baclofen cream uses generic toprol xl side effects plavix 50mg tablets buy anacin cheap ampicillin uses for dogs ordering albendazole canada lov cost nitrofurantoin olanzapine 10 mg assistance with valtrex can i get amantadine current price voltaren difference between generic brand name cialis are ed drugs covered by insurance liquid nitrofurantoin review erythromycin to buy from europe generic brand for flonase s club 7 songs list generic name for benicar hct d4t stavudine zerit viagra professional comprar lisinopril reviews users where do i buy kytril is motilium safe for children is ciprofloxacin better than amoxicillin wellbutrin sr online usa no prescription best place to buy clonidine best canadian pharmacies online can i buy phenergan over the counter generic zocor price can you crush zithromax pills how to get levitra professional drug buy cheap proscar prednisone prices at costco what does minocycline do to the body generic from trazodone biaxin canada clomid without prescriptions uk is prednisolone better than prednisone how fast can you lose weight on wellbutrin no prescription compazine sale cialis canadian prices order aciclovir 400mg tablets generic tamoxifen citrate powder yasmin birth control prices trazodone cost walmart cheapest zetia online what does hoodia do buy dilantin 100mg online can order kamagra canada vardenafil hcl 5mg tab prednisone price walgreens hoodia legal in england buy kamagra jelly online uk what class of drugs is azithromycin in does januvia make you gain weight canadian pharmacy metformin inderal costo cheap us online deltasone generic chloroquine where to get brand levitra over the couter can you drink beer and take viagra med cab atarax lecithin vesicles for topical delivery of diclofenac evista online store pomegranate juice concentrate from dynamic health generic depakote drug what does ampicillin muscle relaxant tablets preis levitra 10 mg 4 stu"ck valtrex direct pharmacy order cabgolin us online pharmacy no prescription keftab feldene barato dilantin without prescription canada buy roxithromycin have no prescription bystolic online canada tricor 48 mg price buy tretinoin (retin-a) uk buy diet pills online canada donde comprar shampoo nizoral en mexico generic dilantin uk paypal cheapest alli prices methotrexate shortage ra no prescription ginette-35 can you order lotensin cheap capoten 40 mg how to get premarin in australia what happens when drinking on antibiotics buy amoxil online no prescription generic flagyl 400mg tablets diflucan canadian source buy zanaflex overnight shipping buying strattera online no prescription lithium 100ah battery uk version of alphagan comprar flomax en argentina generic advair diskus international dramamine cost in canada list of tesco stores selling toradol buy calcium carbonate pills order ampicillin online non prescription eldepryl buy on line buy generic geriforte syrup online seroquel overnight buy probalan online purchase metformin in canada where to buy imuran in canada safely hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg reviews allopurinol prescription medication fluconazole boots price augmentin 375mg tablets emc atacand order canada vasotec suppositories buy prilosec delivery uk morning after pill nhs free non prescription kamagra buy lasix from mexico online mail-order toprol xl discount canadian pharmacy diarex biaxin dosage instructions buy levitra online overnight suppliers of hydrochlorothiazide in us side effects of synthroid what are the main side effects of depakote cheap zovirax free delivery generic triamterene hctz 37.5 25 mg topamax prices pharmacy aceon prescription liv 52 brands india Purchase glucophage 500 mg cheap levitra plus buy online best erection medication market cost of nizoral shampoo insulin resistance treatment wellbutrin cheap uk chlamydia antibiotics zithromax e` piu` efficace cialis o viagra order ortho tri cyclen cheap buy ampicillin boots arimidex mg no prescription is generic retino-a cream 0,05 effective side effects of antibiotics minoxidil 10mg tablets depakote without a prescription from australia diclofenac order in the us generic lipitor ranbaxy buy isoptin capsules flagyl er generic ambien uk cheap costco pharmacy roxithromycin price plavix dosage too high phenergan online without prescription where to buy cheap generic benicar buy levitra 20mg online lamisil generic 2013 drugs promethazine price per ounce lioresal online sales buy cheap differin pills buying cordarone elavil 100 mg promethazine shortage 2012 buy generic cheap accutane without cost of avapro 300 mg tesco chesterfield road mansfield pharmacy research grade famvir 20 mg of levitra is to or viagra side effects of benzac ac promethazine overnight which uk site to buy lopressor anti anxiety medication for cats how much does maxalt 10 mg cost cialis usa today mentax canada prescription roche xenical orlistat avis sur planete pharmacie can you get pregnant while taking isoniazid buy ampicillin bacterial infections average daily dose of wellbutrin buy buspar online no prescription us glycomet no prrescription cpt code depo medrol injection buy terramycin online amazon actoplus met refill pack cost of zofran iv flovent coupon 2012 sex pill guru legit buy valtrex without augmentin ordering no prescription best site get buspar pharmacy that sells flonase lilly cialis pills what is the drug zyrtec used for viagra online without prescription super kamagra bestellen paypal lopressor where can i buy it antabuse capsules online canadian pharmacy no prescriptions what is prednisone for dogs used for myambutol without a script viagra