Foraging: Nutrient Rich Seeds

Foraging: Nutrient Rich Seeds
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Plants are healthy but they also yield nutrient rich seeds

Wildness is incredibly sophisticated; nothing like the modern minds perceives it, reciprocity and cooperation are at the heart of natures set up for life.  To stop and observe is to fall deeper and deeper in awe and love for what is simply stunning in its complexity and intelligence, let us reclaim our place in this miracle, instead of languishing on the sidelines, for we humans also have our role, all links in the chain are equally important, reach out, reconnect  and hang out often in the neigbourhoods of nature and taste how abundant the phenomenon of life really is.

 

Greater Plantain seed heads.

Here today we shall explore the plethora of natural wild sources of nutrient-rich seeds, to supplement our diets. Seed the little embryo of hidden future, a nutrient storehouse for the continuation of life. Whether producing the next generation or feeding the multitudes a life-sustaining force, powering succession.

If nature has been left to thrive, anywhere she has not had her being poisoned with pesticides or her body destroyed by the blades of a strimmer, you will be able to enjoy her abundance, and seed is indeed very much a part of nature’s great gift of sustenance.

Alexander seed head

I share here with you a starters selection of wild seeds that will add nutritional variety and flavours to your diet. Flavours from our own soils, that have long been forgotten in preference of the exotics that the original oriental spice routes brought to our shores.

Although living off wild produce may be possible, it would be a demanding full time occupation in our climate, but harvesting a small quantity of a variety of wild seed to add flavours, texture and nutritional abundance to your diet is fun and satisfying. Listed below are the few I have harvested and used so far, but of course your own finds, curiosity and needs can take your adventure much further.

Nettle seeds

My favourites and their properties.

  • Poppy – thiamin, folate, and several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, an excellent addition to baking.
  • Plantain – can be ground into a flour substitute or extender also a laxative given their high source of fibre. Add to pastries for add nutrition and fibre.
  • Fennel – Aniseed like flavour, anti-oxidants, many vitamins and minerals,  great for flatulence and indigestion. Also, add to summer salads goes well with grated carrot or cucumber.
  • Nettle – A natural Serotonin boost, multi-purpose uses, sprinkle in salads add to baking, make teas.
  • Black mustard – Good source of selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and several vitamins and minerals, great mustard taste addition for savoury pastry cases and sprinkles.
  • Alexander – Strong celery type flavour just a few seeds in winter casseroles adds great flavour.
  • Common Hogweed – The dry papery seeds have a great cardamom like flavour, added anywhere needing a bit of exotic  flavour.

From small bowl top left-Poppy seed, alexander, nigella, plantain, fennel seeds.

The purpose of this blog is to arouse curiosity and to tempt, to invite you to further explore the natural world and bounty all around us.  There are many excellent sources of information that explore in more depths all aspects of foraging such as nutritional and medical values and also counter indications, please use to further acquaint yourself more thoroughly, to progress on from the snippets  I share from my personal experiences.

Threshing black mustard seeds.

To harvest and keep your seeds check out what is growing.  You could start with my choices above, all coming into season about now (mid july). Cut the seed heads and place in a bag ( pick no more than 20% in an area) and help ensure next year’s crop by scattering a few about. Place in a dry sunny spot outside, hanging in bunches or place on shallow trays, allowing insects to escape. Continue to dry outside if sunny or inside in a warm sunny room or in a dehydrator. Once dry, thresh, this can be done by shaking the seed heads in a bag, then sieving out the chaff. Finally, gently blow any smaller bits off the seeds, have fun, store in jars.

Cherry pie with seed pastry case.

As for recipes, wild seeds are great added as an extra nutritional source and flavour to pastry, as here in a cherry pie I made this week. Wild foraged cherries of course, but summer is here and this year’s fruit crops look very promising. So here is a recipe I invented and it works well. There are many recipes where a sprinkling of wild seed can be added.

Pastry

1.5 cups of good quality organic flour of your choice

½ cup coconut oil

1 thsp sugar

¼ cup of poppy seeds

1/4 cup of cold water.

Filling

1 cup os cashew nuts, soaked for a few hours

1  small ripe banana

1 tsp of maple syrup

1 tsp of cinnamon

¼  cup of brandy (optional)

Cherries or other fruit in season-stoned.

Make the shortcrust pastry and press into an oiled 20cm tart dish (saves messy work tops not rolling out) leave to chill and then part bake in the oven for 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and blend the cashews with the ripe banana and add a dash of maple syrup and the cinnamon. Heat the brandy and maple syrup gently to blend.

Take part-baked pastry case from oven, spread the nut and banana mixture in the base, top with the cherries and pour the brandy sauce over the top, bake for a further 20 minutes, take from oven and cool before serving, lovely with a serving of blackcurrants. Would also work well with an almond base, a natural partner to cherries.

Plenty more to come from our wild relationship, thank you for checking in and until we meet up again, enjoy.

Seed is not just the source of our life it’s the very foundation of our being -Vandana Shiva

For more hints and tips, come and like my Facebook page A Wild Relationship. I would also love you to share your discoveries with me. ~ Paula

All content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only.

I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site, or found by following any link on this site.

Independent and expert advice should be sourced by anyone wanting to proceed with foraging. Consuming wild plants is done so at your own risk, I take no responsibility.

I am the legal copyright holder of all written and photographic material under the category ‘A Wild Relationship’ and the contents and photographs cannot be used to reprint or publish without my written consent.

 

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Paula Hermes
Paula Hermes

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