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Foraging in Fulham Palace…


Foraging in Fulham Palace with Jason Irving, we learnt about the plants we can eat, when we should harvest them and when we should leave them alone, for example nettles are good to eat in the spring and the autumn, mainly because they seed in summer and the storks become tough and inedible, great in soups, salads and pestos.  Bitter  foods, like nettles, help stimulate the liver and gallbladder, which then help us to breakdown fats and remove toxins, nettles are also used as a gentle diuretic. I am focusing on the nettles for a few reasons,  everyone can work out what a nettle looks like, they are not poisonous, and they are really tasty and offer many health benefits, I have included a recipe for watercress and nettle soup below. Jason reminded me how important it is to eat foods that are native to our diet and how far we have drifted from this. Most of our food is laden with sugar and carbohydrates or vegetable oils, and of course we eat so much, compared to our hunter gatherer ancestors.  Thanks Jason! So I thought, how can we get back to a diet that we were used to eating without it being too difficult. Here is a recipe to get you started:          nettles

Watercress and nettle soup (vegan, gluten free)


  1. Coconut oil (unflavoured)
  2. 2 small onions – chopped
  3. 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  4. 1 ½ pints of vegetable stock (or organic chicken stock for the non veggie)
  5. A medium bunch of washed watercress
  6. A medium bunch of nettles ( to prevent stinging just crush them into a paper bag and rinse them, ensuring they are not at dog peeing height when you pick them)

To the oil add the onion and sweat for a few minutes then add the garlic for a few minutes and the leaves. Stir and sweat until soft, and add in the stock and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes or until the leaves and storks are soft. Leave to cool and blend.  Garnish with some toasted seeds or nuts and a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Watercress: This is grown around the headwaters of chalk streams and often hydroponically grown. I buy watercress that is grown in its natural habitat, as we cannot be sure the plant is nourished with a balance of nutrients we are expecting to receive otherwise, in my opinion of course.

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