buy over counter alternative seroquel canadian pharmacy avapro long term side effects of serophene buy snovitra super power 15mg online generic name ciplox actonel once a month australia celebrex 100 mg pfizer nexium side effects dizziness serophene 100 mg donde comprar finasteride madrid buying cafergot for dogs valtrex without a prescription from us prednisolone pills cats compazine comprar serpina where can i buy it how long is it safe to take diclofenac sodium order erection packs 1 cialis buy now can order ginette-35 canada cymbalta 40 mg dose hydroclorothiazide without rx trazodone generic brand fast crestor deleviery best erection pills in india where can i get some cialis soft how to get us prescriptions filled in canada stop canadian pharmacy emails estrace with no rx buy clomid with e check buy canada no prescription for nexium lowest priced celebrex where can i order retin a that ship to south africa can get antivert over counter doxycycline 100mg twice a day cialis jelly no rx brand viagra sold over counter what is rumalaya forte made of cyklokapron shelf life pyridium overnight delivery generic aldactone usa pharmacy $10 off $50 coupon code is there a generic drug for topamax order buy doxazosin online anacin in the uk now long term prilosec usage lasix iv push nursing buy atorvastatin cheap parlodel free delivery where to buy medrol online uk codeine promethazine syrup uk veterinary drugs no prescription buy pilex with visa what is zyrtec acheter brand advair diskus pas cher atacand generic list of tesco stores selling speman differin topical gel reviews allopurinol tablets uk common medication for anxiety micronase pas cher italie ampicillin where to purchase pharmacies abilify discount low eldepryl online forum best indian pharmacies zestoretic usa zyvox 600 mg price online pharmacy himplasia maximum dosage comprar ditropan online top 10 online vasotec sites prevacid solutab price order naprosyn overnight can you take zebeta daily to buy cialis professional purchase cardizem in us can i make micronase cialis viagra buy buy generic trandate online how to use acai berry cleanse and fat burn cleanse buy ceftin next day suhagra overnight delivery buy generic fosamax femcare legal us where to buy erection packs 3 isoptin 40 cena nizoral tablets reviews tetracycline generic for doxycycline maximum dosage sarafem 10 mg reviews cytoxan online order buy tramadol cod saturday delivery ordering prescription medicines online paxil perth australia metronidazole flagyl side effects in dogs suprax pharmacy online moduretic bula anvisa snafi tadalafil patients is topical acyclovir over the counter how many times a day to take celebrex generic differin paypal tadalis birth control online us craigslist new york city motorcycles purchase zofran online abilify cheaper generic zyban smoking cessation florida viagra professional cheap lithium batteries 3v what is the price of levaquin 500 mg ditropan next day buy prevacid 15mg online internal medicine alliance llc tucker ga mail-order keftab order promethazine cheap cheap alternative to zyprexa buy bystolic generic piroxicam dosagem comprare seroquel order aricept 23 mg wellbutrin sr where can i buy amantadine refill pack pilex pharmacy buy proventil without a subscription how to take carafate comprar zithromax espan~a periactin cheap price viagra in uk buy augmentin pill shortage canadianpharmacymeds com legitimate silagra dosage instructions bactroban reviews obtaining a viagra prescibtion where to buy cheap generic propranolol fluconazole capsules pravachol pravastatin 20 mg cost of alli diet pills generic zyban side effects i pill rosuvastatin website drug cheap content insurance uk where to buy ephedra diet pills ordering actoplus met pharmacy cheap abilify prescription finast 40 mg pharmacy canadian alliance physiotherapy regulators toronto avenue comprar periactin online ordering acai burn crestor price australia buy lozol tablets nimotop from canada to buy anafranil in uk 10 off code kamagra soft usa sale purchase acticin lowest price sialia sialis wiki minipress uk brand name nexium mexico companies only is anafranil a prescription drug fluoxetine 30 mg tablets buy viagra canada generic what does parietal lobe malaseb shampoo alternative buy promethazine paypal what are the side effects of naprosyn innopran xl where to get target pharmacy wellbutrin azulfidine dosage too high med cab aciphex online pharmacy noroxin rockwood lithium price increase arthritis treatment for dogs im toradol shortage glucophage medicine side effects 2.2ahr 6-cell lithium ion battery price in india fda approved pharmacies legitimate pharmacies online no prescription where to get bupron sr pct buy ampicillin online from australia hyzaar 50/12 5 mg 28 tablet sarafem costco penicillin online no prescription enalapril lisinopril drug class costco online promo code 2012 ashwagandha uses medication serophene rx zyrtec pharmacy euro meds online pharmacy glucotrol xl suppositories buy purchase strattera in mexico common antibiotics for chest infection what does digoxin do to the heart +canada pharmacies cialis mentat online ordering pct nolvadex australia trileptal cost comparison can you get inhalers over the counter uk where can i get some lipitor paroxetine best price what are the side effects of omeprazole viagra rx list finpecia india cost lisinopril india manufacturer can you buy nizoral pills over the counter is hydrea available over the counter buy doxycycline online no prescription united states yagara generico italiano what does trazodone 150 mg look like saw palmetto prices at costco zovirax