5 Edible Plants to Forage in St. Helens

by Cat Woods

In lockdown last year I received some personal foraging training from Wil Goodwin from the Merseyside Foraging Network. I learned what to forage and where and have been reaping the benefits ever since. There is no junk food in nature. 

Let’s have a look at what edibles I found in Sankey Valley.

Common Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna, or common hawthorn, has a variety of uses, from the treatment of cardiac insufficiency, as an antioxidant, as food and alcohol products, and as a garden piece used as hedges. 

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a flowering annual plant found natively in the Himalayan mountains. It is an attractive ornamental plant but has become an invasive species in North America due to humans transiting. In order to remove the invasive species, the plant must be cut out by its roots. 

Common Sorrel

Definitely one of my zesty favourites. Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a slender herbaceous perennial plant native to Europe. Common sorrel grows edible leaves and is also known as the garden sorrel. 

Water Mint

Water mint (Mentha aquatica) is a perennial herb native to Europe and southwest Asia. Water mint is used to make tea. It can also be used to make cologne. The bergamot mint is considered to be a variety of Mentha aquatica. 

Red Raspberry

Red raspberry, red raspberry, or European raspberry is a perennial forest shrub with elongated, thorny biennial stems. The stems grow rapidly grow during their first year and bloom in their second year. Small aggregate fruit has a distinct aroma and sweet-and-sour taste. Raspberry cultivars are hybrids between Rubus idaeus the American species R. strigosus. 

The Benefits of Foraging

Foragers consistently share a range of benefits they receive, including: 

  • free food that’s as fresh as the time it takes for you to pick it and plate it, 
  • nutrients and a level of freshness that you wouldn’t get so easily from shop-bought food, 
  • a wide range of surprising ingredients, offering more diversity and flavours, 
  • the element of surprise and adventure, never knowing exactly what you’ll find or where!

 

Why not get out there and experience foraging for yourself in our local area? Maybe you’d like to attend one of our Introduction to Foraging classes? Our events are based around nature, sustainability and the environment, and you can find more information on our events on our Facebook page

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