In early spring when there’s little to forage that’s edible, bramble tips are abundant. These small buds will become new shoots and leaves as the spring progresses.
Since bramble plants are invasive in their growing habit, there’s no need to worry about how many small pale green buds you break off the main stem. Brambles can grow 7″ a day in the summer, and every time a tip touches the ground it sends down new roots that then sprout more stems. And so the plant spreads. Needless to say, most gardeners and land owners dislike them, but it’s a plant with some amazing properties and gifts.
Bramble tips are a personal favourite of mine… but you if you’ve not eaten them before, you’ll need to give them a chance. At first they just seem dry, rough and astringent in your mouth. But keep them there, chewing them with your front teeth like a mouse to get to the inner part, and they will yield a lovely creamy, ever so slightly lemony taste.
If you don’t mind fiddly work, you could pick out the crunchy inside of the tips/buds (to avoid the rough outer leaflets). And if you gather enough, you could add them to salads or lightly steam/stir fry them.
You can also make the tips into a tea, which has a delicate flavour. Herbalist Lucinda Warner says it’s cleansing and tonifying to drink.
One of my favourite uses for brambles is weaving and crafting. I’m offering Bramble Basket woodland courses in Spring and Autumn this year, and an early summer Netted Bags course using bramble fibre. What a plant.