Pignuts – A little hidden gem for the forager.

It`s the end of May and the beginning of June and now`s the time to go foraging for Pignuts.They`re everywhere at the moment , Woods , Roadsides , Hedgerows and Riverbanks. They`re very east to spot and identify so hopefully this quick guide will make it totally foolproof for you all. In the photo below you`ll be able to see the actual Pignut as it`s attatched to the stem of the plant , uncleaned and straight out of the soil. The 5 White Pignuts below are what they look like once they`re skinned in a little Water. They`re ready to eat once they`ve been skinned.

Looking for the tell tale flowers whilst out and about is as easy as anything. They`re so simple to spot , small white flowers in May and June on a single stem of Green. The photos below are by the side of a country road.


Here`s a couple of close ups in the pictures below.The first photo of the flowers in bloom and the other of the foliage. Identification pretty simple.

I only had my camera with me at the time and didn`t go equipped with any digging equipment. I had to use a stone and a stick to get the Pignuts. They`re situated between 3 and 5 inches down in the soil underneath the stalk. Take care not to break the stalk or you`ll lose sight of them. The Pignuts are pretty hard to spot underneath the soil with their skins on and also well covered in dirt.

Once unearthed this is what they look like …little rough diamonds. The simplest way to clean them is just to venture into the nearest stream and  rub the skins off in your hands. You`ll see just how easy they come off with a little thumb pressure.

Once cleaned they can be stored in a container in the fridge for a few days , possibly for a while longer , just keep checking their condition daily. They taste quite nutty , bit like a cross between Hazelnuts and mild Celery. Use a little truffle slicer to finely slice them over fish or a salad and enjoy these seasonal little beauties.

20 thoughts on “Pignuts – A little hidden gem for the forager.

  1. He man, they look a bit like the young, small cousins of sunchokes. I feel a Noma post coming up or am I wrong?

  2. Great site and beautiful photos. I’m performing in The Tempest and my character mentions digging for pignuts. I hadn’t heard of them. Now I’m wondering if they might grow in Upstate New York! :-)

  3. Hi, I’ve seen some plants very similar to the ones above. Is there a foolproof way of telling the difference between the Pignut and say Burnet-Saxifrage and Hemlock?


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