Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Home Foraging

Lately I have been reading about foraging and how it is such a great thing to do in the Pacific Northwest because such great things grow 'round these parts. Although I have been reading and looking at plant pictures, I was too nervous to go foraging and eat things when I didn't really know what I was doing.

But, because hippiness runs in the family, I was able to recruit my cousin, Laurie, to come show me the plants I can eat around my own house. I want to forage because a) I think it is cool to be able to eat plants that already are growing and you didn't even have to do anything (like weed them because they are weeds!) and b) it is free. Plus, nature provides some pretty awesome plants in the spring. Most of them make a pretty good attempt at detoxing all the winter shit in your body. I think we all could use a little help with that once in awhile! So, why not let nature help in the process.

Not everything on the property is medicinal or detoxifying but even if it is edible to went in my fridge. Some of these fancy plants included:

1) don't remember the name. But, let's just call it peppery tiny flower weed. We have about 6,594 of these growing around our house.

2) Horsetails (with a dandelion thrown in for good measure...although it is sad looking). This weed, formally known as son-of-a-bitch-roots-for-miles-weed, is actually pretty good for your if you eat it. You have to cook it though and you only eat the young stems when the leaf/stemy things are still folded upward.

3)  Dandelions. They really are dandy. You can eat the leaves, flowers, and root. It is bitter but that is good for you (something about liver and fluids). Plus, you can just add something sweet to manage the taste. I have been adding it to salad and stirfry. We definitely have a ton! Our farm could have been named Dandelion Orchard.
 4) Stinging Nettles. These bastards are like the superfood of spring. They clean your innards. Laurie suggested that I make Nettle Pesto, it was very good. Although, I did add a little basil too for good measure.

Nettle Pesto
makes 4-6servings


- 1/4lb stinging nettles
- 2 sprigs worth of basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2c walnuts (or pine nuts)
- 1T lemon juice
- 1/2c olive oil
- 1/2c parmesan cheese

1. Add basil, garlic, walnuts and lemon juice to food processor and pulse about 3 times.
2. Fill a large pot with water and add some salt. Bring to a boil.
3. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
4. With gloves, submerge nettles in the cold water and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard water.
5. Put nettles in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. This will take the sting out of them. Drain and let cool a bit. Squeeze as much water out of nettles as possible.
6. Add nettles to food processor and begin mixing.
7. After it is mixed well, add olive oil slowly and cheese. Mix until well incorporated.

We had ours with pasta (brown rice for me) and I even mixed it with a cheese sauce one night. It was delicious!

So go out and forage something it your yard. Just make sure it is edible. Call your hippyish cousin if need be.


TheAnut said...

This post is ironic as my Korean co-worker and I were discussing just that yesterday. At this time of year, she goes out on long foraging trees into the woods to find new fern fronds --- just like on your Horsetails, not yet uncurled.
They're cooked up and then hung out to dry. They become jerky-like and have a 'meat' taste she said. I found our conversation funny because I'd spent Sunday de-fronding the many ferns in the yard of their winter weary green and all the beautiful new growth is now visible. I so love looking at the new unfolding fronds, I'd find it hard to eat some of them. But then again, if I prune selectively ....

Cherl said...

Can you please post a dandy stir fry recipe? I'd be into trying to eat my weeds, but it's scary without a recipe.