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Carrot Top

Hark! The Wilderness Beckons....

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Look out the window, into your back yard. (New Yorkers, walk to the closest park...forget about staring wonderingly at the dustbins in the concrete alleyway...)

If you had to find something to forage, something to gather, something that you could eat...what would it be?

How would you prepare it?

(I'll write my own response a bit later...the lights of a fairly decent restaurant are twinkling from a bit down the road...need to get over there and have a good meal first...)

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Wild grape growing 30 to 40 feet up in a chinese elm tree. Not the best eating grapes, but ok for jam. My mom used to make a salad out of dandelions, i suspect alot of egulleters out there probably have too.

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I keep looking at the groundhogs in my In Laws backyard and wondering :biggrin::biggrin:

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Considering the pollution all around us and that we have pest control come e/o month, I must say nothing but the herbs that grown in my urn (which is off-limits for chemicals). :blink:

Edited to add: The lizards are too small and don't look tasty at all. And I hope all the crows have some disease that will kill them, so don't want them either.


Edited by Maison Rustique (log)

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Let's see...I have an almond tree, a pecan tree, a peach tree, two fig trees, and a plum tree. (The lemon is in the front yard.) I think I have the fruits and nuts covered.

For meat, I've got whippets. As sprinters, they're all white meat.

Oh, the next-door neighbour has a koi pond with honkin' big fish in it.

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Although 258 miles north of our home, I really consider The Cabin my home.

The land surrounding The Cabin has fed many a meal. Venison, grouse, duck, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and the occasional bug in a beer. I always seem to miss the fiddlehead ferns by a day or two, and always forget to take the mushroom identifying book with me when I go on walks. And, I haven't found any ramps. But, there is, in addition to the bounty we have found, much food for the soul.

Next weekend, we will hope that grouse and fish are in our future. If not, we will feast on the sights and sounds, and hope that that bald eagle "buzzes" me from less than 20' up in the air, as happened twice this past summer. Or that I will once again spot that gigantic buck while sitting in the outhouse.

In the meantime, I an espie another ripe tomato every day, which I eat straight off the vine, for lunch.

Should add that Paul just read a caption of a photo from a recent edition of Outdoor News: "While nine months pregnant, Valerie something of Bovey, MN, bagged this 202 pound black bear on Sept. 1 near Lawrence Lake with a 7 mm rifle. Her son, Benjamin, was born two days later." I'm feeling pretty wimpy having caught a big walleye just 4 days before one of mine was born.

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I have a friend who just moved to a town on the south shore of Long Island near Fire Island, and there are patches of wood sorrel growing as a weed in her yard. (Interestingly enough, I also spotted some growing as a weed outside of a friend's house on the East Coast of Malaysia, where many wild plants used to be gathered, and she didn't realize it was good to eat, so I ate some and gave her some to try.) A lot of people don't realize that the sort of clover-looking weeds are edible and have a nice tang. The type of sorrel usually used for shchav is sheep sorrel, which has a very different appearance and is not nearly as common (at least in these parts), but wood sorrel is fine to eat. The problem is that you have to snip a lot of it to get much food out of the patch, and it might not be worth it to most people. Here's a picture of the ubiquitous wood sorrel. And here's a picture of sheep sorrel.

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If I ever get my house built, I have delusions of catching a trout or red fish from my pier, crusting the filets with pecans from the tree in my backyard.

Those mallards wandering around just outside my current balconey are starting to look kinda tasty. I will pass on the seagulls. I know a guy that tried seagull one time. He said it was the most awful thing he ever tasted.

My sister is the family forager. She uses chickweed (tastes sort of like watercress) and dandelion in salads. We find samphire when bumming around the beach and salt marsh. The thick beds of coquinas can be washed and steamed for a clam broth to die for. We make chowder with that. When driving around just about anywhere, the passenger has the responsibility to scope out what is growing by the side of the road, in the ditches and such. "Stop! Stop! There was a huge stand of elderberries back there!" What follows is a screaching of tires and probably the abuse of various traffic rules to go back and investigate.

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three figs trees, one black mission, one brown turkey, one i-don't-know what. (a volunteer, planted by birds)

lots of herbs--rosemary, sage, verbena, thyme.

meyer lemon tree. (herb-infused meyer lemonade..mmmmm)

avocado tree with sucky/watery avocadoes, but the dog loves them, and they make her coat soooo shiny!

and chickens...but we don't eat them (they're pets...with names)---just their lovely, lovely eggs. (see avatar for evidence.)

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Wow. I am impressed. By all of you!

Wild grapes in a tree is so poetic and sweetly romantic...

I once knew a guy who ate roast groundhog (even started a thread on it here)

Herbs! They make everything good...(and we know what a 'dinner with herbs' is better than...)

Lemons, almonds, pecans, peaches, fig, plums...an Arabian Nights fantasy under a full moon....

Whippets...now you know they are to hug not to cook.

