Archive for 'cow parsnip'

Wild Edible Notebook—September release!

September 2013 cover 800 288x450 Wild Edible Notebook—September release!September is well on its way, and with it I am happy to announce the release of another Wild Edible Notebook for your reading pleasure. The September 2013 edition is four pages longer than the last, making it the longest Wild Edible Notebook I’ve created to date.

This issue revisits the low-lying high country huckleberries of the genus Vaccinium, a topic I picked based on reader interest. Next is a journey into the wonderful world of hawk’s wings mushrooms (Sarcodon imbricatus), followed by the story of an even more wonderful culinary journey undertaken in partnership with Chef Bill Greenwood of Beano’s Cabin restaurant in Beaver Creek. This edition also includes a review of The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: How to Find, Identify and Cook Them (2010) by Virginia-based forager Katie Letcher Lyle. Mushroom recipes dominate the recipe section—a few by me, one from my dad, and a recipe for stewed chanterelles from Lyle. Last but not least is a huckleberry coloring page, and an announcement about the 3rd Annual Florida Herbal Conference, coming up in February/March of 2014.

The procedure for downloading the Wild Edible Notebook has changed. Please visit the Wild Edible Notebook page for information on subscribing to the iPad/iPhone or PDF versions for $1.99/month. Your support makes the continued development of this publication possible, both on the content and technical sides.

To download a free issue of the Wild Edible Notebook and stay abreast of future developments, please join the email list by filling out your info at the very bottom of this website. Thanks!

EDITED 10.7.13 to reflect the new download procedures.

Dried wild plants experiment

mountain parsley Colorado 262x350 Dried wild plants experiment

Mountain parsley, or biscuitroot, gathered near 11,000 feet in Fairplay, Colorado last summer.

This summer, I’ll be drying more leaves.

Last season’s nettles were a no-brainer, and they disappeared from my pantry shelves fast—in the form of tea and a much-loved pumpkin nettle beer soup. But what of the other leafy greens I enjoy all summer long? Could they help to tide over a fanatical forager during the long winter months?

Inspired by Maria’s post on Lessons from the Pantry, I piled my few bottles of dried leaves on the counter last night and set to work experimenting in the hopes of determining which dried leaves merited the effort.

Here’s what I came up with:

Salted Bluebell Leaf Chips

A recent insinuation of cheesy kale chips into my life from multiple directions inspired this attempt to recreate leafy green veggie chips from a wild edible angle.

I painted the light-green, dried smooth bluebell leaves (Mertensia spp.) with a thin coat of olive oil—though a spritzer would have been ideal—then sprinkled black Hawaiian lava salt on top in the hopes of drawing out the leaves’ oceany flavor. Then I crisped them on low heat in the toaster oven—actually I crisped them at high heat and a few of them burned before I turned it down—and served to the curious fiancé. Read the rest of this entry

cow parsnip carpet 262x350 My Definition of a Good Day: Cow Parsnip for Breakfast, Dinner and Dessert

A cow parsnip carpet far as the feet could walk.

I woke up yesterday morning and cooked my very first quiche, in which the principal ingredient was—you guessed it—cow parsnip! We had it for breakfast; we had the leftovers for dinner; and then we had cow parsnip candy sticks for dessert. For me, there is simply no getting tired of cow parsnip.

I tell my friend Butter that I’m learning to cook through wild edible plants, and not the other way around. She uses fancy cooking words like “duxelle” and “frittata,” meanwhile I’m clutching my head and she has the nerve to say that she eschews recipes. OMG if I didn’t have the recipes I’d be lost! Of course I usually can’t be bothered with measuring cups and most of my “principal ingredients” are not in cookbooks anyway, but a little guidance is always good for discovering, for example, that eggs are important to quiches.

Cow Parsnip Quiche

The quiche-for-breakfast idea came up as I was trying to think of a way to serve Gregg the king bolete (Boletus edulis) that Butter and I found on our first outing together, by the roadside, after searching for them unsuccessfully on foot for several hours. That was also, incidentally, when I gathered all of the wonderful cow parsnip that now fills my refrigerator.  Read the rest of this entry

Tale of a Golden Foraging Opportunity

golden colorado hillside 254x350 Tale of a Golden Foraging Opportunity

Forager on a Golden hillside. Photo by Gregg Davis.

