Tag Archives: fat hen

365 Frankendael day 214

The largest female Ginkgo tree, outside of one of the British School of Amsterdam locations, is still doing useful fruit on the pavement. So if you fancy a Gingko nut forage there may still be time for you to gather a bagful. Please see my post about safe harvesting and preparation of this urban gift.

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Also today, in the Frankendael area of Amsterdam, I found Fat Hen, Chickweed, Dock seed heads and lots of Yarrow. Unfortunately when I had a chance to photograph any, there was too much wind so this is all I managed… A beautiful, feathery Yarrow, spreading throughout a lawn area. Full of herbal usefulness.

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365 Frankendael day 114

Beautiful weather today and a lovely stroll through the park.

Day Lilies (Hemerocallis fulva), beautiful, edible flowers, not to be confused with standard Lilies which are highly toxic. Please scroll through the photos on day 75 to see what they look like.

Garlic mustard (Aliaria petiolata) growing out of some dirt on a woodland bridge.

Garlic mustard seedlings, coming up for a second edible crop of the year. This is a biennial plant so although there is not enough time for these seedlings to mature and set seed before the frosts, they should survive and flower next year. Probably best to forage only from the second year plants (which are now almost over, foraging wise).

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is setting seed and what spiky seed heads they are proving to be! If you need to harvest some, it’s probably best to have gloves on and shake the seeds straight into a paper bag. I gave up trying today and threw the few I collected into nearby soil.

It’s still going strong in some areas: Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria).

First year Burdock (Artica lappa). This is what is needed if harvesting the medicinal and nutritious Burdock roots, is your mission.

Blackberries.

Fat hen growing In the shelter of a Beech hedge.

365 Frankendael day 84

Waiting at the bus stop today, I was delighted to see that there is a survivor from the council mowed Fat Hen (Lambs quarters) population in the nearby scrubland! Here it is, looking defiant and determined to spread seed, in a pavement crack close by. Not one for picking though as its likely been walked over many times and is so close to the road.  Its seeds won’t know the difference however and this little urban warrior may help to populate the scrubland next year. I do hope so, Fat hen is one of the tastiest wild* vegetables that I know.

*Fat hen was once a popular cultivated vegetable which fell out of favour for some reason. Perhaps it was knowledge of its high Oxalic acid content or simply that blander palates fancied growing and eating something more spinach-like. Whatever the reason, Fat hen (Chenopodium album) is now a scrubland and hedgerow delicacy which I and many others, love to find!

Later today I’m hoping for a little sun and drier weather as its my first Canal side urban herb walk. What will we find, I wonder…

365 Frankendael day 53

A busy day today, including a lunchtime reconnaissance mission to Amsterdamse Bos, in preparation for some private herb walks. So just a quick look at the herbs on the edge of the Frankendael this evening…

Here is a mixture of Fat Hen (Chenopodium album), Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) growing together on neglected ground.

Here is Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria)growing amongst some purple stained carrot family foliage. It may be Knotted Hedge Parsley but I need to check it carefully another time and in any case it’s not very interesting due to the similarity to very poisonous members of that family. There is one look a like of this plant, Sweet Cicely which I enjoy in the very early spring. It’s strong aniseed scent when the leaves are crushed is unique.

365 Frankendael day 51

I harvested a little Russian Comfrey today, to make a healing foot ointment. The plant is still in flower but the leaves will stay contain many of the active constituents. Also plucked for the table were a small number of Daisy flowers, some Ground Elder, a little Garlic Mustard and a few pretty Pelargonium flowers. The Ground Elder itself is still on top form for foraging although it is starting to become quite dirty in some locations, due to bird droppings and general honey dew dripping from aphids and ants in the trees above. So I would say that by now it is just past it’s best and I need to focuss my forager’s attention elsewhere.

Here are today’s photos:

Here is a White Dead Nettle, setting seed alongside the Middenweg and the park. I think you can quite clearly see how the flower and now seed clusters encircle the square Labiate family stem, quite unlike the unrelated but often mistaken Stinging Nettle. Both plants are edible.


Above is German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) growing close to the White Dead Nettle.


Above is Brassica rapa Wild Turnip. It smells of cabbage when picked and the flower heads remind me of broccoli. It was growing close to a patch of very young Fat Hen (Lambs quarters) but both were unfortunately in a bit of a dirty location so not for the plate tonight.ill certainly keep my eyes open for both tomorrow though as they are perfectly in season at present and make very good eating when cooked. All parts of Wild Turnip are edible and tasty.

I was also very pleased to spot some Calamints in flower for the first time this year. Photos of those tomorrow hopefully.

365 Frankendael day 50


I picked a small pile of Elderflowers today, from along the outer Hugo de Vrieslaan edge of the park. The resident bugs are now crawling out of the flowers. I am about to get going with the Elderberry Delight recipe in the River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook. You will find the book and hence the recipe via my Books page. So before the flowers are ready for the pot, here are my few photos of today’s edibles in this part of Amsterdam:


Above is Greater Celendine (Chelidonium majus), still growing and flowering useful but not one for the pot. This is a poisonous plant but the bright orange juice within the stems can be helpful to dissolve warts.


Here’s a pretty and no doubt tasty cultivated, scented Rose. It grows on a house which borders the park. Not one to harvest of course but there are plenty more like this in town at the moment.


Above, lovely and tasty Wild Lovage. This makes very good eating and although another member of the troublesome carrot/parsnip/hemlock family, the leaves are quite different from its relatives and, with a field guide, very easy to identify. Just a leaflet or two will add a lovely flavour to cooking.


Here is a first for my 365 Frankendael ProjectFat Hen (Chenopodium alba). I am very pleased to find it, close to one of the Frankendael bus stops in some neglected land. In fact growing alongside another lover of neglected places – Mugwort. I harvested some of this one for this evening’s meal and my cat is having a good chew on a leaf at present. He seems to find it quite agreeable. Fat Hen makes great eating and is a weed which does very well on fertile soil, such as on allotments. Generally gardeners dig it up and dispose of it. I suggest they give washing and cooking it a try. Lots of Fat Hen recipes are available online and in foraging books.

If you would like to join me for a walk around the richest parts of this park, then why not sign up for my next guided walk on Sunday 15th July?