Thursday, June 2, 2011

Food Plants to Forage Now and Simple Lives Thursday

Greetings everybody!
Farmer's Market season is officially here, but this week I'd like to share some tips for finding your own food, growing in the wild, for FREE.  There are plants growing all around us that some deem 'weeds' but are actually edible, nutritious, and delicious.
This post comes with the standard disclaimer that you should absolutely NOT eat anything you can't positively identify, and the best practice is to forage with someone who is experienced and skip anything that is even slightly suspicious.
Do not pick anything from industrial areas, as the ground may be polluted, and more generally be conscious of where you're picking.  Do not pick from private property! 
Here are a few plants that you can easily forage, and some tips for preparing them.

Lamb's Quarters
(photo from wikipedia)

Lambs Quarters are easy to find and easy to prepare.  Harvest them, wash them, and cook as you would any tender green.

(photo from wikipedia) 
You might be lucky enough to find purslane at your farmer's market, but it also sprawls over much urban ground.  The most interesting thing about purslane is its ability to thicken, so use it in sauces and soups.  

Stinging Nettles
(photo from wikipedia)

This plant is very unpleasant to touch with bare hands, so use plastic gloves to harvest, but when plunged in boiling water the stinging effect disappears.  The liquid can be used for as tea or for stock and you can use the leaves to make pesto.

Fiddlehead Fern
 (photo from U of Maine)

These young, unrolled ferns are absolutely gorgeous and make any dish look impressive.  Harvest them close to the ground and use for stir fries or as a side vegetable themselves.  This link from the University of Maine extension is very helpful for how to harvest, preserve, and cook fiddleheads. 

Dandelion Greens

(photo credit)
Turn the nuisance of dandelions into an edible benefit by harvesting the greens.  They're nicely bitter, and great in salads, smoothies, or stir fries. 

Find a group of experienced foragers here on Meetup and go give it a try!
Finally, it's Simple Lives Thursday!  Check out our favorite posts from last week and link up after the jump!

Featured Posts from Last Week's Submissions

The posts from last week that really caught our eyes are... (thanks everyone for the great submissions, as always!)

1. What to know before you go to the farmers' market by Granola Catholic.
Very helpful tips to help you get the most from the Farmers' Market.

2. How chickens made me happy by Reading and Chickens.
An encouraging post to jump in and do the best YOU can do in living a simple life.

3. Homemade Decongestant Chest Rub by Whole New Mom.
A great natural alternative to Vicks.

4. Recipe: Adventures with Dandelion Syrup by Food Farm Health.
This blogger published a well written tutorial on making your own dandelion syrup.

5. Tomato Plants: Leave the Little Suckers Alone by Tall Clover Farm.
Anyone who tells us to do less work is cool by us.

1 comment:

Tracy P. said...

Huh, you can eat lamb quarters? That is one of the few plants that makes me sneeze - would be interested to hear your recipes on that - and the purslane, crazy! Thanks for the interesting info!

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