Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Free wild foods from the city (video)

Xochitl, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; survivalist Christopher Nyerges; Amina Khan (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2011); OutsideFun1 (video); herbalist Brigitte Mars; Woodland TV (UK)

(Elephant Journal) "Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them" (A. A. Milne).  Waylon walks with leading herbalist and earth goddess Brigitte Mars (author of 19 books) and eats lawn, gets pricked by nettles, talks about the crime that is grass, and learns about how to transform urban landscapes without asking permission.

Foraging Wild Edible Plants
Foraging Edible Wild Plants of North America preceded Christopher Nyerges' latest guide on wild California plants. They're fully illustrated wild food cookbooks with color photos and recipes for the most common greens found in North America.
Many of these plants also grow worldwide. "I was really happy with the result," he says. The guide is 211 pages of wild recipes, various ways to use wild foods, their nutritional value, and ways to process these plants, with full color photos of each. There is an introductory chapter on food preparation and how to make wild spices.

Christopher Nyerges reviews his newest book Foraging California.

Foraging California (Falcon Guide)
A chart at the end (based on the USDA's "Analysis of Foods") demonstrates the incredible nutritional value of wild foods. The book also includes comments from people who have tasted these dishes at workshops.

Responses vary from lovers of "Earth Bread," based on seed meal from the plant lambs quarter. Earthy to some, others say it's "virile," "amazing," "deliciously wholesome and sustaining." Adventurous eater? Ready to forage and prepare wild foods? Interested in living off the land? This is a great book to begin to explore.

(Woodlands TV/Adliberate) UK naturalist John Rhyder walks in a woodland
identifying plants, uses, where and when they grow, how best to eat them.

Shopping for vegetables? Hit the sidewalk, not the supermarket
A pair of California poppies at a poppy reserve in Lancaster are surrounded by filaree (a purple low-growing flower) and some yellow goldfield plants.
Seeds are a relaxant, petals are edible. California poppy reserve, Lancaster (Boris Yaro)
Forget lettuce and spinach. Start thinking mallow, purslane, and amaranth.

Even if we've never heard of these greens, they might be all around us, according to an interesting NPR piece on urban foraging.

The story follows expert forager Sam Thayer around Washington, DC, as he plucks and nibbles uncommon salad ingredients, including "weeds" like shepherd's purse and sow thistle as well as Siberian elm seeds.

He finds them in the unlikeliest of places -- reclaiming an abandoned garden box, sprouting near chain-link fences.

(Superfood Evolution) Wild edible greens are packed with nutrients not found in
store-bought produce. Common wild edibles: Twin Eagles Wilderness School.

Barring the risk of pesticides and city pollution, they're pretty good health and taste wise -- according to the story, more nutritious than grocery store greens. The mustard green, which has the highest known nutrient levels of any leafy green, is "high in vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, manganese, and fiber," says one expert.

My mother always told me not to pick things off the street and certainly don't eat them. Then again, she always told me to eat my vegetables. Intrigued, I wondered if there was any nutritional value to be had on the streets of Los Angeles.

Turns out we have a few foragers on the West Coast,* too. Check out this piece from the Weekend America files on Nance Klehm, a local foraging expert.

From the L.A. Times archives, here are some wild plants, what they taste like -- and when and where to find them.
  • *Christopher Nyerges, School of Self-Reliance, P.O. Box 41834, Los Angeles, CA 90041, (626) 791-3217, author of How to Survive Anywhere, Enter the Forest, and Guide to Wild Foods, editor of Wilderness Way magazine for 7 years, writer of thousands newspaper articles.
  • Pascal Baudar specializes in gourmet dishes using wild foods, (818) 484-6822.
  • Jim Robertson, Aboriginal Skills, focusing on stewardship of land through wilderness education, survival skills, hikes, (310) 395-0943. j3rbrts@dslextreme.com.
  • Barbara Kolander does wild-food gathering and cooking workshops.

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