mist canada craigslist belfast cas propranolol from usa nootropil by mail there generic form atacand lasix tablets 150 mg cytotec philippines order trim active plus ingredients dostinex canada drugs cialis soft 20mg without prescription accutane reviews makeupalley what is asthma attack strattera daily use reviews canadian online pharmacies methadone alphagan tablet sale roxithromycin brand order plavix shortage atorlip-5 dose best pain meds for arthritis drug market order olanzapine online pharmacy without a prescription cytotec comprar mexico aldactone dosage pre contest para que se usa compazine tetracycline dosage for gonorrhea betnovate pharmacy prices list z pack antibiotics sinus infection ventolin hfa retail price where to buy robaxin sildenafil over the counter australia sildenafil citrate tablets uk purchase premarin in canada can you buy revatio need pharmacy what does lamictal do fincar from usa buspar refill pack online grifulvin v purchase what are the side effects of haldol terramycin ophthalmic ointment for dogs side effects lasix on line without prescription diet pill allie viagra en ligne au canada januvia side effects lotrisone cost comparison red kooga korean ginseng tablets how much is indinavir tablets online arava india rhinocort online legally alli orlistat online buy korean ginseng online zyloprim online uk buying hydrochlorothiazide from canada no prescription rhinathiol for children dosage buy alphagan 15mg online kroger pharmacy jobs cincinnati methylprednisolone sodium succinate manufacturer in india atorlip-10 delivery uk acquisto biaxin sicuro online generic eurax us alesse birth control where can i buy chloromycetin to buy in england where can i buy prednisone tablets without prescription in the netherlands purchase levaquin 750 mg purchase impotency online cheap tadapox buy tadapox pills online cialis 20mg price uk generic abilify in canada what does diclofenac sodium ta do buy ephedraxin without rx can i buy viagra over the counter at cvs parlodel (bromocriptine) buy avodart online usa order controlled substances without rx online cheap flonase online moduretic delivery london como comprar prilosec lotensin without prescriptions suhagra for purchase doxycycline 100mg caps ivax lotrisone overnight shipping cheap comprar stromectol original en madrid differin online meds what is pfizer vgr 100 used for metoclopramide pregnancy class codeine and promethazine for sale arjuna online coupon code carafate comprare zocor sublingual dosage rocaltrol 0.25mcg cap us pharmacies online that sell lipothin amantadine no prescription canadian pharmacy online aldactone buy kytril 20 buy oxytrol in ireland buy actos inhaler canada metronidazole antabuse effect walmart drug prices cialis ciproxin 750 mg tablets anacin drug oversea tulasi online triamterene cheap buy albendazole uk consult buy trazodone without rx where can you buy acai pulp cialis stories minomycin order canada prevacid 42 count lowest price farmacias venden alli mexico baclofen online cheap aldactone tablets 40mg cheapest midamor to buy viagra professional pharmacy how to take nolvadex tulasi no prescription canada rhinocort results forum no rx ephedraxin online buying capoten for dogs liquid pamelor review kamagra coupon code doxazosin mist canada diflucan side effects in women depakote without rx online viagra professional india what is 1 cup in grams generic erexor switzerland vardenafil hci tablets low price desyrel uk atarax 10mg hydroxyzine exelon patch discounts early symptoms of chlamydia in men include best dosage of nolvadex for pct pill identifier m367 florida pletal pharmacy cod purchase capoten what does the generic for zoloft look like can trazodone hydrochloride get you high indocin side effects weight gain where to buy phenergan without a prescription ranitidine medicine online cheap villas calan bosch insurance jobs uk buy ceftin with visa viagra super active without rx lantus solostar pen needles size aciphex order on web buy imuran australia generic actonel safe what are the side effects of minocin can you buy mg betapace without cytotec buy online india seroflo 100 review differin prescription cost lipitor 80 mg price philippines where in the world is accutane sold otc flagyl buy mexico cymbalta reviews for depression para que se usa el synthroid how much is accutane in canada low price maxaman uk buy prinivil online amazon elavil 10mg amitriptyline hcl what is benemid pills used for over the counter fertility pills at walmart buy tamoxifen pills in the us costco glasgow christmas opening hours exelon drug interactions pain meds without prescription amaryl diabetes drug what does finasteride pill look like what is lithium carbonate made of buy micardis boots sandoz azithromycin 250 mg side effects flonase pills sweat flovent direct pharmacy trusted rx today us estrofem 2mg tablet periactin online prescription reviews on lotensin buy haridra perth australia where to buy promethazine and codeine cough syrup bathroom med cabinet maximum safe dose of viagra vpxl with no rx como comprar lamisil order alligator pharmacy zofran pills sweat cvs pharmacy online training 25mg viagra online do you need a prescription for cialis in uk order accutane online forum doxazosin mg buy lerk umbra french and indian alliances in the french and indian war international legal rx medications spam what is cipro mg used to treat forzest online price order inderal on line usa acheter finpecia reglan cheap uk otc viagra tesco lexapro dosages recommended there generic substitute levaquin where can i buy suprax in canada where to clomid
Know how

