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Edible plants to forage in February

  • Robin Harford
    Robin Harford

    Robin Harford is a plant forager, ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. He is the author of the bestselling Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland.

    He established his wild food foraging school in 2008, and his foraging courses were recently voted #1 in the country by BBC Countryfile.

    Robin is the creator of eatweeds.co.uk, listed in The Times Top 50 websites for food and drink.

    Listen to Robin Harford’s Herbcast episode “Wild foraging“.

  • 6:51 reading time (ish)
  • Foraging

Written by Robin Harford

Foraging is a fascinating skill that both deepens our relationship to nature and empowers our health. This article shares some interesting plants you can forage here in the UK in February.

Foraging is a wonderful way to connect both with nature, and nourish our health. We also want to spread the word about safe and ethical foraging, so please also read our article “A guide to safe and sustainable foraging” to learn how to practise foraging sustainably.

A useful link with images that can help with identification as well as botanical information is Wild Flower Finder.

Here Robin Harford shares some edible plants you can safely harvest from the wild in February.

Please note: Under Section 13 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, uprooting any wild plant without landowners’ permission is illegal (1).

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata

The release of a garlic smell and taste when the leaves are crushed led to the use of Garlic Mustard as an alternative to true garlic. It also made an excellent savoury salad green and potherb (2).

However, it might well have been an acquired taste. A 19th-century author, noted by Hatfield, wrote: “It has been used as a salad herb, boiled as a table vegetable, and made into sauce in the same manner as mint; but it is only tolerable in the absence of all other vegetables” (3).

One of its common names was ‘sauce-alone’; the ‘alone’ derived from ‘ail’, meaning ‘garlic’.

On the other hand, English herbalist John Gerard in the 16th century wrote it was good with salt fish (4), and Scottish botanist John Loudon in the 18th century recommended it as an accompaniment to boiled mutton (as a boiled green), in a salad or as a sauce (5).

Robin Harford

Robin Harford is a plant forager, ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. He is the author of the bestselling Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland. He established his... Read more

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