Nature’s larder

Locally-sourced ingredients are vital when it comes to the freshest and tastiest produce, and very little, other than items you grow for yourself, is stocked closer to home than food from the wild.

And if you watched the recent Hairy Bikers’ Northern Exposure TV programme on BBC 2, when they visited Finland, then you’ll probably have been inspired to visit your own ‘green supermarket’ as one leading Finnish chef described it.

Our own Nasturtium flowers for garnishing desserts

Our own Nasturtium flowers for garnishing desserts

With some care for what you’re picking and eating, and maintaining excellent levels of hygiene, you can dine out on your doorstep.

There are plenty of wild options available such as nettle shoots and dandelions, and you don’t need to live in the countryside to cash in.

Towpaths and footpaths are popular pickers’ spots but take care in areas where dogs walk and if you’re picking close to busy and fast-moving roads be careful.

Legally wild produce belongs to the landowner, so if you walk on private land you do need permission. The law does accept that you can harvest lightly while out for a general walk though.

Public access and footpaths are fine but you must not pick protected species such as wild primroses.

Remember not to overdo your picking either, as the country’s wildlife relies on nature’s larder too.

And take extra, extra care with any mushrooms you might find. It may be safest not to eat them.