Condiment Claire wants you to "look around and find flavours to forage"
woo spent the day strolling through a London park with Condiment Claire, here's what we learnt about fending for food in the wild
image Team Woo
words Darshita Goyal
Over the last year, a niche (but ever growing) TikTok community has been making a case for spending more time in nature or as the cool people say it, to touch grass. Among them, is TikTok creator, queen of funny flavour combinations and lover of pickled jam, Condiment Claire. In her videos, the half-French, half-Greek-American creator takes people through her family’s mills in the French countryside, pickles green tomato jams and moulds butter in adorable cow stamped containers.
Claire also does taste tests with hidden edible gems like salsify and woodruff that she discovered while foraging. If this sounds like your cottagecore dream, just know that actually, it’s way better. The London-based TikToker began documenting her journey with condiments, foraging and pickling back in the pandemic. Claire tells woo, “I never planned to be on social media, but I’ve always loved learning about really niche and random things. When I saw that there’s a whole other community of curious people online, I kept doing it.”
To get insider tricks on how-to-fend-for-food-in-the-wild, we spent the day with our ultimate comfort follow Condiment Claire, strolling through North London’s lush Queen’s Park. While the creator’s first foray with foraging was back in the French countryside with her family, she has since been exploring the green spaces of London as well. “My first time foraging in London was in the east with this guy called John the Poacher. He’s unbelievable, he hosts these tours where we walked for three or four hours and I realised there’s so many things that you see everyday that you don’t know you can eat.”
Among her favourites, Claire lists hawthorns, rosehip, pineapple weed, sweetbay and woodruff. “In fact [John] told me this park is actually great for foraging. But honestly there’s stuff to forage everywhere, if you look at really old tree stumps, there will be mushrooms sprouting from them. You can also forage fishy fig leaves or magnolia blossoms,” she adds.
While scouting your own food in nature sounds like an intriguing adventure, it does require a trained eye and some equipment. “I don’t want to tell you to carry a knife around but I used to have a pair of scissors in my bag to snip the spiky bits,” the TikToker explains. “And I always have a little baggie to store what I find along the way, so yes that’s a foragers starter pack.”
At a time when people can get groceries cleaned, sliced and delivered to their doorstep, Claire urges her community to make note of the resources surrounding us in nature. “So many times we go to the shops to buy thing that aren’t available. If you look around, you may find those flavours in nature, you just haven’t been exposed yet and when you do, it’s eye opening. The other day, I found woodruff, which is called foragers vanilla and I’m so excited make vanilla extract from it.”
To dive into the world of foraging, pickling and treating your taste buds, follow @CondimentClaire on TikTok.
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