Thoughts from category: food issues

no bad things in our packaging

Scientists at Exeter University published some research this week linking Bisphenol A (a chemical compound used in some food and drink packaging) to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Which is a bit worrying.

We just wanted to let you know that all our packaging contains none of this bad Bisphenol A stuff, so there's no need for you to be fretting.

(more via the BBC)

even more foraging

We're suckers for a bit of wild foraging here at innocent, Ceri and Meera went last week in Wales and Lucy and the girls went last September by the seaside. Our Simon even does it for a living with the help of Carlos, kind of.

So I thought I'd have a crack at it myself on Saturday, but in the heart of London on Hampstead Heath with Andy ( a fungi to be with). Here's my haul which is largely made up of laccaria laccata, or deceivers as Andy likes to call them.


I also found that mushrooms that live on fallen trees and are the same colour as your wellie boots are edible surprisingly.


Spot the mushrooms.


Spot the foragers.


A lovely autumnal day for it.


Please note: Never eat anything you find in the wild unless you are 110% sure you know what it is, or the professional you are with is 100% sure. Especially if it lives on fallen trees and is the same colour as your wellie boots.

if you go down to the woods today...

You might bump into Yun.


If you happen to go to a wood in West Wales that is.


Yun is a forager who sources wild food for everyone from top restaurants across the land to the Queen herself, and Meera and I were lucky enough to go on a foraging walk with him at The Do Lectures last week.


We didn't find any mushrooms but in a 30 minute walk, Yun taught us some fascinating stuff.

Stuff like young blackberry leaves taste like blackberries if you chew them (sort of like Nature's very own Willy Wonka style product)

That crab apples are great for jam making (as they contain a natural source of pectin)

And that you should never eat anything if you're not 100% certain what it is.


Apparently, when it comes to identifying plants, you sometimes have to wait a whole year for the plant to flower, just to be sure which variety it is. And it can take years to learn about just one plant.

For example, gorse flowers smell of coconut and if you steep them in rum, they make a right tasty brew.

But you need to make sure you use English gorse flowers as the Spanish variety is poisonous.


Nice in rum.


Not so nice in rum.

But hard to spot the difference unless you know what you're looking for.

Yun also has a rule that you can't pick a plant if there is a bee or animal on it already, even if that means you have to walk another mile or so to find the same plant.

He also told us that the antidote to stinging nettles is not dock leaf (though they do work a treat if you can find them) but nettles. If you get stung, just crush some leaves into a ball and rub the juice on the sting.

All handy stuff to know next time you're off for a stroll in the woods, get a bit peckish and fall into a ditch of nettles.

smoothies are twice as good as we thought

It isn't often that smoothies hit the front pages of the national newspapers. So we were very excited to see some research that we'd been involved with appearing on the front pages of the Telegraph today. A very sensible and clever nutritionist called Dr Carrie Ruxton has done some extensive research into the world of smoothies. And it is her view that the government should review its guidelines and declare them as two portions. Hence the twice as good headline.


We won't copy out her full research paper here because it's quite long, but here are some of her conclusions. All of which seem very sensible to us.

"The steady growth of smoothies in the chilled juice market creates an opportunity to help more consumers achieve the 5-a-day target. This could be made easier if smoothies were designated as two portions of fruit, rather than being lumped together with juices as just one portion. Smoothies are significantly higher in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants than juices and meet the criteria to make a labelling claim for fibre content. Smoothie recipes contain at least one 80g portion of mashed fruit plus a portion of juice, and are nutritionally equivalent to two portions of fruit.The sugar content of smoothies is no greater than the fruit in its original form. In conclusion, the nutritional benefits offered by smoothies far outweigh any risks, and a re-evaluation of the 5-a-day criteria is justified."

Dr Shilpee has been in to see the Department of Health and Food Standards Agency a few times, and hopefully this latest research will help them to review the current guidelines and help more people hit their five a day target.