Wild Edible Notebook—March 2015 Release!

WEN March2015 cover800 336x450 Wild Edible Notebook—March 2015 Release!

sassafrass 450x337 Wild Edible Notebook—March 2015 Release!

Sassafras leaves are dried and pulverized to make filé powder, an ingredient in gumbo filé. There is no evidence sassafras causes cancer.

Okay friends and fellow foragers, the March 2015 Wild Edible Notebook is here! For this month’s edition I am once again proud to feature works by several foraging and herbal writers in addition to myself. Big thanks are due to Wendy Petty, Becky Lerner, and Samuel Thayer for making this possible. Here’s a closer look at this month’s edition:

  • Making Things with Wild Thickeners – There are a surprising many wild thickening agents that can be reasonably substituted for store-bought kinds like flour, gelatin, pectin, and cornstarch. This piece provides an overview, and then gets down and dirty with filé powder, made from powdered sassafras leaves, and common mallow powder, made from the original marshmallow’s common cousin.
  • Does Sassafras Cause Cancer? – You might have heard that sassafras causes cancer, but there’s no proof it causes cancer in humans. Concentrated safrole extracted from sassafras has been shown to cause cancer in rats, but you’re not a rat if you’re reading this, and you’d have to eat a lot of sassafras to get so much safrole. I love my sassafras tea and I’m going to keep on drinking it. What do you think?
  • Foraging Tools on a Budget by Wendy Petty – I am tickled to present another original piece from my good friend Butter of Hunger & Thirst. In this story she describes her foraging toolkit, categorized from least to more expensive, along with how and why the tools are essential to her. Wild food foraging is indeed a thrifty activity that requires little to no financial investment. This story helps to make foraging more accessible to everyone.
  • Usnea Lichen: Powerful Lung Medicine by Becky Lerner – Hello? What’s this? An original piece from the talented writer Becky Lerner, author of Dandelion Hunter (Globe Pequot Press, 2013) and www.firstways.com. The story is about Usnea lichens–those slow-growing hair lichens you might know as Old Man’s Beard. The piece provides a useful overview of medicinal uses, identification, and even the author’s first-hand experience of the lichens’ spirit properties. I am honored that Becky shared her writing and expertise in this second-ever medicinal/herbal piece to be featured in the Wild Edible Notebook.
  • Book Review: Steven Rinella’s Scavenger’s Guide to Haute CuisineThe Scavenger’s Guide is an oldy-but-goody penned a decade ago by hunting writer and show host Steven Rinella. Here, a youthful Rinella chases unusual game—from pigeons, invasive English sparrows, and wild boar to seafood, fish, fowl, and big game—to create a historic meal featuring 45 dishes from the 1907 cookbook, Le Guide Culinaire, by Auguste Escoffier. It’s a cool adventure—a read that hunters, invasive species eaters, meat-lovers, and creative cooks are likely to appreciate. Also, Steven Rinella has a great sense of humor.
  • Rinella’s Meat Eater is Hunting, for Real by Samuel Thayer – Foraging author Sam Thayer invited me to print his review of a more recent book by Steven Rinella: Meat Eater (2013). The book consists of “real stories about a real hunter pursuing animals for all the reasons that people actually do that,” Sam writes, concluding: “finally, someone who thinks about hunting like I do.”
  • Wild-Thickened Porcini, Barley, & Sausage Soup – I made a big pot of barley soup in a porcini broth, then played with 2 handmade wild thickeners—common mallow powder and filé powder—along with some Cajun sausage. This recipe is the story of that.
  • South-of-the-Border Turkey, Duck, & Acorn Stew – Turkey and duck soup should be good anyway, but try adding acorn flour to thicken it into a nutty, rich stew, plus chipotle, cilantro, and lime for a South-of-the-Border flair. Sooo gooood.
Subscribe to Read

Read the March 2015 issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/month. The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled, 50-page monthly magazine available in two subscription types:

