As a person who is normally remarkably busy, being forced to stop has been an incredibly unique and rare experience. The first couple of weeks of lockdown brought a lot of uncertainty and anxiety as I witnessed my routine and daily life change drastically overnight. Closing my business, no longer doing the tranquil and uplifting drive through the countryside every Friday morning to GEP, and the thought of not being able to see my family for a while was really testing.
I decided to think of all the things I would like to achieve during lockdown and use the time to reflect on what I have achieved so far and make time for things that make me happy!
I quickly discovered that food is one of the ultimate things in life that makes me very happy! And I am sure this is something that everyone can relate to right now. I decided to gain the courage to learn more about foraging for wild food, which is something I have always wanted to learn more about, however have never truly dared to try. With the season producing such wonderful opportunities for this, it was quite easy to start. Here are a few simple, easy and novice recipes that I have tried if you would like to have a try yourself!
DID YOU KNOW?
🌻Dandelions have been used for health benefits for many years! They help to reduce inflammation, stomach issues, cholesterol and blood pressure, and also help to rebalance your liver and kidney functions, helping to detoxify and cleanse the body!
🌻Every part of the dandelion; the petals, stem, root and leaves are edible and bursting with vitamins and nutrients!
🌻The bees use dandelions as one of the first source of food in the earlier months of the year, April and May time are the best times to pick Dandelions as the bees no longer rely on them as much.
MAKING THE HONEY
You will need:
🌼Approx. 300 dandelions (kiddies you best get picking!)
🌼5 cups of sugar/1KG (we know this is a lot! Alternative recipe will follow)
🌼1 litre of water
🌼 1 lemon
🌼 Glass jar or a container to store it in.
Firstly pick your dandelions on your daily walk.
Rinse the dandelions to get the bugs out.
Boil the dandelions, water, and sliced up orange and lemon for approx 1 hour.
Drain all the juices in to a container and put to one side.
Set a cooking pot with your sugar in.
Add your juice and slowly boil for approx 3-6 hours. (This depends on your cooker, electric or gas, Charlotte’s took around 2.5 hours on a low heat gas)
Keep checking the consistency of your honey. You can do this by pouring a bit onto a plate, and running your finger along it. Honey thickens as it cools, so keep checking!
Once it is at the right consistency place in your container of choice to cool. Once cooled enjoy or give as a gift!
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
🌻 When picking dandelions think about where you are picking…farmers fields may have had pesticides sprayed, side of a road may have had a dog…spray so think wisely before you pick!
🌻Remember the liquid will get very hot! Please take care around young children.
Wild Garlic Garlic Bread
Wild garlic is everywhere at the moment and is very easy to spot, as it is very smelly! But very delicious!
I know that flour has been very spare recently, however if you manage to find a bread mix this is much easier to use and is more likely to be found.
MAKING THE GARLIC BREAD
Forage some wild garlic on your daily walk.
Ensure it is washed thoroughly before use.
Chop up finely and place in a mixing bowl with your bread mix.
Follow the instructions of your bread mix and bake.
Alternatively, you could mix your finely chopped garlic in with some butter and spread onto baguette bread, then bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Both ideas are delicious! P.S. the photo bread was made on the campfire which is why it looks a bit charcoaled!
Lockdown life has truly highlighted to me why I love the outdoors so much, and it has been so nice to see more people enjoying and embracing the great outdoors. The woodland has always been a sanctuary for me, a place to take time out, and slow down life, which hasn’t changed during lockdown. I have really loved seeing stories about how families have been creative with their one outing a day, which gives me further confirmation that Forest Schools and what we do in Forest Schools is really good for our future generation.
Living close to the peaks has really helped, and I have enjoyed having little walks in the countryside in the lovely sun we have been getting!
Family and friends have always been something that is important to me. And being away from them has been difficult. I am very grateful for technology at this time, where we can stay connected through facetime and numerous “quiz nights” that I am guessing lots of other families have been doing too! It is times like these where we really appreciate the people most close to us, and I am also aware that not everyone has this privilege. I guess it gives us an insight into peoples lives who are unable to leave their homes due to illnesses, or do not have family or friends to see, and puts life into perspective.
Light at the end of the tunnel!
Lockdown has so far taught me that it is okay to slow down and rest, and you can still achieve what you wish, whilst looking after yourself. It has taught me to never take the people around you for granted and connecting with people is a wonderful thing. It has shown me that nature is the medicine for anything! Which is why I am a huge advocate for Forest Schools and getting children outdoors! Lastly it has confirmed to me why I do the job I do, because I love to be around people, and being with the little balls of fantastic energy we call children, because they bring so much joy, laughter and sunshine to our everyday lives, and having the opportunity to shape their experiences is something so precious.
So here’s to a few more weeks of lockdown, may we read books, connect with nature, reach out to the people who need, and stay safe, so that when we emerge and can truly reconnect, we can do so with appreciation, love and a deeper understanding of what life is all about.