John Rensten doesn’t describe himself as an expert in foraging, he’s not a chef, or even particularly academic in the way he works. But what John is, is something that is vital to those who work in food and hospitality: outstandingly passionate. Johns knowledge of foraging foods is amazing, and always growing, as he becomes more interested not just in the variations of what can be foraged – but how it grows. In this weeks episode, he names at least four ways you can use the common dandelion.
Mushrooms, who knew? Well, some people do, but most us will be doing some intensive learning in this episode. Mushrooms do some amazing things and cover miles and miles of the forest floor without us even knowing.
By the time you finish listening to this interview with John, you’ll be wondering why on earth we don’t do more of what he does, and why restaurants and cafes don’t feature more food sourced in this way.
I’m talking about foraging.
To me, foraging is a no brainer. The foods you come across, whether they are roots, berries, leaves, mushrooms, seaweeds or flowers, are true super foods. The act of searching for them also helps your wellbeing, either because you’re enjoying it with family and friends, or, if you’re on your own, it’s like a form of meditation.
You might have ruled out this activity, because you live in a town or city. Think again! John discovered the rewards of foraging in London, as he explored his local park in Stoke Newington. You won’t believe how many different species of plant he has eaten from that square mile, but you’ll find out later.
Now that his home is in Dorset, John’s foraging patch extends to woods and the seashore, as well as different green spaces in the capital. Through his foraging walks, workshops and book, he’s doing his bit to spread the word about wild foods and just how fascinating they are.