Happy foraging

By Helen McCormack

After a little break from writing, it’s really time to get a quick bulletin off to you all – even if it’s only to say hope you are all enjoying time outdoors (we won’t mention the 'R' word). I have spent many pleasurable hours outdoors in May/June picking herbs in the wild. That’s the easy part, getting room to dry them, or make up fresh tinctures and glycerites and just getting storage SPACE is proving to be the real challenge.

I will never again visit one of those home store places without picking up yet another kilner jar, and I regret very much a recent visit to that Blue & Yellow warehouse near the M50 when I decided (in full possession of all my faculties, apparently), that I really had enough 1 litre storage bottles, replete with porcelain-like stoppers. But now I’m left very short of airtight vessels for my newly made syrups, cordials and other yummies. When you resort to loading twice as much jam onto the morning toast just to empty yet another jar, you know you’re in trouble. Every year, I manage to convince myself that I would have spent yet more hours making wonderful preserves, chutneys and what-have-you if only the old jar shortage had not become an issue. I have to admit – there is a great satisfaction to stocking shelves with more of your ‘produce’, all new labels, all in a row, full of delicious promise. All for free! Well not quite – but still a lot cheaper than buying them.

And, yes the rain has certainly imposed a barrier to easy harvesting. But there’s an awful lot more to be done so try and get out – the growth of wild herbs in the hedgerows is phenomenal.

Good picking coming up this month – meadowsweet, yarrow (coming very soon), dandelion leaves - still around, plantain leaves, soft berries, St. John’s wort – due to flower in another week or so, lemon balm and sage still powering along in my patch, thyme in flower now, rosemary – good all through summer and beyond, lavender flowers a bloomin’, keep cutting nettles down and get the young heads when they grow back……


Design: Alan Davis