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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fun Foraging With The Kids Today

Clockwise from upper right- mallow, wild mustard, cat's ear, clover, sow thistle, and fennel

Some friends were talking today about wild mustard, and, of course, talking about wild greens makes me want to have some as well, so the kids and I went out in search of wild mustard, and whatever other wild greens I was able to get my hands on.


I haven't really foraged wild fennel in a while, despite really loving the flavor, since it's not always so easy to forage it, since each frond is small and hard to spot, but last week I got reminded that you actually can pick a lot of fennel in one go if you know what you're doing.

Essentially, you need to find a tall dried up fennel plant, from last year's crop.



Get down to the ground, and feel your way down to the bottom of the hard, woody, old plant, and find new fresh growth below. Cut off any fresh, green growth as low to the ground as you can, and then gather them up.



All these fennel fronds were from the base of just one fennel plant! Not bad at all!



The fennel fronds were all from the base of only four fennel plants. So gathered relatively quickly! (See the first picture in the post for scale- it really was quite a lot!)




I found the wild mustard I'd been looking for- only didn't come home with so much as much of it was infested by aphids.



I collected some massive mallow leaves.



I also gathered a very large amount of sow thistle.



We saw some clover, and though it's rather time consuming to pick enough clover to be worthwhile, I figured I'd pick a bit for a garnish.



Look how cute they are!



To use them in recipes, I suggest you pill the flowers apart- each flower head is constructed of smaller flowers, each hollow and tube-like.



I figured- why not also forage some cats' ear- dandelion's hairier cousin- flowers for garnish. Unfortunately they got a bit smashed up before I could take this picture.



I almost forgot- I also found some wild asparagus! I'd been looking for some for a long time already, and only saw my first wild asparagus in another city far away, on Thursday. And then today I found some teeny tiny wild asparagus, right after I was about to wrap up our foraging trip.


They may be tiny- but they still count! All the more so because they were a 10 minute walk from my house!

And when we finally thought we finished our foraging- we came across an eleagnus bush, also known as silverberry, which my kids love, even though I think the berries make my mouth feel a bit too chalky.



Picking the eleagnus berries was my children's favorite part!



When we got home, all the wild plants I picked inspired me- especially the giant mallow leaves- perfect for stuffing.

So I made some absolutely delicious stuffed mallow leaves- with wild plants also for the outer, but also used in the filling. And they were Paleo to boot. But the recipe will have to be another day. For now, just the picture.



And now my fridge is packed to the brim with all sorts of greens and I can't wait to figure out what I want to make with them next!

Have you done any foraging lately? What have you picked? What is your favorite wild green?
Do you recognize any of the plants pictured here?

1 comment:

  1. What a great harvest. I like what you've done with the mallow leaves!

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