Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wild Edibles Workshop - The Spring Selection

We had a long-awaited workshop here today - wild edibles of spring.  Our favourite local wild food/foraging expert Jackie was here to to walk us around the yard and pass along her wisdom about all the delicious abundance that is all around us.  She covered important background information regarding how and when to harvest wild foods so you are doing it safely and with informed knowledge.  Then she discussed nearly 20 different wild foods that are very common in our area (therefore difficult to over-harvest), showed us examples of these growing here at Little City Farm (luckily we have a large wild area of our yard and are happy to encourage these wild edibles freely) and how to eat/cook/preserve them properly.  Some wild foods need to be boiled in several changes of water, some need to be steamed, some are ok raw, some only in small quantities, etc. 

The wild foods we talked about included dandelion (using the delicate flower petals in a salad, or greens wilted into a stir-fry, or root roasted into a hot beverage); burdock (root sauteed); nettle (leaves made into tea, added to lasagna); jerusalem artichokes (roots used in a similar way to potatoes); greens like lamb's quarters, mallow, plantain, wild carrot, wild lettuce, wild mustard, wood sorrel); rosehips (made into a jelly, or "apple-butter" type spread); violets (candied, made into violet wine), and wild grape (made into stuffed grape leaves, or preserved for winter using the lacto-fermentation method with a salt water brine).  Then, there was some tasting...wood sorrel pesto, violet wine, and wild grape leaf dolmades...delicious!  She suggested going for wild food foraging walks at minimum every 3 weeks during this season as there are new plants coming out all the time.  We're planning to have Jackie back in the fall to cover Wild Edibles - the fall selection (nuts, roots, other tea plants, etc)...

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