Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at
Purslane chilaquiles cooking into yumminess.
Chilaquiles are “casserole dishes of varying ingredients” made of leftover tortillas or chips. According to Sunset Mexican Cookbook, a 1969 publication I picked up for 50 cents at the Fairplay Library book sale last summer, they are sometimes called “Poor Man’s Dish” for this reason.
The same cookbook explains that Mexican cuisine occasionally utilizes the “strange” vegetable, “verdolagas,” which is Spanish for purslane! If you don’t know purslane (Portulaca oleracea) already, you should. This garden weed is extremely nutritious raw, supposedly containing more omega 3 fatty acids than some fish oils. It is so ubiquitous that people weed it out of their gardens and toss it into the compost heap without a second thought. Purslane’s fleshy leaves are also common alongside sidewalks, where the plant can often be found growing in abundance.
Since purslane is about to be the wild ingredient of the month at Hunger & Thirst’s July recipe round up, and since my life is about to take a very busy twist, I figured I’d better throw some purslane into my chilaquiles right quick and bang out a recipe before I start going completely insane. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at
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
Sunday, July 17th, 2011 at
Halfway through July I am honored to present the second issue of the Wild Edible Notebook, my journal-style tale of select plants. In this issue, read up on succulents including roseroot, rosecrown, and purslane. The July issue also has instructions for a few brightly-colored wild dishes as part of a new Recipes section.
This issue differs from the first in that the entries featured are edited, updated, and otherwise revised versions of previous blog posts, rather than simple reformats. If you’ve read this blog thoroughly you might recognize some of the information; still, I hope you’ll find that the Wild Edible Notebook tells a more updated tale than the original posts, part of my journey towards figuring out exactly what form all of this writing might one day take.
Sign Up Required
The final difference between the first and second issues is that this time you have to sign up for the email list to download the notebook. By double-opting in, which is what it’s called if you go through the process to join my list, then you give me permission to email you 10,000 times a day.
Just kidding. I will probably email once or twice a month—once to alert you about the newest edition of the Wild Edible Notebook and give you a download link, and perhaps one other time with announcements that are hopefully of interest to you, regarding classes, food swaps, sweet deals on wild food merchandise, and things of that matter. You can also unsubscribe whenever you want.
Without further ado, then, it’s time for the call to action: Scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to sign up. Within minutes, you’ll receive an email asking for you to click on a confirmation link, and after doing that, you’ll get another email with the download link for the July issue of the Wild Edible Notebook—in your choice of either a handy print-and-fold booklet or a file you can breeze through onscreen or print out one-sided. Cheers!
Friday, July 15th, 2011 at
Gregg and Ruth pick apples.
I feel so fortunate today for the generosity of people—and the several hundred apples in Gregg’s parents’ garage just waiting to be peeled and made into applesauce, apple cobbler, dried apple slices, and possibly apple jelly.
We arrived at Ruth’s house in Aurora yesterday afternoon, severe thunderstorms threatening, and with her help managed to pick several bags full while the storm, which was pouring down in another part of town just a few miles away, passed us by without incident.
We made Ruth’s acquaintance through this blog. After listening to a piece about urban foraging on NPR that welcomed folks to be generous with their wild edibles, she searched online and found us instead. I don’t mind one bit. “That’s because I integrated Facebook and made you findable!” Gregg exclaimed gleefully upon hearing the news. (This is true; thanks be to Gregg for the web savvy.) Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 at
What I believe to be roseroot, or Sedum rosea.
I first noticed roseroot on a high-country hike above Fairplay, Colorado as Gregg and I were scrambling up a rock face, off-trail as usual. The plant is distinctive and attractive—tiny, blood-red flowers atop a fleshy stalk with spirally overlapping (Peterson, 1977) succulent, white-green leaves—and so I photographed it to look up later in Plants of the Rocky Mountains, a flora identification guide we obtained recently from The Printed Page bookshop in Denver.
Plants of the Rocky Mountains by Linda Kershaw, et. al. (1998) is not specific to edible wild plants, but when I found the plant in question in the picture index followed by the entry, lo and behold, I also discovered that our local roseroot is edible. (A quick perusal of the new guide revealed that edibility information is included for many of the plants, to my very pleasant surprise. Come to find out that Linda Kershaw also authored Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, a guide I have yet to obtain.) What luck! Read the rest of this entry
Monday, August 2nd, 2010 at
We went to the east coast for two weeks in July, and my sister met me in Maine with small bag full of New Hampshire purslane—that low branching succulent that many American gardeners throw in the yard trimmings without a second thought. She’d rescued it from her garden for me. It was really cool, as my sister is far from a wild food convert. I promptly boiled it up and served it with butter and salt to the extended family. My sister thought it was the perfect topping for the bratwursts.
Two weeks later, Gregg and I headed to the Philadelphia airport with several pounds of purslane. (I can only imagine what the TSA folks thought when they inspected my baggage and found a cooler bag full of weeds, roots intact.)
I kept the roots on the plants so that the purslane would travel well, and it worked. Thanks to Bill and Marnie in Ithaca and Gregg’s dad Frank in PA for the purslane bounty; I’m pleased to say that not only did the purslane make it home safe and sound to Colorado and into some delicious dishes, but also that the roots and attached shoots made it safely into the dirt in my makeshift garden off the end of the back yard. Read the rest of this entry