  • OPTION #1: Your Choice of PDFs – We create multiple PDF versions of each month’s Notebook and post them here on the Member Profile & Downloads page. The versions are: 1) a screen reader/tablet version, and 2) a print-and-fold, to be printed 2-sided on legal size 8.5”x14” paper. Subscribers can download both formats. When you sign up, you get access to the past several issues plus each new issue as it comes out. Back issues are removed from the subscription periodically, but you can keep permanent copies if you download the files to your machine before that happens. Go to Wild Edible Notebook to subscribe to the PDFs via Paypal.
  • OPTION #2: iPad/iPhone App – We also have an iPad/iPhone app version of the Wild Edible Notebook, available through the App Store in the form of a Newsstand magazine. Permanent downloads are not available with this option, but it’s easy to use, and you will be able to access a year’s worth of content and counting as long as you are subscribed.
  • FREE SAMPLES – Check out a few free issues by joining the email list (scroll to the very bottom of this page and type your name and email address). You will receive an email with a link to the free download area (check your spam box if you don’t receive the email), where you can get a couple of the past Notebooks for free.

Wild Edible Notebook—February 2015 Release!

WEN Feb2015 cover 800 336x450 Wild Edible Notebook—February 2015 Release!The February 2015 Wild Edible Notebook is here! In this month’s edition, I am pleased to feature two stories from contributing authors—a mouth-watering original piece on wild savory pies from Colorado-based wild food teacher and blogger Wendy Petty (hungerandthirstforlife.blogspot.com), followed by a look at five wild flu preventatives by Pennsylvania-based forager Adam Haritan of wildfoodism.com. Next, we take an in-depth look at Thomas Elpel’s new guide, Foraging the Mountain West, followed by a handful of wild-accented recipes.

Here’s a closer look at this month’s edition:

  • Savory Wild Pies by Wendy Petty, aka Butterboweredbike or simply “Butter” – Just because we’re wild food foragers doesn’t mean we have to eat twigs and berries. And just because something is called a “pie” doesn’t mean it has to be sweet. Why not wrap your wild game, roots, and greens up in “lovely pastry” to make hand-held pies, quiches, pot pies, and empanadas? In this piece, penned special for the Wild Edible Notebook, Butter inspires as she tells us what to do and how to do it.
  • Basic Pie Dough by Wendy Petty – Do you want to make savory pies but dough is a mystery to you? Here’s Butter’s recipe. It includes the easy way, and the easier way, which requires a food processor.
  • Five Natural Flu Preventatives by Adam Haritan – The more I get to know Adam Haritan, the more excited I am about this up-and-coming young wild food and nutrition writer. He pores through the scientific literature to report on emerging research in a thought-provoking and compelling manner. In this piece, he shares his wild immune system strategy, which includes dandelion, black currant, ginseng, chaga, and reishi.
  • Wild-Simulated Ginseng & Lab-Grown Chaga – Wild American ginseng is an endangered species, up there with the mountain gorilla and black rhino. Chaga is quite common in wooded northern regions, but growing demand from nutrient supplement companies has led to widespread and potentially damaging harvest. Some say growing ginseng and chaga is the best option. What do you think?
  • A Patterns Method for Wild Food: Thomas Elpel’s Foraging the Mountain West – You may know Thomas Elpel for his seminal work, Botany in a Day, which teaches patterns for identifying a plant’s family and species, along with edibility and medicinal characteristics. In his latest book, Foraging the Mountain West (2014), Elpel and co-author Kris Reed expand on the edibility points from Botany in a Day to offer nearly 350 pages of information on wild food foraging in the Rocky Mountains. This story is my in-depth review of this useful and interesting guide.
  • Crock Pot Dock & Beans – Dock lovers and wannabe dock lovers, here’s how to make a tasty, chipotle-infused pot of dock and beans. Serve this with the next two recipes for the full-on experience of what my bf (best fiancé) Gregg terms “chile stew fit for a king.”
  • Cornmeal & Pine Nut Dumplings – I foraged the pine nuts from Colorado’s wilds, and served them inside hearty cornmeal dumplings plopped and steamed right in the crock pot on top of the aforementioned beans.
  • Plum Vinegar-Kissed Tomatillo Salsa – I make a mean tomatillo salsa with caramelized tomatillos, jalapeños, and onions. A pinch of sugar tones the flavor a touch sweet; a splash of wild plum-infused vinegar adds a sour pop. Eat with beans and dumplings. Heck yeah.
Subscribe to Read

