Primroses are an early sign of spring and an important nectar source for butterflies.
Primrose is a small, perennial woodland plant that grows no more than 10cm high. Blooming in March and April, they are one of the first woodland plants to come into flower.
The flowers are a deep or pale yellow in naturalised settings, though there are now many different coloured varieties which can be purchased commercially.
The flowers can be eaten raw in salads or fruit salads or be used in custards, tarts and desserts.
The leaves have a spicy taste and can be cooked in stews, added to soup, or mixed with other herbs. The dried leaves can also be used to make a herbal tea/infusion.
A traditional way of eating primrose flowers is to crystallise them.
- Wash the flowers and leave to dry completely
- Make an egg wash by lightly beating the white of one egg with a teaspoon of cold water
- Use a clean paintbrush to paint the egg wash onto a flower, front and back.
- Dip the coated flowers into sugar ( fine granulated NOT icing sugar) and cover the flower
- Place the flower face-down on a tray lined with baking/kitchen paper and for between 1-2 days until the flowers go hard
- Once hardened, you can use the flowers to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and desserts.
- Crystallised flowers can last for up to a year if stored in a cool, dark, dry place.
If you are going to forage, please follow the simple guidelines:
- Always be sure you are sure of the plant before you pick it and never eat any plant you are unsure of.
- Leave plenty behind for wildlife. This is particularly important for primroses and early flowers as they are a vital early nectar source.
- Make sure you have permission to pick
- Only pick where plants are plentiful