Friday, 17 April 2009

a gorse is a gorse of course of course . . .

The proverbial "they" say you learn something new every day. I'm not sure if that's true for all 365 days of the year, but I'm pretty pleased with what I learned today. Or rather, what I put into action after learning last night.

As my past posts will tell you, I jump back and forth between art and wild mushrooms here. More art than wild mushrooms – mainly due to the tiny seasonal window of picking opportunities. But this spring my foraging eyes have lifted off the ground and followed my nose up a few feet to one of the sweetest smells in the Ashdown Forest – and one that certainly baffled this Pacific Northwest grrl's nose the first time I smelled it.

"What is that?" sniff sniff. "Coconuts?" sniff. Honey?" sniff sniff. "Citrus-Flower-Coconut-Grass? WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!"

Then my nose led me to the prettiest bright yellow flowers growing amongst . . . the scariest looking thorny leaves I have ever seen! But of course I felt compelled to find out if they tasted as wonderful as they smelled.

So I discovered a wonderful site last night whilst searching out information on GORSE FLOWERS! It's called which I've bookmarked for future foraging information. They had a delightfully simple and fresh gorse flower cordial recipe that had me up and moving early this morning preparing to gather enough of the little yellow flowers to make a double batch of the stuff.

So today I picked GORSE FLOWERS . . . in the pouring rain and serenaded by a lone cuckoo (the first I've heard this Spring). I filled a 12 litre bucket about a fifth of the way up with flowers and snacked on a few in between snagging my fingers on the sharp thorny leaves. Once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy and only took about 40 minutes for 8 good sized handfuls.

The recipe was extremely easy to follow (check it out) and I've ended up with more than a litre (double recipe) – some of which I've made into ice cubes for easy storage . . . and for experimenting over the next few weeks! I'm thinkin' martini?

Meanwhile, I'm finishing off a sublime glass of ice cold gorse flower cordial and sparkling water (1 part cordial to 4 parts water). It is the perfect spring tonic! If you're lucky enough to have gorse growing nearby I highly recommend trying it yourself.

(NOTE: Always make sure you know exactly what you're picking before you put it in your mouth!)