Foraging with Kids: How, Where and What
Home-grown and local ingredients are very important to us at Luxury Family Hotels. At the Polurrian Bay in Cornwall, for instance, our sous-chef Garth loves nothing better than foraging in the hotel garden for salty fingers to cook with the catch of the day, lightly tossed in butter with a squeeze of lemon. Native to the coasts of South America and Asia, this crunchy, salty, slightly bitter plant now grows in a small pocket of south-west England.
Foraging with kids is a great way to get out in the fresh air as a family as well as to introduce junior diners to the idea that food doesn’t have to come in a pre-packaged form from the local supermarket. You’re legally allowed to gather fruit, foliage or fungi if you don’t intend to sell it.
Other great ingredients to forage in Cornwall:
• Seaweed. A lovely way to spend a day at the seaside – and a safe one, as British shores have no poisonous seaweeds. Edible varieties include kelp and dulse, which can be wonderful in soup – and also to add to a detoxifying hot bath.
• Wild garlic. See our blog on foraging at Fowey Hall, plus a home-made wild garlic pesto recipe.
• Elderflowers. Nothing smells more like summer, and the crisp flowers are delicious sprinkled on vanilla ice cream – or made into a tea or cordial.
• Blackberries. Easy to find and a great way of getting the kids outdoors on an autumn day. Try not to eat them all as you pick and to save some for a gorgeous Eton Mess.
• Nettles. Excellent in soup or pesto, as an ingredient for fresh pasta, or even on pizza.
• Sorrel. A wonderful addition to a wholesome frittata.
Tips for foraging with kids:
• Stick to easily recognised foods and don’t eat or cook anything you’re not 100% sure about. A one-day course can be an enjoyable way to learn the basics.
• Make sure kids know never to taste a leaf or other wild ingredient without first checking with an adult.
• Experiment with location – seaside, woods, hedgerows and moors all offer up different treats and new surprises.
• Don’t pick protected species, and don’t take a lot of any one ingredient from a single place.
• Browse cookbooks for inspiration – Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw has several recipes featuring locally foraged ingredients, including seaweed.
• Go out dressed for the changeable English weather – take waterproofs and walking shoes/boots or wellies – and make sure to have plenty of water with you.
See more on family-friendly dining at Luxury Family Hotels.