It is a healthy addition to your diet, containing substantial amounts of vitamin C and fiber and very low in calories. Wild fennel doesn’t have a bulb that you can eat but if you manage to find a non-wild fennel plant (I doubt there would be one in your garden that you didn’t already know about), dig up the bulb (ask the owner first) that is more mild-tasting and has a lettucey crunch or is soft and sweet when cooked. 6. By adding a few wild plant foods to your next salad you are not only making the taste more interesting, you are also adding a diversity of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. But many plants that are referred to as weeds are simply wild plants or garden escapees that we don’t recognise or appreciate. It was brought over to New Zealand by English settlers and soon spread; by the early 1900s it had a reputation among farmers as the most ruinous weed. For best results apply in Spring, Summer or Autumn when the plant is in active growth. For an even healthier version add beansprouts and fennel. Use this seasoning to flavour your next lamb or mutton dish. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the first cultivated commercial planting took place, with mass production and consumption only starting out less than a hundred years ago. The fennel makes a great herb for favouring seafood dishes, and can also be brewed to make a refreshing tea. FORAGING RULES A simple way is to gather some of the younger leaves and add them to the next salad you make. If you too would like to experience the excitement of ‘hunting’ for wild plant foods and the satisfaction of preparing and eating it, why not begin with looking in your very own back garden? First off, there are some rules for foraging, even if you are sticking to your own garden: I’ve stuck to plants (and fungi) which can be safely and easily identified and are common to New Zealand cities. The entire plant is edible so you can’t go wrong. You simply have to go out, search and gather. Fennel has a long history and is one of the oldest cultivated plants. The intentional cultivation of wild plants dates back to antiquity. Seeds of wild fennel, oblong and ribbed, should look like those in the spice jar at home—the wild plant is the source of the seed used to flavor food. Pesto made from foraged greens Better yet, blend them up into a soup. You can add a dash of brown sugar too. Sometimes they're attached to the large plant, but sometimes they're just in the vicinity. The leaves are great in a salad, sandwich or a cheeky, , or you can pop them on the stove and cook them to soften the leaves or you can make, . Compared to what our ancestors used to forage for, we eat a very narrow range of vegetables today. Historically in Asia, the main staples centred on rice, millet and soy. You can also use chopped fennel stalks to stuff fish or chicken for roasting, or in place of celery stalks in soup or stew. As far as flavor goes, the seeds are excellent, but you have to make sure to pick them over for small pieces of stem that inevitably get mixed in with them (see picture above). It’s reputably one of our most invasive weeds, and one even children can recognise. You can use kawakawa to make tea or add spice to hot chocolates, meat rubs or even just dry it and use it as a peppery spice. As this weed can be quite invasive, to eat it is a wonderful way to control it. The bulbs can be pickled as mini pickled onions. We seem to forget that all the world’s vegetables, fruits and nuts were once wild plants. 1 decade ago. There is Fennel Candy available or you can even easily make your own: I found this recipe from the website, "Food52" and it is by Poppies and Papayas. Another wild herb that is prolific in coastal regions throughout New Zealand is fennel. Today in many places in Asia, particularly China, tiger lily is grown for its edible bulb, yet in many other parts of the world this pretty weed has an (unproven) reputation for being toxic. In India and other countries where Fennel is naturalized, Fennel is a commonly used herb. Many plants that grow wild have high nutritional value, medicinal benefits and are just more healthy for us. Do a course, and get hold of some of the excellent written resources for NZ conditions, including: • A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New Zealand by Andrew Crowe (Supplied: eatthatweed.com) BLACKBERRY The popularity of vegetables such as kale and endive is a relatively new phenomenon in New Zealand, but in Europe these vegetables have been part of their diet for a long time. One way of reconnecting with our innate ability to know what is good for us is to eat naturally-growing food, locally-sourced, and with the seasons. Red clover is slightly tastier, but both kinds are edible: the stems and leaves are good for a salad and the flowers can be used in tea. They’re easy to use, available all year-round and very good for you. Always know the Latin name for a plant and don’t rely on ‘common’ names as the same name can often apply to different plants, some edible, some not. Be sure to add some flower heads to your next salad. You can try the roots too for flavouring, but they're a bit tough to eat. The gathered pollen fetches high prices overseas. Don’t go just by sight – understand the smell and texture of an edible plant so you have multiple points of identification for it. 9: Top 50 Cheap Eats, what's good in Auckland, Isolation animals: Rosie the sassy 'senior citizen' moggie, Iron sharpens iron: City Kickboxing and the team behind Israel Adesanya's UFC success, "I wouldn’t define myself as being into fashion": My life in clothes with model and teacher Penny Pickard, More than skin deep: Carlo Buenaventura's crispy pata recipe, Isolation Eats: Metro makes TikTok's favourite drink, whipped (Dalgona 달고나) coffee, Coronavirus and restaurants: Which restaurants are now offering takeaway and delivery services, Food to forage for if you’re self isolating for coronavirus, How Auckland restaurants are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, Metro Reviews: Tip Top Whittaker's Peanut Slab ice cream bar, What I Ate: With Black Lover actor Cameron Rhodes. The food is right there for the picking, for free. Scrambled eggs with finely chopped onion weed anyone? No doubt most of you have at some point picked and eaten a wild blackberry, but did you know you can also dry the leaves of a blackberry bush for a delicious tea? These delicious-looking specimens are the result of generations of plant selection and breeding by humans. The flavours are often rich and intense, and while they are not all scrumptious, many are delightfully tasty. Don’t try and overdose yourself with knowledge and information, learn just a few plants at a time. The entire plant, leaf, bulb and flower, is edible. 13. Modern vegetables are more palatable and appeal to a wider range of people in some ways, but this often has come at the cost of losing nutrients, antioxidants and life- enhancing properties. BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN OF THE PLANT YOU ARE COLLECTING. 3. Before you eat any wild plant, you need to be positive of your identification. If you chew the leaves, it serves as a diuretic, a painkiller for toothache and can be made into, to treat cuts and wounds. For woody mature fennel apply Weed Weapon Woody Weeds to all parts of the plant. The plants, if left to go to seed, attract beneficial insects and you can gather the seeds and dry them for cooking. Wild Fennel, Hamilton: See 105 unbiased reviews of Wild Fennel, rated 4.5 of 5 on Tripadvisor and ranked #2 of 6 restaurants in Hamilton. Or season potato wedges, grilled white fish or a simple tomato salad. Many of the edible wild plants you can find in New Zealand are escapees, spread through wind, animal movement or human garden waste. Its wild ancestors still grow there, and cultivated apple trees have been an important food source for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, but it didn’t make its way to North America until the 17th century. This gives you safety in numbers and more eyes to identify something edible (or not). The seedpods, from fennel, when ground down also make an intense flavouring. It is easy for all of us to find dandelion leaves. Foraging for food is fast gaining traction in popularity, and with good reason. The variation in diet across the globe has shown us that different peoples cultivate different wild plant foods. A more recent food cultivated from its wild ancestor is the macadamia tree, indigenous to Australia where its nuts have been consumed by Australian Aboriginals for thousands of years. If gathering from the side of the road, ensure you wash the plant really well several times before consuming. Know what kind of places plants grow – if you find something similar-looking but growing in the wrong habitat, it can be a warning sign. Finely sliced, grated raw or cooked stems can be added to salads or sandwiches. It will control the fennel and similar weeds within 7–10 days. make caffeine-free coffee. If you’ve never been foraging before, it is best to go with other people, preferably with someone who has experience in foraging. Contains seasoning for 2-3 family sized meals. Please never harvest too many of the wild plants to preserve the diversity of the flora - seeds must be produced! Wild Fennel has edible stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and pollen. You can eat the fennel seeds as a candy or toss them into salads or oatmeal. These plants require no care or tending like their cultivated counterparts, freely following Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE, AND WHERE NOT TO, COLLECT WILD FOODS Fennel growing amongst rubbish near the Mt Eden train station. Don’t take too much or you wipe out the population – if you don’t need it, leave it so it can repopulate the area for next year. The wild fennel is harvested from January to April, after which the stalks become hard and the plant begins to bloom yellow. 12. There are close to 2000 species of introduced plants which have escaped and now grow wild which for the forager has some advantages as it means the variety of edible wild food plants is significant. I collected a few flowers and let them dry. If you wish to more effectively prevent regrowth, apply Weed Weapon Preventer granules. and pop it in a salad with chilli and tofu or use it to add flavour and texture to a stirfry – there are actually loads of uses for this so have a Google. Supermarket aisles and local vegetable stores are brimming with beautifully cultivated fruit, nuts and vegetables. You can then leave the squidgy mushroom in the broth and eat it. Fennel is not a herb that we need to have any concern about taking too much of; like Garlic it is just as much a food as it is a medicine. 8. Fennel Pollen Vinaigrette. In New Zealand the sweet potato is a common sight, but it is not widely used in Europe. 4. Resurrecting the old ways and wisdoms, shifting back to a simpler way of life has to be good for us, body and soul. Dandelion plants are versatile and can be used in many ways. In the Americas the focus was on squash, beans and maize. Wild fennel pollen has become a popular ingredient these days, and while it is a bit tedious to collect, a little goes a long way. There are a variety of ‘weeds’ that are so easy to add to salads. Like spinach, young leaves are soft and juicy and can be munched on fresh. What it’s good for: When boiled with garlic and onion, wood ear mushrooms make delicious broth. Blackberries provide us with potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. You’ve probably spotted a nasturtium or two lurking in the salad of a plant-based cafe and the bright flowers are not only pretty as a garnish, they are juicy, spicy and tangy. 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