Three of Johanna Knox’s wild food favourites:
Kawa kawa. ‘‘Such a uniquely New Zealand taste.’’ Quite closely related to black pepper. The heart shaped leaves and seeds are peppery and delicious. They have a noticeable anaesthetic effect, which is why Maori have long used them for toothache. Wait for the green fruit to go orange; ‘‘the pulp almost tastes like passionfruit’’. Kawa kawa can be used as an alternative flavour to vanilla in meringues and ice cream.
Dandelion. Leaves are at their best in spring. By summer the flowers and buds are the best-tasting part. Add the petals to salads, or dip the whole flowers in batter and fry (like onion weed flowers).
Nasturtium. Recognised by its big round leaves and five-petal orange and yellow flowers. Flowers and leaves add a peppery flavour to salads. They go especially well with cream cheese in sandwiches, or on crackers.