Hazel tree catkins and female red flowers

Hazel Catkins and ‘Nutkins’ blog re-post by Forager

I met Miles last year in the Blackstairs Mountains at Eco Trails with Mary White at her Wild Food Summer School.  Miles took us on a very interesting foraging walk and he is one of the few I’ve met to make his living exclusively from foraging. He sells his foraged wild goods to restaurants in London. Here’s a blog post he wrote about Hazel Catkins which I found really interesting. His website can be found here.

Catkins and ‘Nutkins’…

Above you’ll find an image I just shot from the hazel trees in the garden clearly showing the male hazel catkins and the tiny beautiful red female flowers that will become the nuts this autumn once pollinated.

I have some photos from the huge hazelnut harvest that we got 2 years ago I’ll post here below.

Organic Irish Hazel nuts Organic Irish Hazel nuts Cobnuts

Was a lot of work husking them all and I recall there was 6 kilos of nuts! Unfortunately I didn’t dry them out properly and they got mouldy which was heartbreaking. I won’t be making that mistake again!

By the way I bought Miles book The Forager Handbook last year at the Wild Food event. It is an amazing resource I definitely recommend checking it out. See what Eatweeds.co.uk has to say about it here.

Wild Garlic Ramsons are in season

Delighted that the ramsons aka wild garlic is starting to pop up! At least they’ve started appearing in Wicklow. It’s always exciting to have the first wild harvest after the long winter and what a delicious one at that. Here’s a few images from last year.

Forage Feast Ferment

Forage Feast Ferment

Saturday 23rd April 2016    10.00-16.00

Takes place in a native forest in Glenealy, Wicklow about 40 minutes south of Dublin, 10 minutes from Wicklow Town.

Run by Angie Kinsella and Courtney Tyler this event will take place in a beautiful natural forest woodland setting. The morning will start off with coffees and tea and a quick introduction followed by a walk in the woods identifying some wild and medicinal plants, trees or herbs that can also be used as a food.

A very special meal will have been prepared in advance by Angie and Courtney that will feature some local, seasonal, healthy foods and fermented drinks.

Followed by a fermentation workshop where we will teach you how to brew your own homebrews such as a naturally fermented ginger ale and go on to cover other ferments as time allows. There will be samples to taste.

Please bring some comfortable walking shoes and wellies if needed. Warm and dry clothes to cater for Irish weather. Bring a notebook if you’d like to take notes. The event will take place rain or shine!

If you have any food requirements allergies or intolerances, please let us know? We will do our best to cater to your needs.

Payment in full of €85 per person by the 1st April by PayPal or bank transfer.

We offer a deal price of €150 per couple.

Early bird price of €75 each if paid in full before 1st April. Children under 12 are free.

Book online here to pay in full (early bird price!) https://www.hipsandhaws.com/product/forage-feast-ferment-23-april-2016-booking/

or pay the deposit to hold your place herehttps://www.hipsandhaws.com/product/deposit-for-forage-feast-ferment

or payment by PayPal to email address: hello@mayfly.ie

Or by bank transfer to:

Courtney Tyler/ Bank of Ireland / IBAN IE32 BOFI 9014 9070 2732 07       BIC BOFIIE2D

Please send this form with your details (copy and paste into your email) either by email to hello@mayfly.ie (easiest)

or by post to: Courtney Tyler, Chapel Lane, Glenealy, Co Wicklow A67X348 Ireland

Any questions, contact

Angie at: 086-358-1231

Or Courtney at: 086-376-4189


More exact details will follow closer to the date.
Here is the google maps link to show you where this will take place:

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you there!


Courtney and Angie

Rose-hip infused vinegar

Rose hips are easy to spot in the hedgerows at the moment. Did you know that all types of rose hips are edible?

Rose hips have the great virtue of being high in a number of nutrients and especially high in vitamin C. Rose hip syrup contains 300mg per 100g. This is up to four times more than blackcurrant juice and twenty times as much as the juice of an orange, according to Roger Phillips in his book on Wild Food.

Conventional roses are heavily sprayed with chemicals. Choose organically grown or wild roses only.

You can dry them for tea, make rose hip syrup or chutney or do this easy rose hip infused vinegar:

Collect rose hips in the autumn or early winter. Rosa Canina are the native wild rose in Ireland, but there are lots of Rosa Rugosa around and it’s worth your while to seek them out. They rose hips on the Rugosa are HUGE in comparison with the wild ones. Luckily in Wicklow, the council seems to have planted them in most of the hedgerows and along the motorways. Any rose hips will do, but be sure they aren’t sprayed with chemicals.

Coarsely chop the rose hips no need to remove the hairs or seeds yet (unless you’ve the patience of a saint)! Cover them in vinegar (I prefer unpasteurised apple cider vinegar- but use what you like). Let this infuse for 4-6 weeks and strain through a muslin covered sieve. You want to be sure to catch all the hairs as they cause irritation and are unpleasant. Squeeze the material in the muslin to get out all of the liquid. Add honey or your preferred sweetener if desired, bottle and label.

Drink this as a shot for a hit of vitamins and minerals. Or add a tablespoon to a mug of warm water, or to sparkling water or as a mixer. A delicious way to preserve the bounty of the seasons.

As the raspberries in our garden are often coming out at the same time of the year, sometimes I mix the rosehips and raspberries to make a lovely and naturally sweet infused vinegar or shrub.


Wild and Slow do a lovely and very informative PDF file which is free to download here. It has lots of recipes and traditional uses.