and we would spend our evenings experimenting with recipes and ways to preserve our harvest for the months ahead.

In those early years, I sometimes found myself gathering frantically, scared of missing a ripe and abundant patch of something that could have been stored for teas, or made into some healing potion. Experiencing a sense of fear at the thought of having to wait a whole year for its return if I missed a harvest.

What I have learned throughout this journey is that foraging takes time. It isn’t necessarily the finding and gathering of plants that takes too long, although sometimes multiple visits to a plant may be required to harvest it at its peak ripeness. It is the cleaning, preparing, drying and processing of plants in different ways that takes both time, energy and patience. Removing individual berries or flowers from stems, infusing and straining oils and vinegars, sterilising jars and equipment is a real labour of love (and occasionally hate- the sterilising part anyway!)

A life of foraging isn’t one of convenience necessarily. It takes time and the reward is vast. Slowing down and leaning towards a more intuitive way of gathering what we are drawn to maintains my enthusiasm and energy. I feel excitement at the possibilities of next year as I sync more with the pace of nature.

I would love to know if you can relate to the feeling of missing a plant harvest and what you have found yourself drawn to this year?

Foraging

Nutritious little Nettle Seeds

One of the very many things I love about foraging, is how there are always new plants (or new parts of a plant) to discover and enjoy. One of my favourite discoveries of last year were Nettle seeds! Despite having collected Nettles leaves often for cooking up like spinach or drying out for teas, I hadn’t thought about collecting the seeds, that are abundant on the plant at this time of year.

I first stumbled across an article written by the wonderful herbalist Brigit Anna McNeill highlighting the nutritional benefits of these tiny seeds and the strengthening affect they can have on our adrenal glands and other organs. These seeds hold a wealth of vitamins and minerals just like their leaves, and are very rich in essential fatty acids – nutrition for the skin, hair and brain.

The seeds are ready to harvest when their clusters hang downwards, heavy on their stems rather than sticking up or outright whilst they are still growing. Nettle seeds can be eaten fresh or dry and can be sprinkled on near enough anything, from smoothies, cereal, salads and soups.

Last week, we carefully foraged for some, collecting clumps of the seeds from different nettle plants only where they were in abundance. After leaving them to dry out for a few days, we pushed the clumps of seeds (removed from the main Nettle stem) through a sieve and into a glass jar. This process separates them from their stems, ready to be stored and enjoyed all year round.


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.

Foraging

Wild Garlic Galore

Yesterday we stumbled across the largest patch of flowering Wild Garlic we have ever seen. We have had a few harvests this year already. Most has gone into pesto which is a firm favourite, or chopped and added to soups, pasta and eggs.

Today we made a delicious wild garlic butter by chopping around 50 grams of leaves and flowers and mixing into a pack of softened butter. I froze half; rolling it into a sausage shape and wrapping in baking paper before popping in the freezer. The rest we will keep in the fridge. We have already enjoyed it spread thickly on doorstep toast and it was such a treat! We also added a scoop into some boiled new potatoes which was delicious too.

What is your favourite way to enjoy wild garlic?

Botanicals, Foraging

In Celebration of the humble Nettle

As a forager and lover of wild food, I think Nettles are up there as one of the most nutritious and versatile additions to any diet. They are perhaps one of the easiest plants to identify and their abundance and long season means that they are often visible everywhere from gardens to woodlands.

Nettles are especially rich in Iron and vitamins A & C and offer cleansing and detoxing properties. Not only do they benefit our diets, they also provide nourishment to our hair and skin when added to natural products.

We tend to use Nettles in much the same ways as we would use Spinach – in curries, soups, smoothies and juices. As soon as Nettles are heated, dried or blended they lose their sting but they do require a fair bit of caution when handling before hand! They make a wonderful tea using either fresh or dried leaves and can also be steeped overnight for a wonderful cleansing and iron rich morning tonic.

It is always a good idea to do some of your own research before foraging and make sure you are prepared. A good introduction to Nettles can be found here, and you can read more information about the foraging code of conduct here.

Botanicals, Foraging

The Magic of Foraging

There are so many reasons we love to forage for wild plants. Firstly any excuse to be out in nature, is always inspiring and restorative for us. The discovery of a plant that is growing wild, without pesticides and can be bursting with nutrients and healing properties all for free always feels like such a gift. But another reason I love it, are for the lessons I learn along the way.

A few days ago, I set out with an intention to gather some freshly bloomed wild Rose. I had been seeing it in abundance along roadsides for a couple of days and hoped to collect some from a pollution free spot for the first time this year. However upon arriving at our destination, the Rose buds were tightly coiled and far from blooming. The place was so beautiful though; bird song vibrant, wildflower rich and I felt so at peace as my senses absorbed my surroundings with glee.

Continue reading “The Magic of Foraging”
Botanicals

What are Smudge Sticks?

Smudge sticks are bundles of herbs that are bound together and dried out for the purpose of burning. The bundle may consist of a single herb type or a combination of different herbs tied together. Different herbs vary in their energetic and healing properties, as well as their scent.

Herbs have been burned by many cultures for generations. The purpose of which includes for ceremonial and ritual purposes, for cleansing and purification, for spiritual blessings or protection and banishing negative energy.

Our smudge sticks are a blend of herbs that we have grown organically. We harvest them within the waning moon cycle after they have been bathed with the light of the full moon. At this time the water content in the plant falls, making them easier to dry.

We have selected herbs that will offer tranquillity and protection, soothing the mind and body. They are known for their mood boosting and calming properties. This makes them well suited to burn before or during meditation practices, to help soothe if the emotions or nerves are fraught or to induce a peaceful nights sleep.

Like all of our offerings we create and concoct in small batches when plants are at their most potent. We have a new batch currently available in our Etsy shop now.

*As of 20/08/20 we have changed the name of our sticks to ‘Smoulder sticks.’ You can read more about our decision regarding this here.

General

Welcome to Wild Fen

Welcome to our website. We are Nicola and Chris and we created Wild Fen to celebrate our love for the natural world and the abundance that she offers, both in terms of inspiration and resources. We have both been studying and enjoying nature for most of our lives. This has evolved in many ways including growing our own organic herbs and plants, foraging wild edibles, concocting natural products and capturing the beauty of nature through photography and artwork. You can read more about our journey here.

This site will be a space to record our recipes, sell our creations and share inspiration with others.