North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend II

North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend II

Mike Rasnake has been attending the NC Wild Food Weekend for 25 years. In the early 70’s he read a few of Euell Gibbons’ books and 3 months later was living in Hawaii eating as many wild foods as he could get his hands on. He even had a stint of living in the back of a herse for 6 months in the early 70’s, foraging almost all of his food. Below is a photo of the vegetable group he led on Saturday morning. We gathered wild vegetables and spent the afternoon preparing them for a feast with over 50 wild food dishes on Saturday evening. There were over 120 people in attendance, each joining a group to gather and prepare meat, salads, appetizers, soups, drinks, desserts and more. That made for over 50 wild food dishes, including: acorn bread, jerusalem artichoke pie, fettucini alfredo with squirrel, yaupon chai tea, pawpaw custard, sauteed milkweed shoots, poke eggrolls, kudzu chips, morel mushrooms with wild garlic on toast, violet leaves stuffed with wild nuts and cream cheese spread, cherry tomatoes stuffed with chickweed pesto, sumac maple syrup lemonade, and more! A little green tree snake we found on our hike with...
North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend

North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend

Yeehaw! What an amazing weekend at the 32nd Annual North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend. The summer Festival scenes are just starting and I would encourage you all to include some of the many wild food gatherings around the country into your summer and fall travel plans. You can go to the Resources section of this website to locate some upcoming festivals. Nothing like winning a pie contest when no one else enters the competition! Above is a photo taken right after winning my $25 prize for the contest. Below is the recipe for this savory pie. It makes enough crust and filling for 2 small pie dishes. Curly Dock Pie Crust 1 c curly dock flour 1 c unbleached white flour 1/2 c + 3 T butter 4 T cold water Use fingers to mix flours and butter together. Then add cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time until thoroughly mixed. Store in refrigerator for a few hours or a few days until needed. Roll out dough and put into pie dishes. Bake in 425 degree preheated oven for roughly 10 minutes. Tap down any bubbles that form before it cools. Cool crust and turn oven down to 350 degrees. Filling 4 c curly dock greens, chopped 1/2 c wild garlic tops, chopped 4 pieces bacon 2 c cream 6 eggs 2 c swiss cheese 1 t wild ginger powder black pepper to taste Steam curly dock greens for roughly 6 minutes. Cook bacon on low heat. Remove bacon, chop and place back into pan with chopped wild garlic tops; cook for roughly 1 minute. In mixing bowl beat...
Food Preservation

Food Preservation

What a disappointment! I opened up my acorns to find the last 3 gallons of them, along with a couple pounds of dried Toyon berries, molded. Food preservation really is an art…figuring out how to store, package and otherwise preserve foods for home use can be challenging. Not all of us have a wise old Grandma around telling us how to do things, but a nice resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Although they don’t cover a lot of wild foods specifically, you can usually fit your wild foods into their cultivated foods model. Someday we’ll have a Wild Foods Center for Home Food Preservation. To keep up with using all that wild fennel right now try the recipe below for some marinated olives. Adams Olive Ranch sells delicious olives/olive oil/tapenades/etc., which they have been growing and curing for 5 generations. Wild Fennel Olives extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups olives orange rind, roughly 2 long strips fennel leaves, several small sprigs 1 T fennel seeds 6 cloves garlic, peeled Stuff jar with fennel leaves and seeds, garlic cloves, orange rind, olives and pour in olive oil. Make sure olives and completely covered in oil and store in refrigerator. You can also lightly sauté all ingredients, except olives, for about 5 minutes and then cool and place into jar. Again, store in...
Sticky Monkey Flower Tea

Sticky Monkey Flower Tea

Ever since the new leaf growth began emerging on the sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), I have been attracted to this plant. Frustrating attempts to make sticky monkey flower greens with peanut sauce, wild rice sticky monkey flower stir fry, and more, turned out as disgusting and expensive disasters. But the spirit of experimentation doesn’t get stamped out easily, so I finally listened to the plant and made a tea. Click here to see some nice photographs of the sticky monkey flower plant in bloom. To make the tea, boil 3 cups of water. After water is boiling, remove from heat and place in one bag of Yogi Green Tea and about 5 leaves of sticky monkey flower and a few flowers. Put the lid on the pot and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Of course you don’t have to use Yogi Green Tea, I just like the combination of these flavors. The photo shows me dipping some amazing 11-grain sourdough bread from Bezian’s Bakery, slathered with rose hip lemon curd, into my steaming cup of sticky monkey flower tea. It’s a mouthful to say, but it slides down the hatch really well. Rose Hip Lemon Curd 4 lemons 2 c sugar 4 eggs, lightly beaten 1 T finely chopped rose hips, no seeds Finely chop rose hips, removing stems and seeds. Juice lemons and combine with sugar, butter, and rose hips. Cook over low heat until liquid. Remove from heat and beat rigorously. Lightly beat eggs and blend into mixture. Return to low heat and stir constantly until it coats the spoon. Pour into sterilized jars...
Wild Fennel Fritters

Wild Fennel Fritters

Fennel galore here! You can see the young furry piece of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) growth bursting out of the frond near the middle of the photo. Harvest these tender young stalks/fronds and greens when still flexible. Wild fennel originates from the Mediterranean and is high in phenols. Phenols are phytochemicals that block inflammation and clumping of platelets in the body. Click here to view specific details of phenols in wild fennel, published in a 2003 issue of the World Review of Nutrition and Diet. The following recipe comes from Angelo Garro from Sicily. They are absolutely delicious fritters, and a fun way to use this wildly abundant wild food. Click here for more details and photos of Angelo’s recipe. Wild Fennel Fritters 1 1/2 lbs of wild fennel fronds 3 eggs 1 c shredded parmasean cheese 1 c coarse bread crumbs (made from day-old bread ground up in a food processor or blender) 1 tsp crushed red pepper salt & pepper to taste grapeseed oil Wash young fennel fronds and steam or parboil for 15-20 minutes. Once they have cooled, chop finely. Mix eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, seasonings, and cooled fennel in bowl. Form into patties and fry in oil. Once they have been cooked on both sides, place them onto paper towels to absorb extra oil. Salt lightly and serve...