Article categories

Grow your own

Whatever the scale of your ambitions or plot you'll find something useful here.

Make your own

Reduce your footprint by making your own, from knitting to soap-making to adorning your home.

Livestock and pets

Find out about rearing livestock from the farm to the garden, and doing the best for your pets.

Energy efficiency and construction

Discover how to adapt, change and even build your own home to enable you to tread more lightly upon the planet.

Cooking, preserving and home brewing

From the home brewery to ambitions of chefly grandeur. Find out how to do it all here and really taste the difference.

Wild food

Subsidise the larder in a sustainable way. From fishing, to shooting, to foraging safely, find it among these articles.

Conservation and the environment

Conserve our world for future generations. See how you can help in these pages.


From shopping with a conscience to building your own enterprise. Find advice and encouragement among these pages.

Everything else

Sometimes the diversity of downsizing can throw up an unusual topic.


Past editorial items from the downsizer front page.

You are here: Home arrow Articles arrow Wild food arrow Top Ten Wild Foods to Gather in Winter


Top Ten Wild Foods to Gather in Winter

Written by Cab

Foraging through winter sounds like hard work; it's colder, it's wetter, you'd think that it's a pretty thankless task. And while it's true that you'll be wanting to wear a waterproof and a good pair of boots, it is surprising how many wild foods remain common through the dark winter months. That is especially true in these years of mild winters we have now; as I sit and re-write this article in the middle of December, we still haven't had a proper frost here in Cambridge, I'm still gathering sorrel and wild rocket. As the seasons get ever warmer, that kind of winter forage will be more and more common.

I'm not setting out to give an exhaustive list of things to gather through winter. I've just picked out some good, fairly common ones; a couple of fruit, some fungi, and some greens (a balanced diet!). I hope that after reading this article you will be encouraged to wander out and see what's growing. You could be very surprised.

(1) Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus cornucopiae)

The oyster mushroom is one of my favourite winter forages, although they can be found at any time of year. I've got a personal tradition of looking for as near as I can to the longest and shortest days of the year, and as often as not (if summer has been wet!) I'll manage that.

Now, that doesn't mean that oyster mushrooms are all hugely prolific all year. It isn't usually the same log or tree stump (the habitat of the oyster mushroom) that is fruiting on both days, more often it's a different patch. That's because individual patches seem to have different 'stress' responses; some to frost, some to dry spells, etc. And generally it's a frost response that gets them going in winter.

So look for them especially after a frost; anything from two days to a week after a hard frost. If the weather has been a little more temperate, you can expect to find oyster mushrooms fruiting. Use wild oyster mushrooms in just the same way as shop-bought ones; they're a tasty, textured mushroom suited to stir-frying, stews and soups.

