Summer - wild foods & recipes

Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius)

Chanterelles or girolles are delicacy often found in the smartest of restaurants.  These little golden "treasures' start to appear in late summer, usually after a good spell of rain, and disappear with the first signs of cold nights and frosts.  Keep your eyes focussed on the base of silver birch trees where you may find these delicious, apricot scented mushrooms hiding in the undergrowth.  For more information regarding identification and look-a-likes see the Chanterelles page of our Wild Foods section on this website.

They have a delicate flavour that goes well with eggs or chicken - scrambled eggs with chanterelles cooked in butter are perfect.

Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Many of the daisy family are edible including dandelions, sunflowers and ox-eye daisy as well as the familiar daisy from our lawns.  The leaves and the flowers of ox-eye daisy taste like a cross between spinach and lemon with a peppery edge.  Added to a salad they add an interesting and unexpected flavour, and the unopened flowerheads can be preserved in vinegar to make a caper-like pickle.  

There are a number of recipes for Ox-eye daisy on the Internet but this one from Robin Harford at Eatweeds is one of our favourites:-

Ox-eye daisy raita
A delicious side dish to go perfectly with a spicy dish like a curry.
. 20g chopped ox-eye daisy leaves
. 150ml coconut milk
. 150g natural yoghurt or plain non dairy yoghurt
. Juice of half a lime

Put the yoghurt, coconut milk, lime juice and chopped daisy leaves into a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Bilberry or blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Bilberry is a low growing shrub found in woodland across much of the UK.  It has tiny, bell shaped, pink flowers in spring followed by the delicious bluey/purple berries that start to ripen in July in the south lasting into September further north.  They are quite small and require dedicated picking with little fingers - children love picking them, in fact they were one of the first wild foods I picked as a toddler.  Their flavour is similar to blueberries, to which they are related, but they have a slightly sharper taste.  Made into a tart or added to muffins and scotch pancakes they are a crowd pleaser, although most often they are wolfed down as you walk. Dogs also love them and strip the berries off the stems with ease.