Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Foraging at home for dandelions and wild garlic
Before we began, I harvested two edible plants growing in the lawn - dandelions and wild garlic. If you have never tried cooking with these two wild edibles I encourage you to give them a try.
Dandelions are wonderfully versatile and nutritious, being high in Vitamin A, calcium and potassium. The leaves add a spicy touch to salads and even the roots are edible. If you are daring, try making dandelion coffee from roasted roots! I was interested in the flowers. Dandelion flowers can be used to make wine or fritters but I had a dandelion quick bread recipe I was eager to try.
Dandy Bread, from the blog Fat of the Land, calls for one cup of dandelion petals. The stems and green parts of the flower are bitter so the petals must be removed. I soaked the flowers and let them dry.
The method I used involved holding the petals and cutting off the green end of the flower.
Placing the cut petals face down in the palm of my hand, the green outer edge of the flower was easy to take off. A little patience is needed to get a cup of petals but I found my rhythm!
The petals are incorporated into the flour mixture before the wet ingredients are added. This recipe created a nice tasting bread with attractive flex of yellow from the petals.
The second edible I saved from the rototiller was wild garlic. Wild garlic is an unassuming plant, except for it's crazy curly stems. Part of the allium family, the greens are edible as a herb and if you only harvest the leaves, the plant will come back each year.
Pull up the plant in the spring or fall and you find tiny onion shaped bulbs, which taste more like onions than garlic. Use the bulbs as you would an onion. They can also be dried and stored for later. Be warned, the plants give off quite a pungent garlic smell!
I used both the bulbs and the leaves in a pasta dish with my favorite bacon and pea combination, cooked in a fresh and sun dried tomato sauce.We thought the wild garlic tasted fairly mild but we like garlic and onions!
For us in the northeast, we are just starting to see growth in our vegetable gardens, but there are edibles to be had, if you know where to look!
See you in the garden,