Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Fresh Pickings

Fresh Pickings

Hi again!

Did you ever realise you could forage a salad from your local environment? If you would like to know which edible plants grow in the UK or how to make the tastiest salad… I have written this blog just for you!

I have recently been reading a book called “Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland” and have picked a few plants to tell you about that I like!

Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland


As a child do you ever remember sitting on the grass with your friends making daisy chains? These flowers are so very popular all over the world that they don’t even need describing!

The parts which you can use for food are the flower heads and leaves. The flower heads can be added to salads, soups or sandwiches and even for decoration. The leaves can be eaten raw but they do have a bitter aftertaste so some people prefer to cook them and may choose to use them as a potherb.

Daisies can be used to reduce inflammation in the body and can also improve circulation. Studies have shown that daisies contain 34mg of vitamin C per 100g. They have been used as a medicinal herb from the 15th century onwards and it’s believed that if they are boiled in water they are good for people with a fever.

The only caution you need to be aware of with daisies is that people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae plant family may experience an allergic reaction.

Stinging Nettle

I know what you’re thinking… who in the world would eat nettles as they STING you! BUT… cooking these leaves gets rid of the stinging hairs and makes nettle safe to eat. Many people like to drink nettle in herbal teas. I have been drinking Pukka’s cleanse tea in the morning and love it! You can find it here.

The leaves, flowers, stems and shoots can all be used for food when cooking nettle and many people put it in porridge and pudding. Nettle is full of vitamins such as A, C, B Potassium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Magnesium and Iron!

Of course a caution you must be aware of is the stinging fibres of nettle which can be more severe in some people, so if you prefer, maybe you could wear some gloves if you decide to use this plant in your food and tea!


Like nettle, some consider chicory to be a weed, however other people think of it as a beautiful wildflower. Their leaves are often eaten in salads which adds a sharp taste, or cooked as a vegetable and the roots are used as a vegetable too or chopped and roasted as a coffee substitute. I also drink chicory herbal teas which you can find here – this tea is one of my favourites!

The leaves and roots aren’t the only parts which you can eat, you can also eat the flowers in salads and the heart of the chicory flowers as a vegetable. If cooking chicory as a vegetable, try serving it with butter or cheese sauce!

Chicory contains vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron.

In Arabia, chicory leaves were once burned and used as insect repellant.

Caution: You should not consume chicory excessively as it may lead to digestion problems and weakness in the retina.

For another yummy salad recipe take a look here!

You could even add some figs and a dressing if you would like!

To forage more wild plants you can click here to download a document full of wild plant descriptions and photos!

Thanks for reading!

Charley x


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