Read the February 2015 issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/month. The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled, 50-page monthly magazine available in two subscription types:

  • OPTION #1: Your Choice of PDFs – We create multiple PDF versions of each month’s Notebook and post them here on the Member Profile & Downloads page. The versions are: 1) a screen reader/tablet version, and 2) a print-and-fold, to be printed 2-sided on legal size 8.5”x14” paper. Subscribers can download both formats. When you sign up, you get access to the past several issues plus each new issue as it comes out. Back issues are removed from the subscription periodically, but you can keep permanent copies if you download the files to your machine before that happens. Go to Wild Edible Notebook to subscribe to the PDFs via Paypal.
  • OPTION #2: iPad/iPhone App – We also have an iPad/iPhone app version of the Wild Edible Notebook, available through the App Store in the form of a Newsstand magazine. Permanent downloads are not available with this option, but it’s easy to use, and you will be able to access a year’s worth of content and counting as long as you are subscribed.
  • FREE SAMPLES – Check out a few free issues by joining the email list (scroll to the very bottom of this page and type your name and email address). You will receive an email with a link to the free download area (check your spam box if you don’t receive the email), where you can get a couple of the past Notebooks for free.

Wild Edible Notebook—January 2015 Release!

WEN January2015 cover 800 336x450  Wild Edible Notebook—January 2015 Release!The January 2015 Wild Edible Notebook is here! Please join me in welcoming 2015 with an exploration of flours and powders made from dried wild fruits, which can make for interesting, gluten-free, sweet additions to a range of foods from hot cereals to baked goods. Even the seeds and pits of some fruits can be ground into flour, in some cases after processing them to remove toxins first—another topic explored in this month’s edition. The January 2015 Notebook also features an expanded wild cookery section.

Here’s a closer look at this month’s edition:

  • Flours From Fruit & Stone – I ground dried serviceberries into flour—the seeds along with the fruit—and used it in baked goods and pancakes. This made for a complex flavor beyond the simple sweetness of solitary fruit. The experience led to an inquiry into the chemical contents of seeds and pits of Rose family fruits like wild plums, apricots, and chokecherries—some of which are known to be quite toxic. And yet, even though their pits produce poisonous cyanide, chokecherries were crushed and dried whole for food by native groups. How does that work? Could we do the same with other Rose family seeds and pits?
  • Stone Fruit Kernels as Cancer Cure? – Didn’t I hear somewhere that eating apricot kernels was good for you? Wait, didn’t I hear somewhere else that it was poisonous? Here’s a quick review of both takes.
  • Wild Fruit Powders – Not looking to grind cyanide into your flour? Try these benign wild fruit powder or flour ideas, including oatmeal cookies made with feral apple powder and hickory nuts, and powdered black currants for flavor and color.
  • Survivalism & Serviceberry Kombucha – My friend and ski area colleague Ted Amenta shares his serviceberry ginger kombucha recipe, made with whole dried serviceberries, along with his perspective on wild food.
  • Wild Black Biscotti – Black currant and black walnuts combine to make an absolutely perfect biscotti.
  • Serviceberry Cookie Balls – Also known as “Purple Balls,” these cookie balls are a sexy wild twist on a traditional holiday favorite.
  • Pancakes with Acorn & Serviceberry Flour – Serviceberry flour and acorn flour combine for some wild, dark, and tasty hot cakes.
  • Wild Griddle Cakes Supreme – Got leftover pancakes? Top them with an egg, protein, and sweet syrup for a morning treat that can’t be beat. I should know. I ate this for breakfast three days in a row.
  • Nettles, Squash & Cream – More wild-accented turkey soup experiments from yours truly, made with repurposed carcasses rescued from this year’s family holiday dinners. Nettles, squash, and cream—it’s a dream, I swear!
black biscotti 450x299  Wild Edible Notebook—January 2015 Release!

