Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wild Food...and a recipe

Unless you live in a desert, I don't see how you could possibly starve! There is food growing wild everywhere!

I didn't realize it until I started really looking...but there is so much food growing around my house. Black raspberries galore!

Beautiful, plump, sweet, delicious black raspberries!

Sooooooo many...way more than I could possibly pick by myself!

Two different days I filled my largest bowl...it took hours and quite a few scratches. It seems that in addition to having lots of food growing around...I also happen to have mostly plants with thorns...all the locust trees have thorns, I have this unknown type of bush that has thorns, and of course all the raspberries have thorns.

This is only part of my bounty...I froze the berries on trays before packing them into containers. I'll make jam and pies later. You can see the proportion of red raspberries to black raspberries...I think I see two red ones in this photo!

And one night last week while I was making dinner...my dad popped by and gave me two paper plates full of mushrooms that he found near his silo. He found some a couple of weeks ago that we cooked over the fire. They are soooooo good!

I cooked some and ate some raw in my salad. Of course you have to be careful with mushrooms and really know how to identify them before snacking away. These ones are sort of a mix between button mushrooms and portabella.

I didn't have any pigweed on my property previously....but my dad spread manure from his pasture onto my garden and with it brought lots of seeds. Pigweed isn't a pretty weed, but it's a very yummy and nutritious one! I let these ones grow really tall before I plucked them. They were over my head!

I'm a little slow at processing them, they wilt fast...I plan to freeze this whole bunch.

Pigweed (also known as lamb's quarters) is actually wild spinach. It's raw texture is different than raw spinach, actually more like baby spinach because it's not so "stem-y". The leaves are thinner and have less water in them. Cooked it's very similar, almost exactly like spinach...but again...no stems or strings that spinach tends to have. I mix it in with my lettuce mixes for salads and cook it into casseroles or just sautee it with garlic. It's free growing and oh so good!

I'll share my recipe for my lamb's quarter cheese bake. You can also use spinach and you wouldn't tell the difference.

I'm not a recipe writer and not even that great of a cook...but this recipe is so simple and the ingredients don't have to be exact. I'm going to estimate everything...if you like more cheese, add more cheese, if you like it leafy...add more greens.

Ok...to start, wash your leaves well (lamb's quarters are easy to wash because they have flat leaves that don't hold onto grim and don't provide good hiding places for insects and grow tall so they don't collect a lot of dirt). Mix together:

- 4 Cups of lamb's quarters
- 1 Cup Cottage Cheese (I use a whole small container of it)
- 1/2 cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese (I prefer cheddar)
- 1 egg
- A generous sprinkling of parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste

Press the mixture into a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Back at 375 for about 15-20 minutes or so until the top is golden and crispy. I like mine extra crispy.


It makes great leftovers too and you can make a big batch and freeze for nights when you don't have time to cook. Yum!

How can the world possibly be starving when there's so much wild food ripe for the picking? And I didn't even show you the half of it! :)


Anonymous said...

What fun you're having, adding garden and foraging to your creatures world. The berries...look yummy but aren't they black raspberries?Donna

Vintage by Crystal said...

Donna you're right! I didn't think about whether there was a difference or not, but blackberries are not hollow inside, while black and red raspberries both are. My dad always called them "blackcaps", but I suppose that's just a knickname. Thanks for the distinction! :)

Anonymous said...

You're welcome! Hopefully you'll have blackberries, too. If you had moved further south, as I did, wineberries would be on your table, too. mmmmm