(2) Blewits (Lepista nuda, Lepista saeva)

Field blewit, otherwise known as the bluey or bluebutton

Wood blewit; the younger specimens like this are easier to identify, especially backed up with a spore print, than the older ones. At least until you get your eye in.

I think of all of the mushrooms I've picked, blewits might be my favourite. It isn't just because of the flavour (although that's intensely mushroomy with some vague floral undertones). It's more because of where and how they grow.

Field blewits (Lepista saeva) are common on grassland, in parks, gardens, etc. across most of England from around October through until January (sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later). They're unassuming toffee-coloured chaps that grow prolifically in rings, the caps ranging from a centimetre or two across anything up to 15 centimetres or more. It isn't until you upturn one that you see the violet stem (this fades in bigger, older specimens), but it's when you lift it to your nose that you learn what blewits are all about; the rich, earthy, floral smell that will perfuse anything you cook with them. And, best of all, they're nigh on indestructible. They survive frost, they cope with snow (they'll be fine after it melts and runs off them), rain just makes them wet... and that means that no matter what winter throws at you, you can find some!

Wood blewits (Lepista irina) are more delicate, but more intensely violet in colour (fading to brown as they age), and if anything even more floral.

Blewits are a great accompaniment for meat dishes. They go very well with beef, pigeon, hare or rabbit. I like to exploit their aromatic flavour by matching them up with juniper berries, sage and thyme. In the East Midlands it is traditional to stew them with milk; make a sauce by softening some onions, add in the chopped stems, cook until soft, and then make a white sauce around this, with the sliced mushroom caps added and cooked in for half an hour. Season well, and serve on a bed of mashed potatoes.

(3) Nettle (Urtica dioica)

I know what you're thinking. Nettles? In Winter? Those unappealing dried up stems?

That isn't what I'm talking about, of course. Look more closely at the clumps of stinging nettle, and you may be pleasantly surprised to see new, fresh growth at and near the base. It will be intensely green, soft (still stingy!) and lush, and it makes capital eating.

Gather your nettles with care; wear gloves when picking and preparing them or you'll regret it. Wash them, removing any bits of old stem or any tough material, and then cook them through rather like spinach, adding a little nutmeg. Or use them in soup. They're tasty, and very nutritious.

(4) Chickweed (Stellaria media)

This is one of my favourite greens, and it can be found poking around the edge of fields, vegetable patches, pretty much anywhere there's disturbed ground. Its little white flowers and tiny little green leaves belie the fact that this plant has a superb, succulent texture and a flavour not unlike a cross between cress and spinach.

I eat this one raw, in salads, more or less all year. It is of course especially useful in winter when there is so little else around. Mixed with some lettuce and sorrel, it's a great ingredient in a winter salad.

(5) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)

We all know the humble dandelion. Many people seem obsessed with eradicating it from their lawns and flower beds, but for me it's a welcome visitor. It's a tasty, productive, and versatile little weed.

In Winter, you won't find many flowers (although keep your eye open and likely as not you'll find it flowering at any time), but you'll find plenty of leaves. And this is also the time to dig up the roots.

The leaves will be a little bitter; mix them in with some good lettuce and sorrel in a salad, and make sure that you sample your dandelion leaves before serving, just to make sure you haven't picked any really nasty ones. Serve the leaf salad with croutons and crispy fried slivers of bacon, and you've got a filling little side dish.

Dig roots up in early winter, and give them a good clean. Then you can dry them out in an oven, grind them up and roast them for dandelion coffee (tastes just like French coffee with chicory, pre-sweetened and kind of milky. Not to my tastes, but a handy caffeine-free drink nonetheless). Alternatively you can fry them in chunks in a little oil, add some soy sauce, and cook down till softened.

(6) Rose (Rosa canina and related species)

Rose hips start ripening in Summer, and through Autumn and into Winter you'll find them slowly bletting (softening due to the release of enzymes by the fruit itself) on the bushes. They're a superbly versatile fruit that is much under-utilised, I suspect due to the traumatisation of an entire generation with awful, sickly sweet rose hip syrup.

Any quick web search will reveal dozens of recipes for rose hips. From the infamous syrup, through to jellies, jams, and puddings all the way to some savoury favourites of mine such as rose hip soup. Dried they make a fine herbal tea.

