It has been funny old winter so far, such warm weather in February has seen some plants appear weeks, even months before you would expect. Traditional winter produce has overlapped with spring produce in a way I have never seen before. Winter chanterelles and scarlet elf cup fungi overlapping with new season wild garlic and rising birch sap is extremely unusual.
There are some great fresh wild products to look out for at this time of year, cleavers, nettles, dandelions, purple dead nettle, jack by the hedge, three cornered leek and wild garlic beginning to show are all fabulous plants to eat raw or make a range of dishes with. Please make sure you do your research, wild garlic in particular grows alongside lords and ladies, arum maculatum or cuckoo pint. It is a toxic and common plant with young leaves that are similar to wild garlic, do not get them mixed up.
If you want to try something a little different try pickling some magnolia petals in cider vinegar, they taste like they smell so use sparingly but they really do add something different to a salad. You can also use the scented vinegar to make beautiful salad dressings too.
Please do harvest sparingly. When you walk away look back where you just harvested and hopefully you should see no trace. We share much of this bounty with wildlife that need it more, look after it and it will be here forever