Monday, June 10, 2013

Foraging Latest

I was recently feeling the need to get a brush up on my foraging, so I asked my mentor, Doug Simon, to come with me to my favorite spots and walk around with me...and I'm glad he did.  He opened my eyes to so many plants that I had walked right past for years.  Here are some new friends and old favorites found in a 30 minute walk recently.

While not edible, columbines were in full bloom for us:
 I have mostly avoided the greens up until now because, while edible and personally enjoyable, they're a harder sell to customers.  I did however start serving yellow dock this past week.  Right now its just a garnish but I hope to start doing more interesting things to it later in the month.
 Wild grapes are everywhere and I use them extensively as they mature - first the green, unripened grapes will get pickled, and later the mature grapes will get processed into a puree.
 The star of the day for me was the monkey flower.  The leaves cling to your finger like a monkey and the texture is a pleasurable "mucous."  I immediately worked them onto plates raw.
 The flowers have a very nice sweetness.
 Nettles...well, I like the flavor raw moreso than cooked, but the "stinging" part is not so pleasurable for the guest if its not cooked.  I was wondering if I could use the sting to my advantage or just do like I did this week and make it into a sauce.

 Wild roses were everywhere including last years rose hips.  I haven't used these yet, but I'm mulling them over.
The most exciting thing is the abundance of wild cherries.  I'm not sure how ripe and cherry-ey these will become but I'll now be watching them weekly.  And for convenience they're intertangled with the grapes for easy picking.