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.

Have a little look at a video i put on to youtube on how to forage for these little beauties….and yes , i know that i mentioned the word “Pignut” over 200 times in 15 minutes. Here`s the link , just click HERE

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Auldo says:

    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. You`re wrong Auldo , i would never dream of going to Noma when Lenclume is only an hour away from me.

  3. meryl walkley says:

    How fab,im on the hunt;)

    1. JustAGuy says:

      these are illegal to dig for unless you have the owner of the lands permission

      1. What can I say ??? Don’t forget that I live in Cumbria where the men are men…… and the Sheep are scared.

        Always seek the landowners permission. ….Happy ? 🙂

  4. george says:

    Very helpful


  5. Jac Jolly says:

    thank you for rhe informetion can we faind these in west wales

    1. Yes , they are everywhere in the uk.

  6. Esau says:

    Thanks for your very clear information, very good Photos.

  7. Torben says:

    They look tasty! When would you say the pignut foraging season ends?

    1. Anytime now , i went out on sunday but couldnt see any.

      1. Liz ingham says:

        We used to dig for these as children….

  8. Daisy says:

    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! 🙂

  9. “And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts” (says Caliban).

  10. Andy says:

    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?


    1. i think the tuber is pretty foolproof ,the foliage you dont eat.

  11. joseph dicey says:

    brings back childhood memmories,used to dig them out 85 years ago,JED

  12. philtheworm says:

    Can they be cultivated in pots or a garden please

    1. Never heard of anyone doing that before but if they can do it with Truffles then anything is possible.

      1. philtheworm says:

        I realise that you probably may only get one tuber from a new plant, I’m not looking to make a killing, I would just like to have a go. I suppose digging a live plant up may be the only way. What do you think?

      2. Go for it….if it works then you have yourself an exclusive market.

  13. PAZ says:

    Can you find this plant in the USA?

    1. I don’t think so but I’m not 100% on that.

  14. loz says:

    nice!, try boiling them quik or frying like chips, there very potato like

  15. Just a note for the person that was wanting to grow these, you can sow them from seed. They are a perennial herb and the name escapes me at present (google it). They are easy to grow with a high strike rate for seeds. It kind of defeats the foraging tone of this cool article but i thought id let you know anyway:)

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