Saturday, February 1st, 2014 at
Winter marches on here in the Colorado high country, and I find myself more eager than ever to hunt for wild food, so for this month’s edition of the Wild Edible Notebook I decided to venture deep into the snowy forest to fill my pockets with the wind-felled boughs of pine, spruce, and fir, and then try to figure out what to do with them in the kitchen. In the process I have discovered how beautiful it is to view the snowy landscape through a forager’s eyes, finding that even in the heart of winter there is food—albeit primarily in the form of tea and spice—for the taking.
The February 2014 Wild Edible Notebook centers on conifers—first on the needles borne by the tall trees that make up our forests here in the high country, followed by a piece on juniper “berries,” which are not berries at all but instead cones. After that there is a review of Jennifer Hahn’s Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging. This month’s edition concludes with a handful of fun recipes using conifer needles by yours truly as well as the talented culinarian Wendy Petty of Hunger & Thirst.
The Wild Edible Notebook is an ongoing project, started in 2011. It is now available for iPad and iPhone in the Apple Newsstand, or in various PDF formats including screen-reading and 8.5×14” print-and-fold versions at www.wildfoodgirl.com/wild-edible-notebook for $1.99/month. Your support makes the continued development of this publication possible, both on the content and technical sides. Big, squeezy, wild hugs to those who have already purchased a subscription in support of this effort.
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Sunday, September 16th, 2012 at
Fireweed is a little tough for outright consumption right now, but the fall leaves make a decent tea.
Last week I led my first-ever wild edible plant hike, from the North Tenmile Creek trailhead in Frisco. The hike was done through Colorado Mountain College, and instead of announcing it here or on Facebook, Gregg and I just went with it. Everyone was local and nobody had heard of this website before.
I marched the crew like a drill sergeant to 20 or so wild edible plants and regaled them with my vast knowledge on each one as we traveled up the trail a short way to the dam at the creek and back, for a total round trip of 1/2 mile in 1.5 hours.
Overall I think it went pretty well. On my feedback sheets I got mostly 5′s with a few 4′s. The chief complaints were that the participants wanted a handout, wanted the tour to go longer, or wanted it to have taken place during peak foraging season. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at
Venison grill fare: Wild dry-rubbed steaks and kabobs marinated in ginger rosehip vinaigrette.
If wild is a flavor, then venison is it. I can remember days not too distant when the taste of deer was too much for me—too gamey, too foreign, too reminiscent of Bambi’s mother. Enter my brother-in-law, hunter extraordinaire, and suddenly before I know it a hunk of gifted venison is in my freezer, taunting me. How the heck am I supposed to eat that stuff again?
What worked for me back then in Los Angeles works for me still: Bathe the extra gaminess away with one or two days soaking in buttermilk in the refrigerator prior to rinsing, patting dry, and undertaking additional preparations.
Never mind how hypocritical this sounds as I write it, but this time, after painstakingly removing the “wild” from the venison, I then added it back in with the following preparations. Here are the wild things I did with our recently-thawed cache of venison steaks: Read the rest of this entry
Friday, May 13th, 2011 at
Juniper and coriander steeping in vodka to make gin.
Perhaps one day I’ll get into distilling my own spirits, but until that day comes, I did find a lazy’s man’s gin recipe on Ehow that involves wild edible plants.
According to the website of the now-defunct Gin & Vodka Association, gin flavorings (referred to as botanicals) include juniper as the mandatory and dominant flavor, in addition to any or all of the following: coriander, angelica, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom, cinnamon, grains of paradise, cubeb berries, and nutmeg. Additional gin botanicals are listed at Tony Ackland’s site on the home distillation of alcohol.
The wild edible plant I used in my gin is juniper, of course. We have tons of it growing in the back yard and I’ve collected juniper “berries” (which aren’t berries at all, but rather cones) on numerous occasions, so I have a collection of these dry, hand-picked “berries” in the closet. (Another botanical on the list—angelica—also grows in parts nearby, but I have yet to positively identify and harvest any on account of the similarities it bears to poison hemlock and water hemlock, both of which are highly toxic. So, I’m biding my time until I’m 100% positive about angelica.)
Read the rest of this entry