Alexanders are a wild plant /vegetable that grow in hedgerows ,woodlands and even on country roadsides .
When are they in season ? This is a prime example of a wonderful foraged plant that is available in spring , grows from February to June but best in April and May.
It is said that , Alexanders were introduced to the British Isles by the Romans .The tall fleshy green plant was called “The pot of Alexandria “ as the entire plant is edible from the flowers , leaves , stems and even roots.
They are sometimes described as tasting like Celery, Parsley, Angelica and even Asparagus by some, depending on how it is cooked and how you develop the flavour of the plant.
The flowers in bloom or even not ripened can be deep fried in a tempura style batter and dusted with icing sugar to serve with elderflower cream. Or just eaten raw.
The leaves while they are edible are not my favourite but they can be used in soups or very young leaves maybe eaten in a salad .
The stems however are my favourite . I generally prepare them like celery and remove the outer tough layer with a peeler or string them by hand .chop them up and then them cook as you like , steam or boil them in salted water until tender , drain and serve on hot buttered toast or make a meal out of it by adding a freshly poached organic egg and if you really want to spoil yourself some hollandaise sauce too devine !!!
Thestems of this really versatile vegetable can also be cooked and candied to use to decorate cakes.
You can find them easily along roadsides but beware of pollution ( from car exhausts , animals etc...) if you pick them there or if you find them in afield you may want to ask permission from the land owner or they maybe upset with you if you damage the plant .
If you are going to use the root , give it a good scrub to remove all clay, then peel it and chop it up and toss it in extra virgin olive oil place on a roasting tin and roast @ 200C until tender approx 15 -20 mins . Delicious
Happy foraging !