Squirrel Poo!

Sorry – a joke from my childhood. And one which only works if you know it was an advertising slogan for a chocloate bar.

For a long, long time I’ve been interested in British native plants. Sadly, my enthusiasm outstrips my knowledge and though I’m constantly trying to top that up, my brain is a bit like a bucket with a hole in it, so that no matter how much I put in, there never seems to be an increase in the total.

At the moment I’m devouring The Forager Handbook by Miles Irving. Subtitled “A Guide To The Edible Plants Of Britain”, it’s one of those books that makes you want to race out and engage with what you’ve just read. That said, I wouldn’t necessarily have to go off roaming woods and fields, as there are things in my own garden that I never knew were edible such as Rhus typhina (Stag’s Horn Sumach) and Centranthus ruber (Red valerian).

I’m doubly keen to do some foraging as I have a simple recipe I’d like to try involving hazelnuts, but as Miles points out grey squirrels strip the nuts off the trees before they are ripe, so you don’t stand much chance of foraging any.

However, I think I may have found an isolated source – a hazel tree bounded by a road and railtrack which is loaded with them, although I’m wondering whether there are contaminated soil issues.

In the meantime – Don’t tell the squirrels.