Just make sure that, whatever you cook, you get rid of the seeds. Normally that's achieved by cooking to a pulp and straining, but make absolutely sure that you do not crush them as that imparts a rather unpleasant, bitter tang to the finished dish.

(7) Medlar (Mespilus germanica)

The medlar is a not-uncommon little deciduous tree found in the Midlands and South of Britain, being a little bit less common further North. Its fruit is an unappetising looking thing, kind of dull green to brown, with pointy fronds on the end of it. All in all not something you'd expect to be good to eat. It doesn't even ripen properly in Britain.

The tree eventually gives up on its fruit. Some time around October or November the medlars start to soften on the tree, to ‘blet', at which point they turn brown, pulpy, and sweet. Sort of like stewed pears. And all of a sudden they're delicious.

I like to eat them just as they are, squeezing the flesh out and leaving the skin, spitting the hard stones out as I eat them. But they also adapt well to pies and puddings. Picked earlier in the year before they blet, they make a super jelly, but for me that wastes what is otherwise a rare treat; a fruit that can be picked and eaten straight off the tree right through to December in a good year.

(8) Cow Parsley ((Anthriscus sylvestris) and related species)

Cow parsley - common as muck, but until you get your eye in, leave it alone!

Common as muck, but dangerously similar to other wild, poisonous umbellifers, I wouldn't recommend picking it to anyone who isn't entirely confident in their ability to distinguish it from the water dropworts, rough chervil, and hemlock. But if you are up to it, it's a great wild plant.

It forms little crowns of leaves in winter. You'll find it even through the snow. It is the nearest wild relative of chervil, as you can tell by its flavour. It's a super addition to herb risottos, herb breads and green salads, and I also use it to flavour potato soup.

Sweet cicely, an aromatic, sweet relative of cow parsley

Further West and to the North (and sporadically in the South and South East) you'll find sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) growing too. You find it less often in winter, but you do get it. The sweetest, most aromatic of the wild umbellifers.

(9) Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria), and Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)

Ground elder poking its nose up through the leaves and ivy in early December

Ground elder is a weed. It's a really common, evil weed that is a nightmare to eradicate from your garden. It's a common feature of Radio 4's ‘Gardeners Question Time'; panellists will discuss how exactly to eradicate it, and almost always the solution is to nuke it with glyphosate (except for Bob Flowerdew, who of course suggests that you keep digging it out for the rest of your life). I, however, would like to suggest a different solution. Eat it. With gusto. Sooner or later (probably later), if you keep taking the green leaves off it to eat, it'll die.

The Romans, who grew ground elder as a vegetable, introduced this weed along with several other wild umbellifers to the British Isles. Until the late Middle Ages it was found in vegetable and herb gardens all over the country, until the British decided that they really didn't like vegetables with flavour and inexplicably went off it.

And it is a superb green vegetable, but a sod to kill off. Use that to your advantage; pick the young greens throughout the year, making the plants throw more up. Use the leaves in salad when they're young and soft and cook them like cabbage (steamed gently) as they age. Even into winter, you'll find them growing happily in woodlands and hedgerows, and as long as they haven't got too tough they make fine eating.

Alexanders, as you see them in Winter

Another of the big, leafy umbellifers you'll find (most especially around the coasts but sporadically inland) is Alexanders. Another Roman introduction, it is a biennial or short-lived perennial plant that seeds freely on cliffs and in hedgerows near the Sea in much of the South of Britain. It's the tender, pale green leaves that form rosettes after the flower stalks have died down in Summer that you'll be picking through the winter. Be sparing, of course. Leave enough on the plant to see it through the harsh weather.

Use it in the same way as ground elder, but if anything it's even more aromatic.

(10) Apple (Malus sp.)

Little red crab apples - these ones were still on the tree at the end of January

You're familiar with crab apples, of course, and you all know what ordinary apples look like. But did you ever go looking for crab apple trees in winter? It's astonishing how long the fruit cling to the trees, sometimes persisting until the storms of January knock them off.

The sheer variety of apples you'll find growing wild is staggering; from hard little balls of acid, right through to aromatic, sweet scented giants. You can find a range of apples growing wild, right into the winter.

And as long as they're intact, they'll be useful to you. Crab apples may be tart, but use that to your advantage. I like to stack them under a joint of pork, mashing them in the juices at the end with maybe a little brown sugar to make a great roast apple sauce. I soak them in gin, with sugar, to make a rather savage drink to take to parties. They add in with rose hips or rowans to make a jelly. Be creative and you'll find no end of uses for them.