Yes, one of my favourite subjects wild food, wild medicine, which could also be food as medicine, or medicinal foods even. You see everything we put in our mouths either helps build, feed, and fuel our bodies with vitamins, minerals and medicinal properties. Or damages our health, striping us of nutrients and energy. There is little that sits between these two extremes as benign, although I have always told myself a Bloody Mary is, purely because all the yummy tomato juice and celery balance out the liver heavy actions of the vodka, I’m sure you’ll agree 😉
Anyway, my wild food of the moment has to be Jack-in-the-hedge, also known as hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolata), not to be confused with wild garlic which is another tasty leaf out and about at the moment. Jack, as I will call him for short, is in abundance right now. Running alongside my house is a long steep alley way literally lined with this spring beauty.
Whenever I pass I eat a leaf or two (clearly ones that are out of range for a doggy cocked leg), there seems to be a great variation in flavour with some leaves being almost sweet while others are bitter, all leaves have a garlicy undertone. I think the leaves that are in deeper shade are sweeter, that has been my experience so far. I recommend gathering a few leaves when you see them and add them to salads, sandwiches and as a garnish topping to any meal (finely chopped of course).
And their medicine? Well eaten raw they act as a toning and strengthening digestive tonic. You can infuse them in hot water and drink as a tea to help treat respiratory tract infections, bronchitis and asthma. You can also make an infused oil with the leaves to rub on the chest for relief from respiratory tract infections.
What a fabulous and amazing edible medicine, free and available in hedgerows near you for a limited time only!!!
For instructions on how to make an infused oil, or similar information on 150 other plants download my ebook 🙂 Happy foraging.