This last year has been hectic to say the least. I created an online herbal medicine course – https://www.danusirishherbgarden.com/product/an-introduction-to-herbal-medicine-a-6-month-digital-course/ and by the time that was done, my garden had reverted to the wild! Before I begin to reclaim it and prepare the vegetable beds for winter I want to share the foraging weekend we enjoyed about a month ago.
I invited Craig Worrall from https://edible-leeds.blogspot.com/ to come to Ireland and teach us how to forage and more importantly, what to do with the food and seaweed we find. I can recognise some wild foods and I know that all seaweeds are edible – but what to do to make them all palatable is another matter. Craig brought us to the beach first to introduce us to some of our local seaweeds. We found Kelp and Sugar Kelp; Laver, Sea Spaghetti and Spiral Wrack and Egg Wrack as well as some limpets.
With the tide beginning to come in and make for our feet, we then headed to the woodlands to search for mushrooms. I would like to say we spotted several varieties but in fact it was Craig who found them and pointed them out to us. It is incredible how, once you know what you are looking for, just how many you find! We found Sulphur Tufts and Honey Fungus – which we don’t want to eat – but we also found Chanterelles and Puffballs.
There were other mushrooms found by the enthused attendees – Fly Agaric, Ceps and Milkcaps. After the weekend, myself and Lol went out with Craig and we filled a large basket with Chanterelles, Puffballs and other mushrooms including some Shaggy Inkcap from which I have produced some ink!
So much information to take in and so many creative ideas for preparing and processing this nutrient rich, wild food. We were very fortunate to experience full evidence of just how versatile this wild food is and how much can be done with it. Craig had prepared an incredible and most delicious feast for the end of the day. We are delighted that Craig has agreed to come back in spring time/early summer and we are looking forward to foraging for some tasty land plants.
After all that excitement, then came Samhain and the opportunity to enjoy the final harvest of the year. We celebrated with carved turnips, candles, traditional Irish dishes made from an abundant harvest of fruits and vegetables.
Musing on abundance, I began to think of all the gifts we receive from Nature – fruits and berries, seaweeds and mushrooms and our own home grown veg.
The food is out there and of course, all the medicine. Just being outside among trees and plants and out by the sea, is medicine in itself. I believe that these abundant gifts that are simply just there for us, are sacred.
Being out in Nature, whether in the garden or in a woodland or by the ocean; I feel spiritually connected to Mother Earth. Looking at the landscape I can see female curves and i strongly believe that there is love and support there when we need it.
Walking in the outdoors, recognising the change in seasons – the different gifts that are presented to us as the year moves around – is a sacred path I believe. Such walking is an opportunity to appreciate all the beauty and abundance that surrounds us.