Adventures in Foods and Foraging

I don’t work at all on Fridays. It’s wonderful. Three day weekends should be mandatory, in my honest opinion. Even better, today was beautiful. It was warm and green and sunny. I spent much of the morning out in the yard with M. while E. was at school. While he swung on the hammock and played with the hose I made my first attempt at foraging.

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Since I’m new to this I went for the things that were the most easily identifiable for me: dandelion greens and spruce tips (those bright green buggers at the tip of the pine branches).

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Dandelion greens are the sort of lettuce-y looking leaves that grow around the dandelion stem and flower. Strangely, one of my earliest memories is of my mother introducing me to the barber whose shop was next to my parents’ train hobby shop in Danvers, MA. By way of introduction, my mum told me that he ate dandelion greens like salad. Clearly this left quite the impression on me, since I remember this nearly 25 years later. Ever since then I have considered the prospect of eating these over-abundant greens, but it wasn’t until today that I finally gave it a try.

I didn’t have the greens I collected in a salad, though. Instead, I made one of my most favorite foods in the whole, wide world – pesto.

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The way I make pesto is pretty imprecise, but my recipe is based loosely on this one from Thread and Ladle. This go around, I had maybe a cup and a half of dandelion greens, three cloves of garlic, small palm-full of asiago cheese, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and, just for fun, some spruce tips.

Ohmygodsogood.

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With the spruce tips I made myself a cup of tea.

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I simply crushed a few buds and poured boiling water over them and let it steep. It smelled fantastic and tasted a bit like…well…spruce-y? I enjoyed it. Next go, I’ll likely crush up more or leave some tips to dry and make a tea from those. Spruce tips are high in a variety of minerals and vitamins, like potassium and vitamin C, and can help soothe irritated throats (I will vouch for this – my throat was a mess this morning and after having some tea it feels considerably better).

There are lots of other things one can do with spruce tips, including brew beer, but for now I’ll likely just be brewing tea.

E. was away for the evening as I was doing this, so she didn’t get to join in the gathering fun, but I’m a bit happy she didn’t this time around, because it gave me an opportunity to experiment and see what would work. I know once I tell her how many edibles we have in the yard she will be thrilled.

I’m certainly keen to see what else I can find in our yard to add to our meal plates!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow, you are brave! I would be a little apprehensive to eat those things. Although, years ago my daughter and I used to attend an Earth Roots class each week where we would go on a guided nature walk and learn about all of the plants we came in contact with. I was surprised just how many of them were edible!

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    1. Eating things that I didn’t plant myself outside is a new adventure for us, so I can totally understand the apprehension. But it was so worth it and my daughter was totally enchanted by it. And the Earth Roots class sounds awesome. I’ll have to see if there is something similar around here!

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