“Black Biscotti” made with trailing black currant powder and wild black walnuts. A perfect combination, I swear.

Read this issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/month. The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled, 50-page monthly magazine available in two subscription types:

  • OPTION #1: Your Choice of PDFs – We create 3 different PDF versions of each month’s Notebook and post them here on the Member Profile & Downloads page. The versions are: 1) a screen reader formatted to fit an iPad or to be viewed on any monitor; 2) an “Android-friendly” version that is tall and skinny; and 3) a print-and-fold, to be printed 2-sided on legal size 8.5”x14” paper. Subscribers can download one or all of these formats. When you sign up, you get access to the past 4 or so issues plus each new issue as it comes out. Back issues are removed from the subscription periodically, but you can keep permanent copies if you download the files to your machine before that happens. Go to Wild Edible Notebook to subscribe to the PDFs via Paypal.
  • OPTION #2: iPad/iPhone App – We also have an iPad/iPhone app version of the Wild Edible Notebook, available through the App Store in the form of a Newsstand magazine. Permanent downloads are not available with this option, but it’s easy to use, and you will be able to access a year’s worth of content and counting as long as you are subscribed.
  • FREE SAMPLES - Check out a few free issues by joining the email list (scroll to the very bottom of this page and type your name and email address). You will receive an email with a link to the free download area (check your spam box if you don’t receive the email), where you can get a couple of the past Notebooks for free.

Wild Edible Notebook—December 2014 Release!

WEN December2014 cover 800 Wild Edible Notebook—December 2014 Release!We’ve had more than 95 inches of snow here in Colorado’s high country in the last two weeks, which means it’s official—foraging season is over, and the season for enjoying so many preserved wild flavors is upon us. In preparation for this day, I spent some time preserving wild flavors in vinegar. Boy, was it worth it! I was also happy to enjoy chickweed for my last wild green of the season. These stories and more can be found in the December 2014 edition of the Wild Edible Notebook, just released. Here’s an overview of this month’s edition:

  • Vinegar, Untamed – Vinegar. It’s wonderful. And the possibilities are endless. Ferment your own with wild-foraged fruit, or flavor store-bought stuff with your leftover scraps from wild jam and jelly-making. Then add a fruit-kissed, vinegary twist to every dish you can imagine, from sodas and sauces to vinegar pie.
  • Cosmopolitan Chickweed – We found a bounty of common chickweed in Breckenridge, Colorado, this year during an early November thaw. For now, the snow has covered it back up, but in some regions chickweed can be found all winter long. It makes a nice green for salads and spring rolls, even a healthy green drink.
  • You Are What You Eat – This story is a review of Durango, Colorado-based forager, raw food lover, and activist Katrina Blair’s new book, The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival (Chelsea Green, 2014), which has a forward by fermentation guru Sandor Ellix Katz.
  • Vinegar Splashed Squash – This recipe takes a traditional holiday baked acorn squash and adds a twist of fruity fermented feral vinegar.
  • Fruit Shrubs: Don’t Fear the Vinegar by Wendy Petty – Ever wondered what a “shrub” was, let alone how to make it? Here, Hunger & Thirst blogger Wendy Petty breaks it down for us, and provides a handful of sample shrub recipes to get you started on your mixed drinks.
  • Dried Apple & Rosehip Tea – It’s simple, sweet, sugar-free, and full of Vitamin C, a perfect warming drink for the cold season.
wild plum vinegar 299x450 Wild Edible Notebook—December 2014 Release!

There are many ways to consume wild flavors in winter, like this spicy wild plum vinegar.

