Sunny Sunday foraging next to the Water of Leith.

Eric Swanepoel next to the Water of Leith, Stockbridge, with the wild foodplants he gathered there. 17 April 2011.

This is three minutes walk from where I live in the Stockbridge Colonies. An abundance of wild foodplants grows here, next to the Water of Leith.

One of the things I did on Sunday was to go foraging for free food along the Water of Leith near where I live in the Stockbridge Colonies.

In an hour I gathered loads of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) and few-flowered leek (Allium paradoxum, similar to wild garlic) and sticky willy (cleavers or goosegrass, Galium aparine).  I also took a few young leaves of common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), not to be confused with giant hogweed, which is poisonous!

Wild foodplants gathered in an hour near the Water of Leith.

In an hour I gathered two bags of nettles, a bag of few-flowered leek, some sticky willy (also known as cleavers or goosegrass) and some common hogweed.

From top left, clockwise: sticky willy (cleavers or goosegrass), common hogweed and few-flowered leek

From top left, clockwise: sticky willy (cleavers or goosegrass), common hogweed and few-flowered leek. Also visible is a pair of scissors and some gloves - needed for the gathering of nettles!

Nettles, sticky willy (cleavers/goosegrass) and dandelions - all edible.

All of these are edible, and you can make wine from the dandelion flowers and the nettles.

Here are some recipes for nettle wine. I started a batch as soon as I got home.  You’ll find my recipe for nettle soup in the comments attached to this post.

Sticky willy (cleavers/goosegrass) as it grows, with nettles behind it.

Sticky willy (cleavers/goosegrass). The young plants can be cooked and eaten like spinach. The older ones are a bit fibrous.

Few-flowered leek (Allium paradoxum), growing near the Water of Leith in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

Here's a close-up of few-flowered leek (Allium paradoxum).

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About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
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