"the woods and fields are a table always spread"
ila hatter (lady of the forest)
it's nice to have a garden
but many times we pull 'weeds' that actually
have more nutrition than the things we planted
in our gardens in the first place.
ie. iceberg lettuce vs lambs quarters
in 1 oz raw lambs quarters @ 12 calories:
Calcium 86.5 mg
Vitamin A 3248 IU
Vitamin C 22.4 mg
Protein 1.2 g
Omega-3 fatty acids 10.1 mg
Omega-6 fatty acids 87.6 mg
and much much more...
try getting that out of a pale iceberg oz! :)
here is a quick video i enjoyed this morning
and wanted to pass it on-
and a portion of an article:
Free Groceries, Safely Foraging For Wild Foods
Tools For Foraging
So, you have a warm day ahead of you and you are ready to fill your larder with wild foods! What are some of the tools that you need to take with you?
Here is a list of the basics, as you gain experience there are things you will want to add to it.
1. A good, sharp pocket knife. This is good for cutting stems, pieces of roots etc.
2. Moisture-proof bags. You can use zipper closure bags, recycle plastic grocery bags, or sew your own drawstring bags with waterproof fabric. You need to be able to keep things separate.
3. A small shovel or trowel for digging up edible roots.
4. A pictorial Guide to edible plants in your area. Sometimes it is hard to tell what something is from just the description. A good pictorial guide is invaluable!
5. A moist washcloth in a waterproof bag for cleaning your hands.
Be sure that you get permission to forage on private property and be careful about foraging in state parks and preserves. Always make sure that you are acting with in the laws. Don't overlook your own front yard, though. One year we had dandelion greens several times a week harvested from our own front yard! If you have a few acres it is even more likely that you will be able to find natural foods at home. Like anything, the ability to find edible wild plants successfully has alot to do with preparation and practice.
A good rule of thumb is to take only what you need. Remember, the plants will die out if over harvested. Don't let the materialism mentality create greed. It is important that you learn to be a good steward of the bounty of nature. Taking too much of a plant will kill it, taking too many plants form a patch will mean less plants next year and eventually no plants at all. By foraging carefully you will both preserve nature and learn to live in harmony with the cycles of it.
Decide what you are o.k. with. For example, are you going to stick to plants and nuts or are you going to do some hunting as well? Are you willing to try crayfish, frog legs, or wild duck eggs? What about turtles? By adding hunting and fishing to your list, and keeping an open mind, you will increase your ability to glean wild eats.
The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
List Price: $22.95
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide) A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)
List Price: $19.00
The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants
List Price: $12.95
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
List Price: $17.95
Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
List Price: $24.95
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure) Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure)
List Price: $24.99
Some Wild Recipes
Following are some ways to prepare the free groceries you find. Again, if you are ever in doubt about the safety of a plant best to leave it alone!
Acorns are nearly everywhere and are amazingly versatile little nuts if prepared properly. The bitter taste is from the tannin so it is important to be sure to get all of that out before making your recipe. This is called leaching.
1. Crack the acorn using a hammer and shell.
2. Place in a blender with about a quart or so of water and pulse for a few seconds to make the skins come off and float. Skim the skins off and repeat until no more skins come off.
3. Grind the acorns in the water until it turns white
4. Pour the milky liquid through a sieve into a bowl. The material in the sieve should be ground again and then the process repeated.
5. Pour liquid in the bowl through a cheesecloth into another bowl. This material needs to be leached again. Add it to another container of water, shake up and then let set for 10 -20 minutes. Strain again through cheesecloth let sit overnight covered with water. All the milky liquid that passes through the sieve and cheesecloth should be allowed to settle overnight.
6. Pour the water off and cook equal parts of meal and water, about 1/4c each, to check for tannin. Tannin wil lbe easily recognizable by a bitter taste or the mouth feeling dry.
7. IF tannin is detected repeat the leaching process. If not then continue with the recipe.
2/3 c finely ground acorn meal
2/3 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg (chicken, or duck, goose is too big) beaten
1 1/4 c milk
1/4 c melted butter
Combine dry ingredients. Mix egg, honey, butter, and milk and add to dry ingredients. Spoon onto hot griddle and turn when top begins to bubble.
Cattail roots can be dried, ground, and used as flour. The pollen can be used as an extender to flour and also adds a unique flavor.But the easiest way to eat them is as follows, based on a recipe from Prodigal Gardens.
Cattails-on-the-Cob with Garlic Butter
30-40 cattail flowerheads, peeled
½ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
12 garlic cloves, crushed 1 c fresh basil or cilantro Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, salt, fresh garlic and basil together until smooth.
1. Boil cattail flowerheads in water for 10 minutes
2. Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, salt, fresh garlic and basil together until smooth.
3. Drain the cattail flowerheads and cover them generously with the garlic butter.
4. Eat them just like miniature corn on the cobs.
from Prodigal Gardens.
The unopened buds of milkweed can be boiled and eaten like broccoli
The roots can be sauteed with onion and garlic in some olive oil.
Leaves are delicious sauteed with onion, garlic, mushrooms, and bacon.
Can be steamed and eaten like an artichoke
This is by no means a complete list. Be sure and get a couple of books on the subject and start slowly. Gathering wild foods is a satisfying way to eat organic and save money doing it. There is something empowering about knowing that you can survive without a Kroger if you need to.
and foraging for wild greens:
In his book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus," Euell Gibbons noted how the first sign of spring would be not the robins on the lawn, but the Italians who would swarm out from town to gather winter cress from fields and ditches. Here are a few lines from the book, originally published in 1962:
"The suburban dweller seldom bothers to identify the plant which the immigrants are so eagerly collecting. Such knowledge is strictly for squares. He is satisfied to refer to it merely as "some weed the Italians eat." We have come to a poor pass when we think that allowing ourselves to be bilked because of our own ignorance contributes to our status. And still we think we have a mission to teach the rest of the world "the American way." Heaven forbid this kind of thinking. We do have some things to teach, but we also have many things to learn from other cultures. Unless we realize that cultural exchange is a two-way street, we shall fail, and much of the ancient and precious wisdom now residing in the simple peoples of the world will be lost."
Ponder that thought for a while.
hope you enjoyed a little bit on foraging
and don't be afraid to eat your weeds
(just be sure you know what they are first!)
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