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Wild Foods
20 most recent entries

Date:2010-09-19 01:13
Subject:baltimore md area

does anyone know of classes on finding/eating wild food in the Baltimore MD area? I've been reading about them lately and now I want to know more.

(1 got wild | get wild)

Date:2010-04-18 13:44

I heard that dock leaves were edible if cooked twice. So, when collecting ground elder to eat (highly recommended) I picked some fresh spring dock leaves to experiment with. There seems to be a lack of reliable information on this subject, so I present my results here. I am not an expert when it comes to the complex Rumex genus so no identification to species level was attempted. However, this specimen seems like a fairly standard English dock to my country eyes.

Raw, the leaves were acceptable, bland, and slightly acidic.

I chopped the leaves into approx. 7mm strips and boiled them in water in a small saucepan on a hob for about 5 minutes.

The resulting liquid was green, pungent and reminiscent of stinging nettle juice (these two plants are often considered to have some sort of affinity, growing in similar habitats. The dock is considered in folklore to be the antidote to the nettle). The liquid tasted acidic, bitter and dangerous. Adding dock to a sauce would make the sauce unpleasantly bitter and acid, and possibly introduce harmful chemicals (I do not know if there is anything harmful in dock) so I recommend firmly against doing this.

After pressing the cooking juice out of the leaves, they were tasted and found to be bland and unremarkable. All traces of acidity were removed to the taste: in fact, all traces of taste were removed entirely. The structure and thickness of the leaf had also been destroyed, and the remnants brought to mind thin seaweed in terms of appearance and texture. These leaves could be used as a spinach substitute, but as it is likely that most of the vitamins have gone down the sink and due to the availability of many tastier alternatives in the English countryside (not least of which nettles), I do not think dock worthwhile eating.

On final comment, the famous Lancashire dish of "dock pudding" is made using bistort, Persicaria bistorta, which, whilst closely related to the true docks, is a different plant.

(3 got wild | get wild)

Date:2010-01-23 13:41
Subject:chicory roots

I've just discovered wild chicory roots as a soothing winter drink.   I dug some this past summer and dried them but just now got around to actually making a drink.  I steeped the roots in boiling water for a while then poured the water into a cup, added honey and a bit of half and half.  It made a wonderful drink with the mix of bitter and sweet.   I had only enough roots for two cups and can hardly wait for summer when I can dig more.  Anyone else? 

(5 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-11-08 20:02

Dandelions are growing in SoCal. As the local fruit season ends with a last crock put full of pear butter, I turn again to the fields for interesting things to eat.

Dandelion/walnut/shaggy mane pesto
(A recipe with rather a lot of variations)
Read more...Collapse )

(1 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-10-13 20:46
Subject:my new book!

I've always wanted an edible wild plant field guide. I found this one at the store I work at (Great Outdoor Provision Company) but they also have it on Amazon.

I bought it because the field guide is organized by season, so its pretty easy to figure out what you'll be able to locate and identify by staying in the section for the current season. It has good color photos, maps of growing region, and information about preparation. I am a little disappointed because its late fall and most of the plants that can be foraged this time of year (mostly roots) needed to be located while the plant was still above the ground during the spring and summer.
I am extremely excited by the prospect of making fruit leather out of wild strawberries in the spring.

(get wild)

Date:2009-09-27 07:17
Subject:Wild Food in September (UK): Himalayan Balsam and Cherry Laurel fruit
Mood: contemplative

Hello, everybody. I'm new here, just wanted to share some of my recent experience with wild foods. Both invasive (but beautiful) plants are abundant by the river Hafren where I live (Wales). Cherry trees have plenty of fruit, and the balsam has flowers and seeds on different stages of ripening at the same time. After reading the articles here and there, I collected some wild food (under surprised glances from some locals) and made cherry laurel and Himalayan balm petals jam (I added to it a little bit of orange juice and plenty of brown sugar). I had to do quite a lot of skimming. Now I am very happy with the jam, its dark (apart from little bits of chopped pink petals) and doesn't taste too sweet, in fact it reminds me of true cherry jam cooked with pits (mine one was without pits as they are poisonous). We don't eat much jam at all, so I made just a little, mostly to use later as a middle layer in cakes. As for Balsam seeds I found them very tasty, sort of nut-like, but they don't need shelling. I hope to collect more before the winter. Happy foraging!

(2 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-08-24 19:02

small picture of my blackberry bush , click @ my journal for pictures of some raspberry/blackberry marmelades I made :) 



(4 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-07-26 13:25

We have a good amount of wild purslane in the garden this year and have been adding it raw to salads.  I love this plant.  Anyone else use it in other ways?

(3 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-07-15 13:24

I've been meaning to try eating cattails for years but am just now getting around to it.  I have pulled up some that have not yet formed the brown head and peeled the bottom part of the stem and discovered a snow white  inner stalk that is delicious.  Haven't yet tried cooking any but  I hope to treat them like asparagus and lightly steam and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Any one else?

(3 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-06-30 11:02
Subject:curly dock seeds

Those of you who gather the seeds from curly or sour dock----do you gather them when green or red?  I have lots of both  and would appreciate any more information.

(18 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-06-13 15:40

I have a lot of Queen Anne's Lace/wild carrot that I can pick, its growing as a weed in some of my garden (so I know it hasn't been sprayed).

Does anyone have any good vegetarian recipes for wild carrot root?