Read this issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/month. The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled, 50-page monthly magazine available in two subscription types:

  • OPTION #1: Your Choice of PDFs – We create 3 different PDF versions of each month’s Notebook and post them here on the Member Profile & Downloads page. The versions are: 1) a screen reader formatted to fit an iPad or to be viewed on any monitor; 2) an “Android-friendly” version that is tall and skinny; and 3) a print-and-fold, to be printed 2-sided on legal size 8.5”x14” paper. Subscribers can download one or all of these formats. When you sign up, you get access to the past 4 or so issues plus each new issue as it comes out. Back issues are removed from the subscription periodically, but you can keep permanent copies if you download the files to your machine before that happens. Go to Wild Edible Notebook to subscribe to the PDFs via Paypal.
  • OPTION #2: iPad/iPhone App – We also have an iPad/iPhone app version of the Wild Edible Notebook, available through the App Store in the form of a Newsstand magazine. Permanent downloads are not available with this option, but it’s easy to use, and you will be able to access a year’s worth of content and counting as long as you are subscribed.
  • FREE SAMPLES - Check out a few free issues by joining the email list (scroll to the very bottom of this page and type your name and email address). You will receive an email with a link to the free download area (check your spam box if you don’t receive the email), where you can get a couple of the past Notebooks for free.
Gracilaria tikvahiae in culture 450x297 Northeast Seaweed Farming & Foraging: A Chat with Charles Yarish

Native Gracilaria tikvahiae, an edible seaweed, in culture. A non-native Gracilaria that looks identical and is also edible has invaded the east coast. Photo courtesy of C. Yarish and J.K. Kim, UConn.

If you’re planning to make blancmange—a traditional milk pudding thickened with Irish moss seaweed—don’t forget a splash of brandy, says Dr. Charles Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). “The French always add a little brandy.”

Dr. Yarish is also a fan of Gracilaria or “ogonori,” a hairy sea vegetable that he farms in Connecticut’s coastal waters. He grows the native species, Gracilaria tikvahiae, though there is also a non-native Gracilaria that’s made its home on the U.S. east coast in recent years. Both species are edible, but the only way to tell them apart is a DNA fingerprint.

Seaweed for Healthy Waters

Yarish is a lover of seaweeds, not only for the dinner plate, but for the role they play in coastal ecosystems. His research dates back to the 1980’s and involves growing various species in his lab and at field sites off the coast.

One site is at the confluence of the Bronx and East Rivers in New York City, where his kelp farm helps to remove nitrogen and other excess nutrients caused by agricultural run-off, over-fertilized lawns, and even air pollution. A certain amount of nutrients in the water is a good thing, but too much can tip the balance, upsetting coastal ecosystems and causing die-offs of plants and animals, or unwelcome algal blooms like “red tide,” which render shellfish toxic for human consumption. “If we can use aquaculture systems to manage these nutrients, this is an exciting breakthrough,” Yarish said. “And we’ve shown we can do that.” Read the rest of this entry

FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer GIVEAWAY

foodsaver titanium FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer GIVEAWAY

This model handles 15″ bags, making it ideal for hunters and anglers processing large amounts of game. The apple is shown for scale.

For as long as I can remember fishing and clamming with my family on the east coast, we have used a FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer to seal and freeze our seafood bounty for later use. In my experience it certainly does the trick keeping fish and clams freezer-burn free over several years of storage, even these days when I port the frozen packs cross country to Colorado, which I pretty much try to do every time I visit Mom and Dad.

Hence my excitement when FoodSaver offered to send me their cadillac model, the FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium G800, to review, along with a second one to give away to a lucky reader.

This stainless steel Titanium beast is designed with hunters and anglers in mind, especially those who put up large quantities of meat and fish. It works with bags up to 15″ wide, has a powerful dual-pump vacuum, and can supposedly handle 100 repetitive seals with no waiting time, though I have not yet had opportunity to test this feature. You can set it on single or dual seal, the latter coming in handy for moist foods, as it creates a second seal past the first one. There’s also a removable drip tray, making it easy to clean up extra moisture.

clams fish foodsaver 450x293 FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer GIVEAWAY

Clams and fish, vacuum-sealed, frozen, and good for a couple years.

food saver stuff 450x299 FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer GIVEAWAY

Clockwise from top: Dried wild-foraged porcini mushrooms, a pumpkin and black walnut bread I should have frozen before vacuum sealing, and boxer shorts ready for a river trip!