On our way home from Denver last Friday, Gregg and I made a detour up Golden Gate Canyon Road to check out a 93-acre ranch that Marilyn, who I met when she commented on a post, invited us to forage. (Actually, truth be told, I invited myself and she was generous enough to accept.) The canyon is breathtaking and so was her land, 93 acres of very steep hillside accessed by a potentially gnarly dirt road and then slowly through the cattle gate to where her family’s oasis is nestled.

She gave us a quick tour of the property, pointing out all the wild edible plants (even though I though that was my job), and then directed us up the hill. “Make a good hike of it,” she said, sending us on our way. 

Well, a “good hike” it certainly was—straight up, up, up, between the rocks, through the scrub, baking in the hot sun—and this after just completing three hours of skate camp in Highlands Ranch, also in the hot sun. So, for the first half of the hike (read: the up part), I was sweating profusely and frustrated with myself for my lack of excitement about the adventure, as I’d looked forward to it the entire week prior. It was all I could do to collect a few edibles while Gregg took photos. “We’ll come back when we’re less tired,” I said, trying to justify my attitude.  

But then, near the top of the hill in a ditch right before the well, something wonderful happened that snapped me right out of it: Gregg stuck his hand right into a patch of stinging nettles!  Read the rest of this entry

Seasons Change

cow parsnip petiole peelings 350x259 Seasons Change

Cow parsnip petiole peelings that we discarded.

Harvesting wild edibles is not like shopping at the grocery store, where you can get your favorite fruit or vegetable the whole year long. In the wild, seasons change.

Some time ago I read a story about increased-Twitter-use coinciding with rising depression due to a person’s feelings of “missing out” on parties or social events that someone else tweeted about. Had there been no tweet, there would have been less chance of the person even realizing a party had taken place.

My sister and I talk about this feeling of “missing out” in other ways too. If a summer passes where she hasn’t made it to the beach, the water park, camping, the lake, the pool, and a half dozen other places, she feels like she and the kids have missed out.

I do it with wild edibles. “We have to get some cow parsnip before the season’s over,” I catch myself saying to Gregg, a touch of panic to my voice. For alas, the grocery store cannot fill this need for me.

Read the rest of this entry

Crazy for Cow Parsnip Again

furled unfurled cow parsnip leaves 350x262 Crazy for Cow Parsnip Again

Furled and unfurled cow parsnip leaves ready for boiling.

I gathered some cow parsnip a few days ago on June 15th. It’s still young in the high country (at 10,500 feet), so I just took a little—a few snips here and there of furled, unfurling, and newly unfurled woolly green leaves and petioles (leaf stalks), from a community of plants, no more than two and usually just one cutting per plant.

At home I prepared the same old tried and true recipe from last season I got from Kathryn G. and Andrew L. March’s Common Edible and Medicinal Plants of Colorado, (1979)—boiled cow parsnip leaves and petioles with finely chopped raw onions, soy sauce, and butter—and relished every minute of it. It’s a crazy weird taste, but I continue to love it.  Read the rest of this entry

cow parsnip unfurl 350x262 Roadside Cow Parsnip Boiled in Tap Water—Delicious!

Unfurling cow parsnip leaves are a wild, woolly delicacy.

The other day I wrote about fireweed, the wild edible plant that Gregory Tilford chose to honor by adorning the front cover of his book with it.

Earning a similar distinction on the cover of Kathryn G. and Andrew L. March’s 1979 guide, Common Edible and Medicinal Plants of Colorado with Recipes and Prescriptions, is cow parsnip, a plant that shares its classification in the Umbelliferae family with regular parsnip, carrots, parsley, dill, coriander, fennel, and anise.

“The fresh young shoots and the first leaves, just as they are unfolding, are a most exotic, wild and woolly, stimulating taste, a bold stroke to mark off the mid-spring and early summer season,” the Marchs write. “The flavor is one of a kind, with at most distant echoes of fresh coriander, strange at first but one comes to crave it.”

After reading that, I had to have some. Read the rest of this entry