(1 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-06-01 15:23
Subject:This weed makes bread

I see that the last person to post here posted about eating the leaves of curly dock... only a month ago! Here in LA, it's already time to start eating its seeds (and we can continue to do so until the first rains, which may be in october or november if we're lucky). I did find one or two leaves still growing - very tough and sour! Probably still usable as a pot herb, in a pinch.

Curly dock, Rumex Crispus, is an invasive perennial found in disturbed places throughout California (and probably in many other states). I frequently see it growing in fields beside trails. In the spring it appears as a cluster of big straggly-looking leaves, and by this time of year (in hot LA) the seed cases have already turned red-brown.

Yesterday I harvested about half the seeds from a single dock plant and stuffed the seed-bearing stalks into my pocket. I stripped the seeds from the stalks (discarding the stalks and a few dried leaves that made it in), rinsed them in a sieve, dried them in the oven, ground them up casing and all. It would probably be fine to skip the rinsing and drying step, but I wanted to share this bread around and I prefer to avoid feeding my co-workers trail dust. The resulting flour had a delicious whole-grain flavor. I used it in a loaf of bread along with plenty of white flour (without the white flour, the bread wouldn't rise!) A little of this whole grain flour goes a long way; I wouldn't use more than a quarter cup in a loaf of bread. You could probably get a flour that has less fiber and is more nutritious by grinding it loosely and then winnowing out the seed casing, but I like its flavor.

My co-workers proclaim the bread delicious. I guess I'll have to go on another walk.

Careful: The red in the seed casing stains (I wonder if it would be useful in dye?)

Golden currant is also in season. There are at least two types of golden currant bushes - some have berries that mature from green through yellow to red and then nearly black, and are not sweet until they're nearly black; others are ripe when golden-yellow. I like the yellow-when-ripe kind best. It's not a fruit to find in any quantity, though, at least here; I enjoy it in small occasional tastes, fresh off the bush. Picking it in enough quantity to take some home seems greedy - not to mention taking much more patience than I have!

(4 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-04-07 09:27
Subject:Moral Mushrooms

Deer Women » Blog Archive » Morel Mushrooms

There is a great article written here on foraging mushrooms and preparation.

"This fungal favorite has been close to my heart, (or palate…) for many years now. The sponge-looking morel has been described as having a nutty or fishy taste, though I would say “woodsy” is more appropriate, however the descriptions seem to serve for distinguishing it from milder (more lackluster) mushrooms. Highly sought-after and hunted yearly, the morel is a culinary favorite and its hunters aren’t at all likely to tell you where they find their yearly harvest. Though occasionally found in grocery stores in dried form, you may be able to find the mythical morel in your own area, depending on climate and natural conditions. It will be significantly less expensive, as well, as the mushrooms generally are a bit on the pricey side. However, if you’re looking for something native, yet exotic- it is ideal, and a true gastronomical delight."

(get wild)

Date:2009-04-06 23:01
Subject:Nettle soup...

I've often used nettles in cookery - they're so common and nutritious - but I'd never made classic nettle soup until this evening.

My recipe was slightly adapted from the one in Roger Phillips' wonderful book "Wild Food" - and consisted of onion, leek, garlic, potatoes, veg stock, black pepper, and of course nettles. It was cheap, quick, easy, really nice to eat, and I'll certainly make it again!

(3 got wild | get wild)

Date:2009-01-19 13:35
Subject:Creeping Charlie / Ground Ivy

The "weed" I questioned about yesterday, appears very very much to be "creeping Charlie" also known as ground ivy.


Neat info:

" Creeping charlie's medicinal qualities have been known since at least the days of ancient Greece and Rome. Galen, for instance, recommended creeping charlie for inflamed eyes, and English herbalist, John Gerard (1545-1607) recommends ground ivy for ringing in the ears, according to Botanical.com, "A Modern Herbal." The same source reports the medicinal properties of ground ivy as being "diuretic, astringent, tonic and gently stimulant. Useful in kidney diseases and for indigestion."

Never is it wise, however, to ingest any plant, medicinal or otherwise, without first becoming thoroughly informed about its properties"


"you may be unaware that it is only a particular part of the plant that can safely be ingested -- whether as an herbal remedy, a food, or a drink."

(7 got wild | get wild)

Date:2008-10-06 22:56
Subject:blackberry picking!

A couple of weeks ago, I went blackberry picking!


Read more...Collapse )

(8 got wild | get wild)

Date:2008-09-28 00:08
Subject:Tree Identification Help

I found these small trees/shrubs on my parents' land, and I'm looking for some help identifying them. I'm almost entirely sure they're autumn-olive, but just in case I want to have a few other people back me up on that before I chow down.

PicturesCollapse )

x-posted to a bunch of places

(12 got wild | get wild)

Date:2008-09-14 00:06

I have three medlar bushes near me and it is coming up to harvest time. I usually make wine with some of them, but I can get at least 10 lbs from them and was wondering if anyone had recipes that weren't medlar cheese (blech) or liqueur. It's a shame for them to go to waste.

(x-posted to pantry)

(get wild)

Date:2008-07-31 15:03
Subject:Field Guide to Mushrooms

Can anyone recommend a good book that can serve as a guide for identifying mushrooms. Hopefully, specific to northeast USA.


(1 got wild | get wild)

Date:2008-07-14 16:03

I am looking for an online guide to edible seaweeds - specifically round the UK - with photos ... so far google-fu has not been productive. 

thanks for any info.

(2 got wild | get wild)

my journal