edible Archives

Wild Edible Notebook—April 2015 Release!

WEN April2015 cover 800 336x450 Wild Edible Notebook—April 2015 Release!It’s early yet for high country Colorado, but with the recent warm weather there are dandelions greening on the sunny side of our house, and chives poking up through the straw. At the park down the street, the field pennycress rosettes are lush enough to eat. It’s difficult to contain my excitement for foraging season as I push through the final days of my winter job, with so much green popping up around me.

feral chives gregg davis4 450x348 Wild Edible Notebook—April 2015 Release!

Feral chives at a historic site in Breckenridge, CO. Photo by Gregg Davis.

In celebration of spring’s arrival, I am pleased to announce that the April 2015 Wild Edible Notebook is here, a couple days ahead of schedule. Once again, this Notebook features the work of several foraging writers in addition to myself, making it possible to widen the range of plants featured in the publication to those that do not grow in my immediate vicinity. Here’s a closer look at this month’s edition:

  • A Marriage of Alliums – The genus Allium contains our cultivated onions, garlic, shallots, and chives, along with a big group of wild onions. Wild species can be detected by their distinctive oniony scent. From spring onion greens to underground bulbs to aboveground bulblets, Allium is a useful and tasty genus to know. This piece is an overview of all things Allium, with spotlights on a couple of wild species.
  • Integrating Chives – Chives are often found under cultivation or as volunteers gone feral, but did you know that the same species—Allium schoenoprasum—is also native to North America?
  • Japanese Knotweed: A Tart & Tangy Edible Invasive – Connecticut-based blogger Karen Raczewski brings us her expertise and culinary experience with Japanese knotweed, an edible invasive species whose tart and tangy young shoots can be used in muffins, fruit leather, cold soups, summer rolls, and more. Her husband, Robert Gergulics, provided the stunning photography.
  • More Invasive Knotweeds You Can Eat – Japanese knotweed is not the only large, invasive knotweed you can eat. Here’s an overview of a few related species that can be used similarly.
  • New Greens, Old Recipes – One of my favorite wild food experimenters, Maria Brumm, takes a foray through historic cookbooks to bring us some old recipes for spring greens—including dandelions in sour sauce—along with her interesting insights.
  • “Crazy Forager Girl” Finds Plants, Love – A review of Ava Chin’s memoir, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, in which the author finds inspiration while foraging for wild food in New York City parks.
  • Japanese Knotweed Fruit Leather – Fruit leather is a great use for so many invasive Japanese knotweed shoots. Here’s a tasty recipe from Karen Raczewski that kids and adults alike will like.
  • Japanese Knotweed Muffins – Japanese knotweed’s tart flavor also works well in muffins and cakes. This is another nice recipe from Karen Raczewski.
  • Nancy’s Cabbage, Chives, & CheeseBetter Homes & Gardens printed Gregg’s mom’s recipe, which we refer to as “Cabbage Dish,” in the 1970’s. It is a creamy casserole that uses dried chives, so I like to dry chives in summer to use in her recipe, which we always make for winter holidays.
Subscribe to Read

Read the April 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—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—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.
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

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

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

Wild Edible Notebook—October 2014 Release!

WEN cover October 2014 800 343x450 Wild Edible Notebook—October 2014 Release!We clambered through the underbrush in an overgrown lot and parted the spiny branches of wild plum to glimpse a wonderland of apple trees plump with every size, shape, and color you could imagine. These were not trees bearing malformed, feral apples grown from seed, but a forgotten orchard of once carefully tended apples—plump red apples and tart, juicy green ones, tiny candy-like red-and-yellow striped apples and big, spotted red ones. It boggles the mind that these heirloom apples, far more special than the commonly cloned varieties you find in the grocery store, could be free for the taking. We tasted each variety, marveling at the myriad flavors, and giggled as we gathered the fallen fruit.

This month’s issue of the Wild Edible Notebook, just released, features adventures with found, free, feral apples. Next is a piece on the wild mustard peppergrass, followed by a review of Langdon Cook’s book, The Mushroom Hunters. As always, wild recipes conclude the magazine. Here’s a closer look at the October 2014 edition:

apples feral orchard Colorado 450x337 Wild Edible Notebook—October 2014 Release!

Feral heirloom apples foraged from a forgotten homesteader’s orchard.

