Swedish whitebeam berries are ripe about the end of September. Middle of September last fields of grain are harvested here. Now, if grain harvest wasn’t good, perhaps due to bad weather or fungus, people used the berries of Swedish whitebeam to supplement or sometime even substitute grain. The flesh has a mild, somewhat “boring” flavor, while the seeds, once ground, develop a pleasant marzipan type flavor, and are rich on fat.
Samphire is the accepted name for the plant Crithmum Mairitinum, although along the banks of the River Dee where my grandmothers and great-grandmothers foraged for it, it was always known as sampkin. It is also sometimes known as glasswort, as it used to be used in the glassmaking industry. It is known in France as salicorn, or “horn of salt”. It is also, confusingly, sometimes called Sea Asparagus.
Ramps, aka Allium tricoccum, are really wild leeks. They combine the taste of garlic with the taste of onion, although that's really somewhat of an oversimplification as the taste of ramps is bursting with other — so many other — flavors and nuances that they leave their actual essence difficult to verbalize.
"The Wild Wisdom of Weeds," by wild-foods advocate and author Katrina Blair, is the only book on foraging and wild edibles to focus on thirteen weeds found all over the world, which together comprise a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit. Blair’s philosophy is sobering, realistic, and ultimately optimistic: If we can open our eyes to see the wisdom found in these weeds right under our feet, instead of trying to eradicate an “invasive,” we could potentially achieve true food security and optimal health.