Operating the machine is intuitive, easy, and fast. Insert a heat-seal roll, which is used to make the bags, and pull a bit out where you want to create a seal, then close and press “Seal.” Open ‘er back up, pull out a length for the size of bag you want, close the lid back up and use the built-in bag cutter. Then fill the bag you just made with food (or your survival kit, or clothes for your rafting trip) leaving 3″ room at the open end, insert the open end into the drip tray, close the lid and choose “Vac/Seal.” It sucks out all the air and seals the bag once or twice depending on how you have it set.

Now a land-locked Coloradan, I have other sources of wild protein to investigate. I dream of one day catching massive amounts of invasive carp and freezer-packing it to feed us through our busy winters. Thanks to the FoodSaver® vacuum sealer, when that day comes, I will be ready.

In the meantime, I have been vacuum-sealing everything in sight to test this machine. Gregg’s undershorts, dried  porcini mushrooms, homemade chocolate cookies. Presto! They come out airtight and perfect, and are fun to make. These particular items will store on the counter top and not the freezer. According to the guide, the cookies will last 3-6 weeks this way, which is good because I made too many and Gregg wasn’t eating them fast enough.

I also froze a London broil that I picked up on special at the grocery store to mimic the venison I hope will one day land on my doorstep, and that went fine. For fruits and soft items like baked goods you are supposed to pre-freeze them before packaging, which is what we do with the clams in clam liquor back home–freeze them first in shallow containers. We’ll have to wait and see how the food stands the test of time this time around. There are also a couple accessories I’d like to test out including reusable canisters and the canning-jar lid adapter to vacuum seal mason jars for longer shelf-life.

But for now I am impressed with the FoodSaver® GameSaver® Vacuum Sealer and its potential to save us time with pre-prepared food that we are already stockpiling for the busy winter ahead, and money by packaging up sale foods and/or wild food in quantity.

FoodSaver Titanium package2 450x303 FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer GIVEAWAY

The prize: a FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer.

The Giveaway!

The prize package includes the new FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer along with a bunch of heat-seal rolls in different sizes and durabilities, a few gallon size bags to try, a fast vacuum-marinator, and a venison cookbook.

The contest is now over and the winner is…

Nancy Garbrandt from Nicholasville, Kentucky. Congratulations to Nancy! And thanks to everyone for playing.

Disclosure here: http://cmp.ly/2.

Sprouting Flour with Quinoa’s Wild Kin

zuni steam bread Sprouting Flour with Quinoa’s Wild Kin

Zuni Steamed Bread dumplings, made with sprouted lamb’s quarters flour, prior to steaming.
Photo by Gregg Davis.

I’d been eating a lot of store-bought quinoa while staring longingly at the seeds of its relative, the ubiquitous weed, goosefoot. In fact I kept a jar of the black seeds in my pantry for more than two years before attempting to eat them. Truth be told, I was stumped by them.

I eat goosefoot greens all the time when they are in season. Nicknamed “wild spinach,” the plant is related to both spinach and beets. Common varieties in Colorado include Chenopodium album, also called “lamb’s quarters,” C. berlandieri, and C. fremontii, not to mention strawberry blite (C. capitatum) with its interesting red flower clusters.

There are several edible Chenopodiums commonly treated together as goosefoots. In Colorado, Cattail Bob Seebeck lumps C. album, C. berlandieri, and C. fremontii together, describing them as herbaceous, weedy plants with leaves that range from goosefoot-shaped to narrower, often with a light, mealy coating and red stripes on the stem, a frosty look on new growth at the plant’s tip, and green clumps of inconspicuous flowers.

