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The Spice of Blighty



Were you aware you could stock your spice cupboard with plants and seasonings growing right here in Blighty?


ftp.news contributor Emma Grossmann has sage advice (haha) for all of us... and some pics.



Let’s start by covering the two standards on any table - salt & pepper.


Free sea salt? It’s true mere mortals, we’re an evaporation nation. Just make sure you know your source of sea water is fresh and unpolluted - which is easier said than done in this day and age, sadly.


However, you can spot unpolluted seawater by a few key indicators, anemones being one.

If you see anemones, then you’ll know the water is unscathed by the big boys dumping their junk. Buying some chemical testing strips is another option (affordable and available online).


Poor Man’s Pepper (Alexanders) can be harvested by August onwards and is an excellent if not slightly more aromatic replacement for peppercorns from afar.

So, that's free salt and pepper sorted. Onwards to more.


Other delicious delicacies to dry out or pickle and jar-up include wild garlic, fennel, wild carrot (seeds are excellent in curry), magnolia petals (gingery), wild thyme, hogweed seeds (incomparable to any other flavour but perhaps share similarity to cardamon/orange peel), water mint, wild marjoram, gorse (coconut), wild mustard, wood avens (clove/cinnamon), sweet cicely (aniseed), and many more.



With all things connected to wild food foraging, it is essential that everything is quadruple checked before attempting the taste test. Yeah, check it before you lick it - and you can achieve the right knowledge and safety guides via books, Google, Facebook groups, Apps and perhaps with advice from other locals who forage.


Caveat: If you do not quadruple check your plants before plastering your palette, then you could find your body in a whole pickle of its own.

A few of the plants listed may be part of a family which are hard to tell apart in one family of plants, specifically umbellifers. There could lie a leaf, bud or seed which may send you to intensive care. Oh, so the alternative spice cabinet doesn’t look so appealing now does it.?


On the up side, because there definitely is one, just take the right amount of time in your learning process, be sensible and soon you will be the Grand Poobah of native Cornish curries. And If they didn’t exist before, well they do now.


As a city-girl turned country-mum I'm telling you that It doesn’t take long to build your knowledge, so start now and have faith to spice up your life - and mealtimes - in ways in which you never imagined.

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