About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Foraged Food Friday: Vetch

I've always been fond of the pretty little sweet-pea flowers of vetch.

Several varieties of vetch

More recently I've learnt that it can be used as a green manure as, in common with other legumes, it fixes nitrogen from the air and so enriches the soil. For this use, it seems to be known as tares.

However, neither of these valuable attributes are the point of this blog post. As you've probably guessed by now, vetch is also edible. I believe you can eat the immature seeds, just like peas, but they're tiny and really not worth the bother. I've tried eating the pods, but the lining is very tough and scratchy, so I wouldn't bother eating that bit either. No, the part I eat is the young leaves (which are also edible in garden peas).

Young vetch shoots.

You do have to watch out for ants when picking these.

Ants are often found in the folds of the youngest leaves, which are the most tender

I've found that the purple-flowered variety has broader, softer leaves than the other colours. Luckily, this is the kind I have most of in my garden. They can be eaten raw but I usually steam them for five minutes or so, as I would for any other leafy vegetable. They taste somewhat like peas and are definitely worth harvesting, especially as they're so abundant. So, vigorous to the point of invasive, pretty flowers, tasty leaves (and seeds if you can be bothered) and they're good for the soil. What's not to like?

Also harvesting this week
Ground elder
Tulip petals
Dandelion flowers (to dry for tea, as well as eating immediately)
Wild garlic
Rose bay willow herb stems
Mint (yay, it must be summer!)

Also drinking
Blackcurrant cordial
Heather ale

Foraged food challenge summary page here.


  1. Hmmm... somehow, I think flowers that pretty deserve a nicer name than "vetch!"

    1. Haha, I never thought about how ugly the name sounds!

  2. Bracken, that's ferns right? What for?


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