Snowangel...that cabin place is a dream come true.

Sorrels for soups from the woods....

Ducks and chickweed and samphire and clams! Who needs anything else!

And avocados...the perfect food...and such gorgeous eggs!

I took my walk outside my home today. As I left the door I wished we still had the stray dog we'd taken in when we lived out in the countryside. We named him Tramp and he was true to his name...he just disappeared one day never to return again. Tramp used to flush out wild turkey from the hayfield in season and bring it to the door, brown mixed beagle-tail a'wagging with pride. (No, I never did get up the nerve to eat those turkeys though they were beauts!)

As I walked out the door today, I almost trampled on some dandelion leaves...they'll do for a salad. Looking across at my neighbor's yard I weighed my conscience and decided against raiding her garden for tomatoes and peppers, and walked on....there is a pond down the road a bit behind this suburban grouping of houses, and there are small, very small fish in there...so if worms could be found there would be fried fish for supper...to place upon the dandelion salad. Here is some common chicory, blue flowers announcing its weediness to all...along the road, and with a bit of a stretch some wormy crabapples can be grabbed from a gnarled old tree sitting alone in an overgrown patch of pasture. Hmmm. Now I'm thinking Tourte Blette?

There are some cattails absurdly planted in someones front yard as decor...and it would be a kindness if I yanked them out of the ground for it looks ridiculous...but no... this is supposed to be a wilderness walk not meanderings into the neighbor's yards walk, so I pass them up. But I do make a note of where they are...(just in case hunger really strikes one day, you know).

Almost back home from this walk, and here is this messy mulberry tree. Too many, too soft, but better than nothing, so mulberries with sugar and cream will be dessert.

As I enter the back door, I glance over across the street towards one of the few remaining working farms in the area. The beautiful black cows nod and nuzzle the earth. Steak Florentine? No...they are better just to watch, from across the road...and even better than that, to see every morning as you drive by with the music from the radio blasting to wake up. They do a little dance in time to the music...and the laugh they give is probably better than the meat they might!

Amazing what one can find, right outside the door....

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From my window, I'm assessing the meal possibilities from my garden. The protein would consist of Willow the Cat, so it'll have to be Asian pears, swiss chard, rose hips and sorrel.

If folks are really hungry, we could explore the top layer of the compost heap.

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Well, the first thing I see is the mountain of pumpkins I picked this week--pie for everyone. I have 30 of them, white ones and orange ones.

I am not eating my chickens either--too old and stringy, but the duck and the goose look pretty tasty.

I call this place "Sparrowgrass Hill"--lots of wild asparagus in the spring.

Earlier in the summer, blackberries up on the hill are worth the chigger bites and the occasional frisson of seeing a snake. I stop and pick a pear and munch it while I mow, but the apple tree is pretty bare by now. If I was a good shot, I could have venison and turkey and a real mess of squirrel.

I have sheep sorrel and purslane, wild garlic, day lilies, mulberries, hickory nuts, bushels of wild grapes and persimmons. I have an "oyster tree" at the bottom of the drive that produces big clumps of mushrooms after the rain.

Neighbor Jack has cows and calves, but I believe he would fuss if one came up missing.

I guess if the grocery trucks stopped coming into town, I could survive for a while.


Edited by sparrowgrass (log)

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I have a fairly extensive garden so many meals can come from that but for wild foraging in the area it would take some work as this is a true desert except in the areas where water is available.

When the Yucca blooms the blooms themselves are edible and are okay but I wouldn't want to have to depend on them a great deal. This is not the plant that has edible roots. The roots of this yucca can be harvested and used like soap.

The mesquite beans are fairly well developed and they are good to eat. In another month or so the piñon pines up in the hills will be dropping their cones and the people who gather them will be out with their rakes and snake sticks. (The Mojave green, a rattlesnake with venom more powerful than the other varieties of rattler, just love to snuggle down under the piñon trees where the branches lay on the ground.) I used to do this when I was still able to get around and it was a lot of fun, trekking around with a big group of people.

If you want to try eating rattlesnake you have to treat it just as you would calamari. Either cook it quick or for a long, long time, otherwise it is like rubber.

The wild sage is very flavorful and just brushing against a bush will release the scent. You have to clean it carefully before you take it home, take only the leaves, no stems, because it is susceptible to scale insect infestation and you don't want to introduce these critters to your garden. You can't even tell an insect is there, it just looks like a flattish bump (scale) on the stem.

There are many more. Years ago I went on a nature hike in the San Gabriel canyon, led by an Indian who collected enough for a decent lunch for the ten of us in an area that looked like there was nothing edible. You have to know for sure though, there are many similar looking plants that can make one very, very sick.

We don't have it out here, but where I grew up in western Kentucky all of us kids were warned about picking a plant my grandma called "false parsley". It looked like curly parsley but could be deadly. Now I know that it was "lesser hemlock".