Chenopodium berlandieri and C. fremontii are said to be native to North America, though there is some debate as to whether C. album is native or introduced. Even if it was introduced, however, its post-contact period use is likely to have been similar to that of the native species. Read the rest of this entry

Wild Edible Notebook—November 2014 Release!

WEN November2014 cover 800 336x450 Wild Edible Notebook—November 2014 Release!There’s nothing like finding wild edible bounty in your own backyard. Do you have a yard full of dandelions? Then you have a yard full of edible root vegetables. You might also enjoy sampling from a banquet of edible invasive species, and perhaps do nature a favor by eating them.

The November 2014 edition of the Wild Edible Notebook, just released, features:

  • An Homage to Dandelion Roots – I went to the backyard with a shovel and stick, dug up a bunch of dandelion roots, cleaned and prepped and cooked them into 10,000 dishes. Okay, maybe a few less than that. But this is the story of what I did, what I made, and what I learned. Hopefully you’ll appreciate dandelion roots as much as I do.
  • On the Hunt for Native Dandelions – When we think dandelion, we think of the common and often unwanted yellow flowering plant introduced to North America by early colonists. But did you know we also have native dandelions, and that they are edible too? One day maybe I’ll find one.
  • Eating Through the Invasive Canada Thistle Patch – Canada thistle. What a pain in the neck. You pull, pull, and pull but it comes back every time. Good thing you can turn all that work into creative nourishment.
  • Edible Invaders on the Menu for Sustainable Food Advocates – The national Sustainable Food Summit from Chef’s Collaborative, held this year in Boulder, Colorado, featured a panel on edible invasive species—from land-dwelling animals to seafood to plants. This story is a photo-filled recap of the event and information shared.
  • Who Are You Calling Invasive? Just because you call it a weed doesn’t mean it’s invasive. Just because you didn’t plant it doesn’t mean you should spray it with poison. What is an invasive species anyway?
  • Roasted Chicory Root Coffee by Wendy Petty – Wendy Petty is my go-to girl for anything cooking, and especially for lots of good ideas and instructions on wild edible foods. Here’s her take on how to make roasted chicory root coffee, plus a recipe for a dessert granita to boot.dandelion root rgb 241x450 Wild Edible Notebook—November 2014 Release!
  • Dandelion Root Kimchi by Tim Furst – Tim is one of a group of self-proclaimed “kitchen witches,” and a wild edible cook. One day he made some home-fermented dandelion root kimchi. This piece is lovely story with an open ending. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to try fermenting your own dandy root kimchi after reading it.

Read this issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/month. The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled monthly magazine available in two subscription types:

  • OPTION #1: Your Choice of PDFs – We create 3 different PDF versions of each month’s Notebook and post them here on the Member Profile & Downloads page. The versions are: 1) a screen reader formatted to fit an iPad or to be viewed on any monitor; 2) an “Android-friendly” version that is tall and skinny; and 3) a print-and-fold, to be printed 2-sided on legal size 8.5”x14” paper. Subscribers can download one or all of these formats. When you sign up, you get access to the past 4 or so issues plus each new issue as it comes out. Back issues are removed from the subscription periodically, but you can keep permanent copies if you download the files to your machine before that happens. Go to Wild Edible Notebook to subscribe to the PDFs via Paypal.
  • OPTION #2: iPad/iPhone App – We also have an iPad/iPhone app version of the Wild Edible Notebook, available through the App Store in the form of a Newsstand magazine. Permanent downloads are not available with this option, but it’s easy to use, and you will be able to access a year’s worth of content and counting as long as you are subscribed.
  • FREE SAMPLES - Check out a few free issues by joining the email list (scroll to the very bottom of this page and type your name and email address). You will receive an email with a link to the free download area (check your spam box if you don’t receive the email), where you can get a couple of the past Notebooks for free.

