Monday, 25 August 2008

A taste of the wild

Growing and producing our own fruit and vegetables for use in the hotel restaurant is a very important part of our ethos, and we dedicate a lot of time and effort to this end. But there are also a lot of different plants growing wild in nature whose leaves, fruits and flowers can be harvested and eaten. You may find some of these plants in natural habitats such as forests or in meadows and others may be growing as “weeds” in the garden

Once you start to learn about these wild edible plants and try them, you will discover many new, lovely and very special flavours. In the restaurant at the hotel we serve certain wild foods harvested from around the farm grounds in different dishes. These include: Elderflower sorbet, Elderberry cake, Nettle soup, and Amaranthus served as a vegetable

Harvesting from the wild can take many forms; collecting the leaves from the appropriate weed in the vegetable garden, as is the case with Amaranthus, taking the tops of young nettles growing on waste land, harvesting flowers such as elder flowers or fruits such as black berries from shrubs growing in hedge rows etc. When harvesting these plants it is obviously necessary to do it in a respectful way, taking into consideration the possible impact on the habitat where they are growing.

Wild Amaranthus growing as a "weed" in the vegetable garden makes a lovely vegetable

Looking for and sourcing plants from the wild can be very enjoyable. It also helps keep you connected with nature and lets us realise how good a provider and nurturer she can be. She is not dangerous or something to be afraid of, as modern society sometimes makes us believe. We believe it is very important for people to connect with nature, and activities like this can help people realise, that we are an integral part of nature and we need to care for her, as she cares for us.

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.