I know a fair amount about edible wild plants but unless I am absolutely sure of one, I will not eat it. Sometimes even the experts can be fooled. Same with wild mushrooms.

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We've got chayote - i'd cook it with a little tofu and tomatoes in coconut milk. Yummy stuff.

I've also got potatoes, garlic, beets, leeks, NZ spinach, and some green beans out there.

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I water with an asequia (ditch ) from the Rio Grande so lots of wild life appears during the flooding process. We get ducks, huge toads, lots of snails, and always lots of species of of birds (which unfortuantely local feral cats enjoy). Often wild mushrooms spring up and a local laying hen we call "City" (chicken in the yard) walks down the ditch (which has wild asparagus, chickweed, wild marigold and dendelion growing along it's banks) and gifts us with beautiful blue eggs. There are lots of herbs and tomatoes of all kinds, chiles, artichokes, pinon nuts, pears,prickly pears, apricots, currants, rasberries, grapes and cherries. I feel really blessed.

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Even more thrilling offerings...wow.

Maggie, I agree...keep the cat and she can help with sorting out the compost heap...which undoubtedly is lovely, for I read an earlier post of yours which spoke of distilling all the budding flowers of trees. You will add the touch of unexpected elegance as usual.

Sparrowgrass...what you have outside your door sounds like all things bright and beautiful. But you are from Missouri...that is the 'show me' state isn't it?

Hmmm. We might need a care package for proof here....

Andiesenji...it is just too much to bear to think that outside your door is as rampantly wonderful as the inside of your kitchen is. To think of a desert! Offering all that you spoke of....

And then MORE desert offerings of chayote and masses of colors bright and flavorful from Kapuliperson and Chowguy. The colors are what stand out as I read, such stark enticing colors shimmering in the bright sun...

What fun! Thank you...

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A giant hen of the woods mushroom, growing on an oak stump in a corner of my front yeard. I was too afraid to eat it at the time, but I know better now. Luckily, they're pretty common nearby.

--L. Rap

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Not counting the veg and herb gardens, including two cart-sized rosemary bushes, and a six foot fennel that tend themselves . . . we pick pounds of grapes for backfence grape jelly every summer, the wild persimmon is continuing to ripen to its greenish blackness -- makes ugly but very tasty jam (also plan to try a wild persimmon fudge recipe I found because I can't resist the experiment :laugh: ). Dandelion leaves for salad, wild onions, and garlic.

Fragrant and beautiful lemon horsemint, a lemony herb that is heaven in the mouth with chicken, lamb stew, and many other soups and butter sauces.

gallery_12550_164_1096619333.jpg

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WUB :wub: : i love eating homegrown produce. I live on a farm about a hour south of chicago where my relatives are horticulteralist. In my garden this year i was in a barry friz and went all crazy. Blue barries, blackberries, starberries, raspberries and something that i found in a seed bag- it is nutty and i dont like it. on the other end is produce- eggplant, tomatoes(roma, cherry,steak,celeb,beef) squash, onions, chives, sweet corn, zuchini, bean, black beans, greens ,peppers ,pumpkin, musk mellon, water mellon, basil, oregano,fennel, thyme,rosemary,parsley, sage, divorenum. ----that all took me a few minutes and a walk out there. then if i had to feed urasia i could walk across the road and harvest 500 acres of soy beans....

All of you guys with wild ducks chow down.... fatt duck, good liver ....oooo face :cool:

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Our cats keep bringing us offerings from around the neighbourhood...

this year we've had birds, a squirrel, a bat and a frog plus various moths and flies

Offered not accepted :smile:

David

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WUB :wub: : i love eating homegrown produce.  I live on a farm about a hour south of chicago where my relatives are horticulteralist.  In my garden this year i was in a barry friz and went all crazy.  Blue barries, blackberries, starberries, raspberries and something that i found in a seed bag- it is nutty and i dont like it.  on the other end is produce- eggplant, tomatoes(roma, cherry,steak,celeb,beef) squash, onions, chives, sweet corn, zuchini, bean, black beans, greens ,peppers ,pumpkin, musk mellon, water mellon, basil, oregano,fennel, thyme,rosemary,parsley, sage, divorenum. ----that all took me a few minutes and a walk out there.  then if i had to feed urasia i could walk across the road and harvest 500 acres of soy beans....

All of you guys with wild ducks chow down.... fatt duck, good liver ....oooo face  :cool:

A beautiful and hungry-making first post, ojbowl!

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Our cats keep bringing us offerings from around the neighbourhood...

this year we've had birds, a squirrel, a bat and a frog plus various moths and flies

Offered not accepted :smile:

David

An ancient relation of mine used to keep ferrets in England. You might do better with them as pets...they bring back fat rabbits....

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A giant hen of the woods mushroom, growing on an oak stump in a corner of my front yeard.  I was too afraid to eat it at the time, but I know better now. Luckily, they're pretty common nearby.

--L. Rap

You are both brave and lucky, yum!

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