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Foraging For Red Clover

The carry such a sweet flavour and are very easy to identify making them ideal for novice foragers, and fun for children as they hunt around for the famous four leaf clover.


When I think of clovers, I always think of Bambi, when greedy little Thumper is scolded for eating only the flowers, and not the green leaves. The densely packed flower heads of Red Clover (Trifolium sp.) are deliciously sweet, so its not hard to see why they are the best part. I've heard countless tales of children plucking out the little trumpet-like petals and sucking out the sweet nectar - myself included!


Red Clover

Identification

We're all familiar with the sight of the three (sometimes four, sometimes more) leafed clovers, which is a key identification feature for this plant. The leaflets are dark green with a silvery 'v' shape on each individual leaf. The flowers tend to be either red, pink or white, with the white being slightly more common - at least from what I've seen here in the North East. You can see the leaves almost all year round, but the flowers bloom from around June until September.


They're generally something I have to go a little bit further afield to find, as the council keeps the grass kept pretty short around the town centre and the estates, so it doesn't get much of a chance to flower. If it's something you're wanting to pick more than a few heads of, you'll want to try fields and meadows where the grass is left to grow long.


Red Clover

How To Use

Red Clover is traditionally used as a women's herb, and is used for relieving the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome, but is also recommended for stress and anxiety, and has been known to help soothe coughs and and asthma.


If you don't need to use it medicinally, it's sweet taste makes it an interesting plant to sprinkle on salads, to use in baking and to make teas and cordials. I like to mix it with a little bit of fresh peppermint from my garden to brew into a sweet tea, maybe with a little bit of mugwort added for health benefits.


I use a round metal tea strainer to brew my herbal tea; I just fill it up, pop it in my cup and add hot water. The general rule of thumb is to use about 2tsp of herbs per cup, and how long you leave it to brew depends entirely on how strong you want it to be. I tend to leave it no longer than five minutes.

Foraging Red Clover

A Word of Caution Just like with any herb, its really important that you do your own research before consuming Red Clover in medicinal quantities. Its recommended that pregnant women avoid Red Clover, as well as anyone taking blood thinning medication or hormonal treatments. Research to your own needs, and if you're still not sure you could always consult your doctor or a qualified herbalist.


Clover is a quite a familiar and easy plant to identify, but as always, if you have any doubt, leave it out.


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The Cramlington Forager

Here I share my own recipes which I use to make the most of seasonal wild food. You'll find handy foraging guides and plant profiles to help get to know the plants which grow all around us, and to start you down your own foraging journey.

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