Friday's Foraging Walk
Around 12 people joined me for my Friday's foraging walk.
I really didn't have a list of wild edibles to forage for Mia that Friday so it was very much like a class about wild edibles. We found tons of wild radishes, mustard and other edible plants. We just had some rain so I still found some nice chickweeds as well.
After the walk, we sat down and made a wild food soup with the plants we collected. The soup stock was Japanese inspired (Dashi) with Kelp and shredded Tuna (Bonito). It's an easy soup to do in the wilderness and the dashi goes well with wild edibles.
We also tested some of mugwort beer and some western black nightshade berries salsa.
Pickled Yucca Whipplei Flower buds
One of the zillion projects I had this weekend, Pickled Yucca Flower Buds.
This will make a perfect condiment. It didn't work with the flowers but the flower buds were perfect and strong enough to sustain the heat of canning.
The pickling solution is Thai inspired: Lime juice instead of vinegar, water, ginger and sugar.
I kept the ratio of juice and water extremely safe (50% of each) and it's based on USDA approved pickling recipe for low acid vegetables, the acidity of the solution if very high too (around 3) so I know it's good to go and I'm sure it's going to be delicious.
Water bath canning for 15 minutes.
California Sagebrush Lenzino
I always wanted to make a Lenzino using wild spices, some of the spices I collect can be overwhelming to most people not used to wild aromatics, wild spices are stronger, more aromatic and unusual to most people but in this case, the flavors of the California Sagebrush really impregnated the meat.
I started this 3 weeks ago and it came out wonderful. Cured in salt for 24 hrs, covered with a mix of wild spices (California Sagebrush, California Bay Leaves, CA peppers, a dash of garlic and also regular black paper) and left to dry in the fridge for 3 weeks.
It's delicious with strong wild gamey flavors. Will go well with some of our wild food dishes. Nitrates free too!
Food Preservation Worskhop - Dehydration
This weekend I had my food preservation workshop on dehydration.
First we went on a small wild food hike and collected some wild edibles then I went over some of the materials I use to dehydrate (solar/electric) and the various methods of dehydrating.
That day we made a wild food soup with previously dehydrated plants such as stinging nettles, mushrooms, yucca, etc...
I also did a demonstration on how to make wild food "instant soup cubes), basically I dehydrate the ingredients, powder them and create little soup cubes.
It's all in the wild food lab.
Pickled Yucca Shoot
One of my weekend project and a true delicacy. Pickled Yucca Whipplei Shoots.
Protected in Arizona, the plant is abundant around Los Angeles.
I forage sparingly as the plant is so beautiful. I also plant some each year. It's THE favorite wild food pickle in my classes. Pickling solution: 3 parts Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 parts white wine. 2-3 slices of ginger in each jar, one red chili and one small California Bay leaf. One or two grains of California Pepper (peppertree), a dash of Italian spices and salt.
Water bath canning for 15 minutes and voila!
Time to forage for Wild Radish Pods
The wild radish have been there for a couple of months already but this is the perfect time to forage them. The pods are really nice and juicy.
You can use them in salads or even cook them. Interestingly enough, once cooked most of the radish flavor is gone and it's pretty much like eating green beans.
My favorite project is to pickle them. The recipe is very simple: 3 parts vinegar, 2 parts wine. Each jar contains 1/2 California Bay leaf, one small garlic, one small spicy chili, a dash of Italian spices and a couple of peppers from a California Peppertree.
I water bath can it for 15 minutes.
Poor Man's Capers with Sow Thistle Buds
This is one of my projects of the weekend. Turn this into delicious "fake" capers.
When I grew up in Belgium, sow thistle buds (before the flower) would be placed in regular white vinegar to make a "Poor Man's Caper".
It's actually so-so but I'm working on 2 projects to make it into gourmet capers.
One using a pickling solution that resemble the taste of capers, the other one is going through a quick fermentation process then pickling.
But meanwhile, yes...these buds can be tasty in a proper pickling solution.
Making Beer Wild Wild Plants Class
Around 22 people showed up for my beer class on Sunday. It was a wonderful crowd and we had a great time.
First we went on a wild food hike, people got introduced to wild edibles and we also foraged the plant we're using to make beer: Mugwort.
Back to the original location, we went through all the steps of making beer and actually made beer using previously dehydrated mugwort.
For snacks, the wild food chef Mia Wasilevich made her famous mugwort beer chili and also some popcorns using wild spices as seasoning.
We all had a wonderful day!
Seasonal Wild Food Salad
As you go through the months, you get new wild edibles to make wild food salad. Most of the chickweed and miner's lettuce is gone so this time I used some yucca shoots, wild radish pods and a new one for me; Canadian Lettuce.
Canadian Lettuce, also called Indian Lettuce (which is a bit confusing because many wild plants are named the same) is quite a bitter lettuce so you need to use it sparingly. You can also boil it to remove the bitterness. But from working with Mia, I've really learned that bitterness is a good thing if you can create a nice balance with the other flavors.
The seasoning was Thai - sweet, sour and delicious.