Tuesday afternoon I went shopping for some last minute wild ingredients for my wild food feast. As I circumnavigated the pasture followed by my collies, Chippy and Skipper, I filled my baskets with many wild blessings! Red Clover blossoms captured at the peak of their energy before the bees found em…. YUM! Burdock stems upholding their fabulous elephant ear ruffled leaves are the latest surprise delicacy to my foragers plate, Milkweed pods in their cheese stage, Goldenrod for a blood cleansing tea, Queen Anne’s Lace flowers for fried chips and salad decor, Maple tree whirly gigs, Evening Primrose flowers and fruits…. and WILD GRAPES in crazy perfusion hanging just out of reach but not quite ripe.
A perfect day. 73 degrees with a slight breeze, a cloud cover floating lazily overhead, wild food offering itself generously at every turn of my head. I rejoiced in Chicory’s periwinkle blue flowers adding such beauty to the white lace of the Queen’s flower, the yellow plume of the Goldenrod and the mahogony brown of Yellowdock seeds, mauve of the Joe Pye Weed umbels, and the magenta of Ironweed. God is the ultimate artist. His bouquets fill the earth with His creativity and beauty. I lost track of time as I filled my heart and my basket with His bounty. I walked into the middle of the pasture to survey an old apple tree, as I stood there sensing it’s energy I felt the air reverberate with incessant cricket song.
Back to my car I placed my overflowing baskets on the front seat. Weeds from floor to ceiling. Hmmm. Having inherited my Dad’s GM 300 when he passed on in 08 I know he would not be amused at it’s weedy appearance. I think a truck is more fitting for a forager! I however, felt wealthy bringing home such delicacy for my wild dinner.
At 5:00, my wild guests: Gerald, Morgan, Jennifer, Lumini, Dottie, Elaine, David and Kristen and their 4 month old son Koen joined me. While waiting for everyone to show up I put the early arrivers to work ‘garbling my afternoons shopping cart contents’. Maple whirlygigs in the blue bowl, Evening Primrose fruits in the red…
We began on the porch sampling Chicory root Yerba Mate iced ‘coffee’ and learning about some foraging basics. Displayed on the table behind me were a sampling of wild blessings that are freely offered from nature’s bounty all around us. Preserved wild foods via canning or fermenting, edible seeds and nuts, wildly infused oils, vinegars, honeys and syrups, wild jams and jellies, dried wild plants for nourishing teas, extracts in whiskey or brandy for their healing properties, wildly natural cosmetics, creams and hydrosols, healthy oral care homemade wild products and even house hold cleansers made from our Creator’s free gifts. I even had a Monarch chrysalis on the table…a gift from the Milkweed patch!
“Oh Lord, how many and varied are Your works. In wisdom You have made them all. The whole earth is FULL of Your riches.” Psalms 104:24
Each forager selected a recipe from the Italian menu and we did a plant walk around my acre talking about the various plants that we would be enjoying in our dinner. Plants are as varied in their giftings as are people. It is not possible to corner a plant into one gifting or strength for they do many many things. I’ll perhaps be discovering their goodness and wise healing ways for the rest of my life!
Back in the kitchen each cook had a station set up with all their non wild ingredients and we all set to work, whipping up yet another wild foods feast. Here is the menu with hyperlinks to the recipes. All non wild ingredients were organic and farm fresh.
Italian Wild Foods Feast
Iced Chicory Root Coffee w/ Raw Cream
Seasoned Cucumber Slices w/ Raspberry Bric Cheese
Elderberry Tea, Spearmint Tea, Peach Tea & Wild Sumac Lemonade
Pickled Cattail Shoots w/ Yellow Dock Seed Crackers
Bruschetta Rounds w/ Wild Pesto & Tomato
Wild Greens Salad, Edible Flowers & Wild Dressing
Caponate w/ Sorrel, Burdock Stems & Elderberry Capers
Cattail Chicken Cacciatore (gluten free pasta)
Dandelion Italiano w/ Evening Primrose Flowers
Italian Milkweed Pods Casserole
Wild Spaghetti Sauce w/ Deer Meat Meatballs or Mushroom Balls
Peach & Blackberry Cobbler w/ Hemp Vanilla Ice Cream
Hot Peppermint Tea or Dandelion Root Coffee
Thanks everyone for your hard work! This time Gerald COOKED and did a fine job of it! My favorite dish was Dottie’s Dandelion Italiano because she put blanched Burdock petioles (stems) in her casserole and they were astonishingly wonderful! I had no idea that Burdock stem was tasty or even edible!
Discussion at the dinner table was lively as we shared a variety of reason why learning about wild foods is important. Great ideas, all of which reaffirmed my conviction that WILD is for me! One thing is for certain, baby Koen’s parents will train him in the ways of the wild early and as he grows this will all be second nature to him. The food was delicious, new friendships began and we all felt like we were reconnecting with our roots. It has not been that many generations since what I teach people was simply common sense and common knowledge.
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