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Sweet Story cont.
6 years ago

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all
three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to
accompany them Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

“Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them.
Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.”

“We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband.  Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles…A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself…An unexpected phone call from an old friend… Green stoplights on your way to work… The fastest line at the grocery store… A good sing-along song on the radio… Your keys right where you left them.

Sweet Story ~ sent by Judy E.
6 years ago

Sweet Story ~


I've seen this story more times than I can remember and it always warms my heart.  Have a beautiful Sunday everyone...Enjoy!

Babs Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small
boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. Sure look good."

“They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?”

“Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.”

“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.”

“Would you like to take some home?”

“No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got's my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here 'tis. She's a dandy.”

“I can see that Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not zackley. but almost.”

“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”

“Sure will Thanks Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who

ok forage ahead: Wild Food
6 years ago
I posted the following on both of my FB groups and wanted to post it here. This problem is growing, so much that each day I spend my morning on it.

Each morning I sit on this computer and answer emails. The last couple of weeks have been hard as I have so many emails from those who are food insecure. We have thousands here in Oklahoma. They are looking for a way to extend there food each month. All of my email seems to be from the elderly and young families. Their stories are heartbreaking to say the least. Due to the cut coming this month for many of them to their food stamps, they are looking for a way to keep food on their tables. Many of these families have both parents working. Then I received a email from a group who are concerned with our food banks that help feed many of these people. Due to the Farm Bill they will be receiving less and have no way to make up for the loss which will mean less food they can give out. This will be devastating to many of these families. I am giving you facts and by no way does this call for any political statements, they are not allowed here. I have made every effort to engage these people in conversation and try helping them with solutions. So far all have been receptive to any suggestions and very thankful. So what can I do to help them and others who find themselves in this situation? I have an idea of combining members of this group and my Let’s teach them to fish group to put on a free classes to show them ways to help them through this. I know if there are this many that are able to email me there must be so many times more. In the next couple of weeks I will call for volunteers to help me organize this. I will need volunteers in many different areas as it is impossible for me to travel this much. I am hoping to make a series of video’s to send out to be shown. This is a big project. I would like to put the video’s online for those who have access to computers. I most likely will start another group for this or run it from the Let’s teach them to fish group and my web site. If you have any ideas, send them to me at

Jackie Dill

Heritage Wildcrafter
Oklahoma Wildcrafting –
Foraging Web Site may be found at,

This list is for educational purposes only.  Any decision to ingest or use anything you read about on this list is done so at your own risk.

October 27, 2013
Categories: A good Cause / Showing Love, Wild Foods, Wilderness Skills . Tags: ok forage ahead: Wild Food

6 years ago
Geronimo - The Apache Experience's photo.