  • Feral Apples – This story features “wild” apples—from a romp through an overgrown Colorado homesteader’s orchard, to feral apples (Malus spp.) across the country and how they came to be. There is also a nod to our native and introduced crab apples.
  • 5 Peppergrass Mustards – In this piece, we peruse peppergrass (Lepidium spp.), which you might know as “poor man’s pepper.” While many authors recommend using the green seedpods of this plant, this story centers on the dry mustard seeds, which I used to make an Oktoberfest sampler plate of tasty mustard condiments.
  • Recipe: Spicy Beer Mustard with Peppergrass & Pennycress – Of all the mustards I made, this one came out best. Make it as is, substitute store-bought mustard seeds, or add your own spicy twist.
  • Review of The Mushroom Hunters – Those of you pining for mushroom season, as I am already, may find respite in The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America (2013). For his second book, Langdon Cook turns investigative reporter, joining pickers on dangerous missions to “hostile” patches, sellers on their day-to-day business, and chefs and restaurateurs in forage-friendly kitchens from Seattle to New York, to paint a picture of the wild mushroom trade from deep, dark forest to pricey plate.
  • Recipe: Pico de Gallo Fruit Salsas – I love chips dipped in freshly made pico de gallo salsa, but fruit adds an entirely new element. We tried this recipe with foraged pears, found apples, and leftover scraps of wild black currants, all with great results.
  • Recipe: Sweet Pickle & Apple Relish – This recipe uses Grandma’s icebox pickles, plus apples, for a yummy sweet relish you will relish.

Read this issue by subscribing to the Wild Edible Notebook for $1.99/mo

The Wild Edible Notebook is an always-photo-filled monthly magazine available as an iPad/iPhone Apple Newsstand magazine; a screen reading PDF; a tall, skinny, “Android-friendly” PDF; and my favorite, the 11×14” PDF print-and-fold booklet. The subscription is $1.99 a month through Apple for the Newsstand magazine, or for access to all the PDF versions here at the blog. When you subscribe, you get access to 5 or so back issues in addition to the current and future editions. Here’s how to do it: Read the rest of this entry

Fruiting Forward

wild plums cold morning1 Fruiting Forward

We went for wild plums in the cold, misty morning, gathering them with fingers freezing and lethargic, my feet squishing in icy, wet boots. It was worth enduring the thorny thicket, the musky scent of catnip tall around us, to come home with 20 lbs or so of plums, without making a dent in the patch. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Dina Falconi’s Foraging & Feasting

Foraging and Feasting 340x450 Book Review: Dina Falconis Foraging & Feasting

The cast iron Dutch oven illustration emphasizes the cooking, alchemical, and transformational qualities the book offers for the use of wild food.

My mother-in-law-to-be walked into our apartment and bee-lined it straight for Dina Falconi’s book, Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (2013), which I had out on the coffee table. The cover is a hand-drawn festival of colorful wild plants, from bulbs to greens to flowers, bursting forth from a Dutch oven to dance on the crisp, white background.

It’s a hardcover book that really is quite lovely in the hand, so I could see why Nancy liked it. She collects and sells antique children’s books, many of which are fashioned with such quality. I love hardcover books with decorative end papers, and this book’s are fantastic—a whimsical, pink-red revelry of Alliums (field garlic, to be exact) drawn by Wendy Hollender, the botanical illustrator who teamed with Falconi on the project. The rest of the book is hewn with similar care, from the full-color botanical illustrations of 50 common edible plants with identification and usage information, to the recipe section that follows.

The seeds for Foraging & Feasting were planted a long time ago. Falconi recalls her earliest experiments in the culinary arts—sprouting grains and beans, and cultivating cashews into cream—in her family’s small railroad apartment in New York City. Later, at summer camp, she made the “life-altering and mind-blowing discovery” of wild mint, berries, and other wild-growing foods.

“For an inner city kid this was surreal—harvesting fresh, vibrant food directly from the earth rather than purchasing items viewed through store windows, separated by store walls, and owned by somebody else,” she writes.

She became enamored of the idea that she could connect with her forbears through food—both the early Americans who foraged for food, and her more recent ancestors, those of Jewish, Mexican, German, Mayan, Lituanian, Austro-Hungarian, and Italian descent. “As a lifelong cook, I have enjoyed creating and eating foods that my forbears may have eaten as a way to celebrate and honor them,” she said. “I guess you could call it soul-filling food, grounding food.” Read the rest of this entry

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