 

Seaweeding the Eastern Shoreline

sea lettuce Irish moss CT Seaweeding the Eastern Shoreline

Irish moss (Chondrus crispus), top right, and a species of sea lettuce (Ulva), collected in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

My parents shot me quizzical looks last summer when I announced my plan to gather seaweed in Long Island Sound, off the Connecticut coast. Not only would I collect, but also dry the seaweed at their house so I could take it back to Colorado with me for cooking experiments. I experienced similar incredulity from Connecticut’s DEP Inland Fisheries Division when I asked for a permit to harvest seaweed for personal consumption.

And yet, seaweed collection is a longstanding tradition along swaths of North America’s West Coast, where local indigenous peoples made—and continue to make—seaweeds a part of their diets.

In British Columbia, for example, the Kwakwaka’wakw and Haida packed layers of partially dried and fermented red laver (Porphyra abbottae syn. P. perforata) into tall cedar boxes along with boughs of Western red cedar and then left them for a month, weighted down with rocks, before unpacking and repeating the process several times to make seaweed cakes (Turner, 1997 ed.). They would later tear or chop these cakes into small pieces, soak and boil the seaweed and serve it with the rendered grease of euchalon—a small, greasy fish—along with boiled dog salmon or clams.

The middle and northern coastal First Peoples of the same region gathered herring spawn-covered blades of giant kelp—the brown algae Macrocystis integrifolia—and dried them out to later reconstitute, boil, and eat with euchalon grease or cut into strips for chewy snacks that children could carry to school with them (Turner, 1997 ed.). To protect herring populations, however, this practice is now illegal in most states without a special permit (Hahn, 2010).

Fortunately there are many spawn-free seaweeds—or sea vegetables—in coastal waters around the world, almost all of which are edible, conditions permitting. Read the rest of this entry

A Fall for Thick, Rosy Hips

Rosehips Pence 2013 Gregg Davis A Fall for Thick, Rosy Hips

Red rosehips stand out against the yellow fall foliage and white aspen trunks in the Colorado high country. Photo by Gregg Davis, 2013.

Legions of soft, plump, frost-kissed rosehips hang heavy upon their slender, prickly stems. Many are perfectly ripe, slipping off the ends of their branches with a soft, orange gush, leaving a sticky paste to be licked off the fingers.

First I made rosehip sauce, by cooking the hips down in enough water to cover and then mashing the softened fruits through a screen to save the liquid paste while discarding their itch-causing seed hairs. I sugared the filtered stuff gently and cooked it down to thicken.

But the rosehips continued to call to me after that, so we headed out under overcast skies for a second batch, visions of whole dried rosehips for wintertime teas dancing in my head. Plus I wanted to de-seed a small batch to dry for use as rosehip “raisins” in granola, and to cook down another fresh batch into my first attempt at rosehip soup, a popular dessert in Scandinavia and Iceland (Hahn, 2010) that I read about in a couple different books.

rosehip ripe 450x337 A Fall for Thick, Rosy Hips

After a frost or two, rosehips often turn a translucent red, a sign that they are ripe and ready for harvest.

We had the forest to ourselves that day due to the inclement weather. Gregg busied himself putting his camera away every time the skies opened to release short bursts of light drizzle, and then pulling it out again when the rain let up. But the views were gorgeous nonetheless, the floor of the aspen grove dappled with the yellow leaves of the season’s change, while more fluttered in the breeze—green, yellow, and red in contrast with the backdrop of so many tightly-packed, tall, white trunks.

The rose bushes were interspersed, a few still green but most turning yellow and gold, making the bright red hips all the more evident upon them. Some hips were tiny, others nearly an inch in length. Some bushes were tall; other came up only to my calf. These traits varied as we walked, as the aspect of the hill and growing conditions changed from dry slope to wet gulch, shade to sunny exposure.

I aimed mostly for soft hips, plucking them from branches and depositing them into my bag as we walked, leaving more hips upon the branches than those I picked, and spreading out the harvest so as not to denude an area. In total, I got maybe a gallon—enough to dry a couple pints and still have some left over to play with in the kitchen.

By the end of the hike, a light snow was falling. This truly is a magical place. Read the rest of this entry

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