June is elderflower season. In Ireland especially it comes dripping off the bushes in June, enticingly easy to pick and transform into anything from a cordial to a cocktail, a tabletop decoration or even a garnish. This time of year is in fact when the hedgerows come alive, with many herbs and fruits ripe for picking and foraging. So as the June bank holiday approaches with predictions for mild weather, and a distinct lack of scattered showers, we take a look at the top seasonal herbs, vegetables and fruits you may stumble across if you’re skipping town for some countryside comfort this weekend.
– Elderflower grows very well in wet or dry areas. The flowers are what you’re going for, the buds particularly for their honey-sweet flavour. Right now is the perfect time to pick them, so get loads as they will be gone shortly.
– Gooseberries are a plague for many; these literally grow in most people’s gardens and most hedgerows in this country. Tart and sour, they are excellent as a fool with ice-cream and a bit of brown sugar. The best ones are the early ones which retain their bitterness.
– Wild Fennel grows in abundance in the month of June and anywhere and everywhere, from near the sea to off the sides of the motorway. Picking wild fennel now means that you are picking it with the fennel pollen still intact, before it turns into seeds. The seeds are the most delicious part. Don’t take a whole plant, take only fronds.
– Wild Garlic grows plentifully in May and is excellent with scrambled eggs or in pesto. Very potent and absolutely everywhere!
– Wild Asparagus is one of the more amazing things this time of year, particularly served with some variety of home-made mayonnaise. It grows in well-watered areas that aren’t water-logged. However, it’s surprisingly difficult to spot.
Luckily, there are a good few of these handy videos to help you along your hedgerow picking way!
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna