Monday, 9 March 2009


Emma Cooper is so quick off the mark that she's already blogged about the beautiful event we shared together at the weekend (ahh): Kew Ethnobotany Department's Open Day.

We already knew Emma Cooper is classy is because her chickens are called Hen Solo and Princess Layer, but it was very nice to meet her in person. Especially as I now follow her on Twitter, the newest layer of frantic social networking I've added to my own personal arsenal. Between her, Alex from Shedworking, Yolanda and James Alexander-Sinclair, plus all the cool Americans, there's loads of horticultural Twitter traffic to choose from. Join, and then you too can broadcast your every waking thought. 

The open day was fantastic for a number of non-Emma Cooper-related reasons, and my favourite stall of the day was the edible weeds one. I know Jane at the Guardian's had this on the brain a bit lately... 

but these foragers from Brighton had brought along huge bowfuls of everything from Hairy Bittercress (it tastes really quite good! and I pulled it out all of my pots just last week!) to Cleavers. Actually I still can't totally believe I ate Cleavers. 

And for pudding? This is a man brandishing some weird stuff at me that turned out to be fruit leather... a thick chewy sheet made from a thin layer of pulped fruit. Apparently, stone age people used to carry it round as a snack. Ahem. 


Esther Montgomery said...

I feel guilty that I don't eat weeds . . . there they are, I know some are edible, but I ignore them.

I even bought a packet of sorrel seeds last year instead of colecting leaves from the wild.

Part of it is nervousness that I will pick the wrong thing . . . but a lot of it is because of cats . . . and dogs . . . and

(I think I'll stick to growing my own veg.)


HappyMouffetard said...

I shall eat well this weekend, then. I have plenty of hairy bittercress. I don't suppose couch grass, ground elder, marestail and bindweed are also edible? I also have plenty of dandelions, which I know you can eat (and have eaten) but am a bit wary of, for the animal based reasons mentioned by Esther.

Esther Montgomery said...

Happy Mouffetard - My understanding is that ground elder was introduced into this country by the Romans - for eating.


HappyMouffetard said...

Oooh - that's great news. I have an allotment which regularly produces a good crop of this Roman delicacy then! Thanks Esther!

Dawn said...

Not sure about this Twittering lark. However, I am sure I will catch onto it late (as I do with everything) - probably around 2013 by which time the digital gardening world will almost certainly have moved onto Blethering, Prattling and Wittering.

Like the idea of excusing my shoddy gardening with the excuse that I'm growing the latest range of edible plants. So, thank you kindly for this!

colleen said...

Oooooh. I'm so glad you wrote about this - I really fancied going but already had another trip planned. I've eaten comfrey (as fritters) but none of that oher stuff. Mind you, we were in the middle of nowhere at the time...

James A-S said...

Fruit leather? Were there no advertising executives in those days. They could have come up with a much more appetising name.
Froot Chews?
Five-A-Day Strips?
The fruit that keeps on Giving?
The chewiest Fruit in Town?
Good For Gums, Great for Tums?
Not just an old fruit, but a chew fruit?
Chew looking at me, fruity?
The more I think about it the more I realise that I missed my metier.
I can do heroic smoking if pushed, I could have been one of those Mad Men.

HappyMouffetard said...

But fruit leather sounds very manly in a Clint 'man with No Name' Eastwood sort of way.

VP said...

Now you're just deliberately trying to make me jealous 'cos I couldn't go and was forced to travel by Eurostar for some top notch pampering in Bruges instead.

emmat said...

i didn't even think of dogs and cats till esther said that... ewwwwwwwwww

i like the idea of us Blethering in future. Someone should buy tonight in case we need it.

I have bought the Madmen dvd but sitll haven't watched any of it. I don't know, I just am sort of a comedy person myself, and whilst I want to get into it, i think it will probably just sit there not getting watched for the next er two years. Perhaps I should give it away as a prize!

VP how was Bruges? :?? hopefully you will be letting us know by the power of blog in the near future

VP said...

It was totally fab - especially because I didn't arrange it for the first time ever and NAH chose a much posher place to stay than I would have done :D

I might have the odd snippet to show you over the next few days, but I need to get red nose day out of the way first...

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Erm, I've got some bad news for you Esther, Mouffe and Emma: cats and dogs do not only do their business on weeds but on other things (veggies) too. Not to mention all those bugs pooing all over the place, and the birds and ...... At lest we forget: what do we put in the ground to make it more fertile? Oh yes, dungRus.

Eat more green stuff, it's healthy. ;-)

Yolanda, who finally is getting the hang of twittering.

Ryan said...

You know, I feed my tortoise hairy bittercress and cleavers most days, along with dandelions, etc but I have never thought of trying either. Maybe I will a liitle later on?!

Kathy said...

I am plagued with Garlic Mustard and I just learned that is edible. I wonder if I can convince my kids?