I was going to go out and look for Alexanders this week, but it's been far too cold for that kind of slow searching. Last year I found some in Cornwall, but I haven't spotted any near here yet. Maybe the weather will be better next week, but in the meantime I've settled for something closer to home.
I've been gathering ground elder since mid January, and by now the leaves are one to two inches across and it's abundant enough to gather a colander full in about ten minutes.
Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) now easily harvestable under my hedge.
The paler leaves in the foreground are poppies.
The great thing about ground elder from the forager's point of view is that no matter how much you pick, you can be confident you won't kill the plant. The terrible thing about ground elder from the gardener's point of view is that now matter how often you hack it back, you just can't get rid of the stuff. It's said that the Romans introduced it to this country as a vegetable, and most gardeners wish they hadn't bothered. The flavour is like mild parsley and it's edible either raw or cooked. Many people don't think much of it, but I like it.
I made quiche yesterday and had a bit of pastry left over, so I made my favourite ground elder dish, wild green pies. I had a bit of blue cheese in the fridge that needed eating up (to be honest, it wasn't blue when I bought it), a little leftover quiche mix plus one egg white, and some mashed potato. I chopped the leaves, grated in the cheese, and mixed everything else in, then wrapped it in pastry and cooked.
It could have done with a bit of seasoning actually. I thought the cheese would have been stronger, but it was still nice. I will continue using ground elder as a vegetable and a herb for a couple more months, and might try drying some to use as a substitute for dried parsley next winter.
Also harvesting this week:
Um, nothing. It's been cold!
Also drinking this week:
Foraged food challenge summary page here.