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Topic: Foraging wild vegetables  (Read 2347 times)
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Ludi
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« on: April 25, 2010 10:49:49 AM »

I noticed Wulf has a thread about Nettles.  Smiley Lately I've been trying to incorporate more wild vegetables into my diet.

This season so far I've eaten Wild Onion (Allium canadense), Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) Sotol (Dasylirion texanum), and Thistle (Cirsium spp.).

The Sotol was an interesting experiment.  This plant was a staple of natives here in Central Texas and to the west.  It has a thick bulb-like stem which can be slow-cooked, peeled, and eaten.  The taste test was a definite success.  Sotol tastes a bit like a cross between asparagus and artichoke.  The biggest drawback to eating it is you have to kill the plant to do so.  It can also be difficult to dig up.  I was able to use a shovel, but the natives had to use wooden, stone, or bone digging tools.

Young Sotol in pots:
 


Sotol stem ready for cooking:



Today I tried Thistle which is all over the place this time of year.  It is easy to gather and prepare.  I just cut the young bloom stalk, before the flowers have formed, trimmed off the prickles with a knife, and boiled it for a few minutes until tender.  The older stalks get tough and fibrous, so its important to get them young.  The flavor is very mild.  This plant could substitute for any mild-flavored vegetable.
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010 05:57:07 PM »

We had grilled Nopales (cactus pads) with our grilled store-bought (not homegrown) chicken and eggplant tonight.

The Nopales weren't the native ones, but some of the "spineless" kind I have growing in the yard.  The natives are much harder to prepare.





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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010 06:13:51 PM »

Tonight I cooked with Curly Dock (Rumex crispus), which is closely related to French Sorrel.  The recipe was a variation on "Spinach and Mushroom Pasta with Garlic Sauce" by yarnorama http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=345544.0 using Curly Dock in place of Spinach and also adding some diced chicken left over from last night.  This pasta dish was a big success.

Dock in the yard:



Dock in the bowl:



Pasta with Dock:

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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010 05:08:40 PM »

How interesting! I don't know that I'd trust myself to not accidentally saute up some deliciously poisonous plant of doom. Are you using any particular reference book? Please do keep us updated with anything else you may try!
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2010 10:33:16 AM »

How interesting! I don't know that I'd trust myself to not accidentally saute up some deliciously poisonous plant of doom. Are you using any particular reference book? Please do keep us updated with anything else you may try!

Same here. Knowing me, I'd probably cook up some delicious hemlock, but I would love to have some more information. I would like to try my hand at wild veggies  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010 12:40:41 PM »

My primary reference is "Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest" by Delena Tull, but I also have some other regional wild plant reference books.  So far I'm sticking with easily identifiable plants!

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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010 12:41:14 PM »

More nopales and wild onions, this time in a very traditional dish, with homegrown eggs and homemade tortillas.

Cactus and onions:



Diced cactus and onions cooked first, then eggs added with black pepper and a whisper of cheese, scrambled, here on a tortilla:



Final dish with storebought salsa:

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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010 08:33:38 PM »

I love nopales w/ dried shrimp cooked in with them...and it's been way too long since I've had any. Now you've got me really yearning for some. YUM!
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010 12:02:38 AM »

Ooh, this is fascinating. We have some wild onions here, but the white onion part tends to be really tiny. I wish there were docks and nettles around, too -- my grandmother makes a really nice nettle soup -- but I have to be satisfied with plantains (the leafy kind, not the banana kind) and ground ivy (which makes nice tea).
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helenm66
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010 01:59:21 AM »

Here in the UK we have so much wild garlic that it makes the woods smell like my kitchen, the tubers are smaller than bought garlic with a slightly more earthy taste. But it's free and natural and very highly recommended.

HM
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