Monday, 21 November 2016

Foraging in Edinburgh: Store with Century General Store

The past few years has seen foraging have a little renaissance, as the principles of slow living and using our green spaces to the fullest have grown in popularity. Century General Store invited us to their autumn event, Store, which embraced these principles and the importance of keeping these traditions alive in a beautiful way, with Anna Canning from Floramedica as our guide.

Edinburgh is particularly green and ripe with foraging opportunities, with parks, forests and hills within the city itself. We can munch on some wild raspberries on a walk on the Water of Leith, find some sloes to make some festive gin or go somewhere fancy like Wedgwood, Aizle or Forage & Chatter for a foraged feast. Anna showed us much more than this on a walk near Century General Store's Abbeyhill branch, in particular that foraging can be done year-round basis.

With expert knowledge, Anna picked out various leaves, trees, berries and flowers which can be used for food and explained the concept of food as medicine. Organic foraged food is supremely nutritious and the variety of ways it can be used is fascinating. Nettles were growing in abundance and it was impressive how Anna was able to pick these with minimal sting. Her experience meant that she obviously had an amount of tolerance helping to prevent this! Nettles are one of the most versatile plants, which can be used medicinally for itchy skin and osteoarthritis, and have been used practically as dye and string. We tried some straight from the ground, crushing it with our fingers and it was very green tasting and surprisingly delicious. Anna also emphasised the respect that we should have for nature when we do forage for food and that we should never take more than we need.


After an hour or two of hunting through the city's leafier areas, it was then back to Century General Store's shop & cafe to try some of Anna's recipes and make use of the bounty we'd picked. She provided us with some information on the plants she'd mentioned and we were then able to make some of her recipes to enjoy. The foraged flora was put to good use in a nettle kimchi, hawthorn tapenade and elderberry balsamic; all super easy to make and delicious. It was so rewarding to know first hand how these plants can be pickled and preserved and just how healthy they are.

We were able to use Century General Store's gorgeous Weck glass jars to store the preserves, which are part of their beautiful homewares selection. It's such a joy to visit their Abbeyhill shop and browse their lux range of interiors which are selected to fit their ethos of making everyday living beautiful. There will be more events coming up with Century General Store soon so keep updated with their new Events page and Facebook page.

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