Four Things You Can Forage In March

foraging-3I started following a few different foragers and “wild eaters” on Tiktok and they’ve really inspired me to explore my woodland areas a bit more thoroughly. I always think of foraging when spring is in full swing or even in autumn, but it turns out there are a lot of edible plants in winter and spring too; some mushrooms that emerge in frozen ground and hardy greens undeterred by winter chills or snowfall. Here are four fairly easy to identify edible plants I was able to find in my local woodlands not ten minutes from my house!

  • Scarlet Elf Cups: How fun are these mushrooms? Scarlet elfcups get their name from the vivid scarlet color and the cup shaped cap—can’t you imagine a little elf or fairy drinking from one? This mushroom is very distinct and thankfully has no poisonous twins, making it fairly safe to forage. They’re also very common, but often hide in the leaf litter—once I spotted one I found dozens more in the same area, but all a bit hidden under briars and nettles. While some people say it’s edible raw, most advise cooking or even pickling these. They can be used as canapés and stuffed with different herbs and cheeses.

  • Wild Garlic: This is one to be slightly cautious with. A few other plants that are dangerous have similar looking leaves; once the wild garlic buds the flower is very distinctive and will help you identify it however this early in the year not many are budding. Still I would say it’s fairly safe as every wild garlic leaf should have a distinct garlic/onion scent, especially when you break the leaves. So look for that scent as you forage. If it doesn’t have that scent, leave it! Wild garlic does have a garlic-y taste so it can be used in different savory recipes; it can be eaten raw or cooked. I like making wild garlic butter as it’s very simple and then gives you a savory flavored butter to add on bread or potatoes.

  • Cleavers: Also known as goosegrass and sticky willies (!), this sticky green plant gets its name from its tendency to “cleave” to clothing. Again it’s one that is hard to confuse with other other plants so usually it’s relatively safe to forage for. Due to the small hairs all over it is necessary to cook before consuming and is considered a perfect “potherb” or seasoning to add to stews, but can also be made into a pesto or used in teas. It’s good to harvest when the plants are young, like in March, or apparently the seeds when they are harden can be used as a coffee substitute!

  • Primroses: Here’s a very surprising early spring edible! I’ve been learning a lot of new things you can forage for and one of the ones I was most surprised by was primroses. The flower have a sweet rose-y smell and taste; they can be eaten raw or cooked. Because of they are a bit sweeter than other early spring greens these can be made into a cordial or honey, or other baked treats! Again this one is fairly safe as the flower is pretty distinct, but when not in flower the leaves of other poisonous plants can look similar—so I would definitely advise against foraging primrose leaves before or after the flower.
foraging-2 This list is specific to the UK/Ireland, but you might also be able to find these plants in your region as well! Most of these are fairly safe to identify, but I would still consult an experienced forager before you eat anything and especially if you aren’t based in the UK or Ireland please do look up if there are similar-looking plants or fungi that are dangerous. And some of these also have medicinal properties that can be good but could affect your health, so please be careful and research before your start foraging! This post is intended to help inspire you to identify and learn more about plants, but I wouldn’t advise eating any of these unless you can verify them with a local expert. Even more than eating everything I find I’m just excited to learn more about local plants. Learning these were out there and then going on a hunt to find them helped make a grey day a bit brighter. I never noticed the scarlet elfcups before or realized that cleavers and primroses were edible! It gives me new appreciation for these plants whenever I learn new facts.

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*pictures edited with my spring preset pack*


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