Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wild Edibles

This morning's breakfast:  farm-fresh eggs over sauteed lambsquarters and corn grits

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a big advocate of wild edibles if you know what you're doing. Whenever in doubt, consult with someone with experience. A couple of good points of wild edibles:  they are wild and don't have to be cultivated (no work plus free) and they contain more nutrients than their domesticated cousins. Plus they're fun to learn about and hunt down. 

Some edibles are extremely easy to recognize and don't have poisonous look-alikes. Everyone knows what dandelions are. And all parts of the plant are edible and nutritious, although the greens are bitter. Lambsquarters is a plant I recently discovered and I love! It's a three season plant here, is a great substitute for spinach, and takes no effort to grow - it is wild after all (plus it stays much cleaner than spinach since it isn't close to the ground). You do need to refrain from eating too much as it's high in oxalic acid, just like spinach.  Wood sorrel is another great plant - it tastes like lemon - and grows across the US. I've made a soup from it and have eaten it raw. I understand it's good for making a beverage that's similar to lemon aid. Sumac is another plant that can be used to make a refreshing lemony beverage. When the berries turn red, harvest them, crush them a bit, then cover with cool water. Let it sit for several hours, strain to remove the tiny hairs and any other debris, then refrigerate. Make sure to harvest when the weather has been dry because rain will wash off the coating that gives it the distinctive taste. It doesn't look like poisonous sumac which has white berries..

This article on Real Farmacy mentions two wild edibles I've yet to try:  sheep sorrel and thistles. I've yet to locate any sheep sorrel on our farm - maybe because our soil tends to be clay rather than sand. I've seen - and pulled - many thistles but never realized the ribs of the leaves are edible. This will probably be my next project.

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