Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garlic Mustard Recipe Roundup

Microgreens and larger leaves
Garlic mustard is another wild, invasive green we like to cook with, creating familiar and original recipes in which to use this sometimes bitter, garlicky/mustardy plant. We encourage gathering and cooking as much as you can! The teeny sprouts that come up in abundance in the early spring are mild and can be used like microgreens in salads and on other dishes. The rosettes of leaves that grow next are tender enough to eat raw most of the spring, but will toughen and get more bitter as the season progresses. They can be quickly boiled and used like any other leafy green in recipes, whole, chopped, or pureed. We also like to eat the flower stalks that will shoot up in mid-spring from the second year plant growth, bearing clusters of white flowers. The thinner, triangular leaves that grow from the flower stalk are very tender, and the unopened and opened flowers are edible as well, all with a garlicky-mustardy bite. In the summer, the seed pods will form, and we'll eat them as long as they are still green and flexible. After the seed pods dry out and turn brown, we gather the black, comma-shaped seeds quite easily in abundance. The seeds store very well, dried and in a jar, to use for dressings, topping breads, and grinding into fiery mustard all year. Finally, the roots can be dug up and grated into a horseradish-like condiment, with a touch of vinegar. While it is an annoying invasive plant in many areas, garlic mustard can be used as food during all points of it's two year life cycle. Use it simply, use it in complicated recipes, just use it!

Garlic Mustard Recipes:

Garlic Mustard and Cheese Ravioli
Garlic Mustard Seed Dressing
Green Felafels 
Garlic Mustard Hummus
Garlic Mustard-Mustard 
Garlic Mustard Roulade 

Steamed garlic mustard seed pods and greens with butter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ramps Recipe Roundup

It's that time of year when Facebook is flooded with photos of ramps, requests for recipes, foodie blogs are trying to out-blog each other about their rampi-ness, and conservationists are preaching about sustainable harvesting. We are lucky to know of many, many places in Connecticut to harvest ramps, and we generally just snip the greens, anyway. Lots of folks ask why their bulbs are so small, and are erroneously told it's the age of the plant. The bulb size is small in spring because all the bulb's energy has gone into making the leaves and flower stalk. We don't bother to dig bulbs unless we have a very specific recipe that needs them, and even then, we wait until just before the ground freezes to get the largest bulb after the greens and flower stalk have long died back and the plant is storing it's energy for the winter.

Here's my conservationist preaching: Don't pick more than 10% of any large patch of ramps you come across, snip only one leaf from each plant, don't take more than you will use unless you plan on freezing the greens, and respect the land and don't pick in public parks or private property without permission.

Cattail Pollen and Ramps Biscuits
Ramps Langos
Stuffed Ramps Rolls
Ramps and Greens Stuffed Bread
Ramps Pesto
Ramps Pesto Potato Salad
Three Onion and Beer Soup
Ramps Bagels
Ramps Pickles
Ramps and Roasted Garlic Jam
Chinese Styles Ramps Pancakes
Morel and Ramps Biscuits 
Ramps Pasta

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Foraging for Early Greens

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), one of the earliest spring greens

Foraging is very popular right now. I find myself on Facebook quite often, reading through post after post of people just discovering the shoots and greens of spring and asking what they can do with the bounty. I see seasoned foragers promoting new books, and posting really simple uses for the edibles that are found right now. I thought I would do a round up of previous posts I have made about the early wild foods of spring, instead of rehashing what I have written before.
Click on the link below to view the post.

Hairy Bittercress:

Hairy Bittercress Identified 

Hairy Bittercress Recipe - Yogurt Bittercress Dressing

Wild Onions/Yard Onions: 


Field Garlic, or Yard Onions Identified 


Field Garlic Recipe - Cottage Cheese & Field Garlic Bread 


Can I Eat Those Onions in My Yard?


Chickweed Recipe - Creamy Chickweed Dressing

Japanese knotweed:

Japanese Knotweed Identified

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Fruit Leather

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Muffins

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Summer Rolls

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Jelly

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Wine

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Dessert Bars


Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Cold Dessert Soup


Japanese Knotweed Video with Russ Cohen





Violet Recipe - Violet Jelly