Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foraging Report 05/11/2011

Garlic mustard and ramps felafels with garlic mustard hummus
Another couple of weeks have passed filled with foraging for early greens, and now we have added edible blossoms to the mix. We have been working on some more recipes, especially jellies, and some ideas on what to do with all those greens.

The nettles (Urtica dioica) have really grown high. We clip the top 3 sets of leaves, and are willing to eat that much of the stem, before it gets too tough and stringy. We blanched more of the greens and put them in the freezer for use in the winter. Soups, risottos, Indian aloo saag (potatoes and nettles), quiche, and crepes were cooked, and we made a batch of nettle beer from the cooking liquid used to blanch the nettles. There was no grain or hops involved, but plenty of citrus, sugar, and beer yeast. The result is drinkable, but I wish it retained a bit more carbonation.

Garlic mustard
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) flower stalks have bolted and the flowers are blooming. Entire roadsides, fields, and yard edges are carpeted with the small, white, 4 petaled flower clusters. We eat the flowers and unopened flower buds, even though they seem to have a more fiery flavor than the rest of the plant.The top leaves along the flower stalk are more triangular then the basal kidney-shaped leaves, and more tender. They get a quick boil, and are chopped up and added to a number of recipes like hummus, felafels, scrambled eggs, and quiche.

Lambs quarters
Lambs quarters (Chenopodium berlandieri), sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella), and chickweed (Stellaria media) are growing in our raised garden as weeds, along with dandelions (Taraxicum officinale). All four make nice additions to salads, or can be puréed into creamy dressings for salads like potato or egg.

Japanese knotweed, violet, and dandelion jellies
Some of the edible blossoms we have now are violets (Viola species), dandelions, lilacs (Syringa species), and garlic mustard flowers. We made jelly from the violets, lilacs, and dandelions, and candied some of the violets and lilacs.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) shoots in protected areas are coming up. Robert gathered a few and boiled them for 5 minutes and we ate them with some butter and salt. I think they taste a bit like green beans, with no bitterness at all. In the same small, protected area, he found a few wild asparagus stalks. Cattails (Typha latifolia) are growing, but are still to small for us to gather the hearts.

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