Among the Indians using the Mesquite were the Apache, Cahuilla, Chiricahua, Cocopa, Comanche, Diegueno, Havasupai, Hualapai, Isleta, Kamia, Kawaiisu, Keres, Kiowa, Laguna, Luiseno, Mahuna, Maricopa, Mohave, Paiute, Papago, Pima, Pima Gila River, Seri, Yavapai, and Yuma. They knew a good thing when they tasted it. There are almost as many uses for the tree as there were tribes. Main uses were young pods eaten raw or cooked, mature tan pods ground up whole to make a gluten-free flour; or, the pods and seeds separated and ground separately for different uses.
Those other uses include: Grinding, adding water, and letting the mixture ferment; pods used as a sugar substitute (they’re 16% sugar); the tree’s white resinous secretions used to make candy or chewed like gum; fresh pods pounded and juice drank like milk; pounded beans mixed with sea lion oil; pods rotted in a hole for a month then ground into a flour to make a beverage; beans boiled, cooled then pressed into cakes; catkins sucked for sweetness; toasted seeds ground and added to coffee; flowers eaten raw or roasted, often formed into dumplings then stored.
While making wine was a way of preserving food and its calories in the desert southwest, the native range, preservation was rather easy, dry the pods and seeds on the roof of the wickiup . Thus we must conclude they made the intoxicating drink, pulque, for relaxation and health reasons. Every action the Apache did was curative and their entire livelihood was based on curative measures.
And just what wildlife likes those leaves and fruit? Cattle, horses, domestic sheep, goats, mules, and burros. It is not unusual to see these trees browsed up to the height these animal’s can reach. Mesquite seeds are an important part of the diet of mice, kangaroo rats, woodrats, chipmunks, ground squirrels, rock squirrels, cottontail, skunks, quail, doves, ravens, the black-tailed prairie dog, black-tailed jackrabbit, porcupine, raccoon, coyote, collared peccary, white-tailed deer, mule deer, wild turkey, and mallard ducks.
Besides food mesquite has had various medicinal applications as well. Water and alcoholic extracts are antibacterial. Mesquite beans were also used as a source of moisture when there was no water. Apache have used Mesquite in the southwest for 1,000 years.
In times of little food, mesquite beans were the most abundant and accessible resources. Native tribes from long distances would exchange baskets and articles brought to them by various tribes.
Gathering was a tribal event, large parties in the expeditions, with women the principal gatherers. Pods were stored in baskets away from mice.
Mesquite beans formed one of the most important, if not the most important, article of diet of the Apache people.
6 years ago
9 years ago
Last video was about GMO trying to take away saved seeds from tribes! That they are out dated. Ha What a laugh!
9 years ago
  • Do Deer like Pig Nuts?
     The Shellbark Hickory tree, Carya laciniosa, is also know as bigleaf shagbark, kingnut, big shellbark, bottom shellbark, thick shellbark and western shellbark). This deciduous tree is similar to that of the Shagbark Hickory, but often not quite as shaggy. The fruit is larger than other hickories. This is a big tree and it prefers wet, fertile bottomland. It is less common than either the Shagbark or Bitternut Hickories. The wood is similar to that of the Shagbark Hickory and is used in much the same way.  Shellbarks in the bottoms along the Mississippi and Ohio River bottoms, often produce tennis ball to baseball size nuts (including the outside husk), and offer the best and largest meat nuts. Which are excellent for candy, fudge, brownies, pies, or eaten raw! As for anything other than rodents and man eating them, that isnt true. Hickory nuts take a determined effort to get into them, and only a good hammer or the super sharp teeth of a rodent like a squirrel, chipmunks, rat or mouse has any hope of getting through the rock hard shells. Ducks, wild turkey, deer, raccoons, and foxes have little hope of getting through shell. Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is probably the most distinctive of all the hickories because of its loose-plated bark. Common names include shellbark hickory, scalybark hickory, shagbark, and upland hickory. Shagbark hickory is evenly distributed throughout the Eastern States and, together with pignut hickory, furnishes the bulk of the commercial hickory. The tough resilient properties of the wood make it suitable for products subject to impact and stress. The sweet nuts, once a staple food for American Indians, provide food for wildlife. Hickories serve as food for many wildlife species. The nuts are a preferred food of squirrels and are eaten from the time fruits approach maturity in early August until the supply is gone. Hickory nuts also are 5 to 10 percent of the diet of eastern chipmunks. In addition to the mammals above, black bears, gray and red foxes, rabbits, and white-footed mice plus bird species such as mallards, wood ducks, bobwhites, and wild turkey utilize small amounts of hickory nuts. Hickory is not a preferred forage species and seldom is browsed by deer when the range is in good condition. Hickory foliage is browsed by livestock only when other food is scarce.
Luffa Sponge for the bath, or even food part 2
9 years ago


The leaves of a healthy vine have a glorious deep blue green appearance. The flowers are a vibrant yellow and can stretch to approximately 5 inches in size with correct growing conditions. The flowers are formed male and female separately and are open for pollination only 1 day. The serious luffa grower can benefit by placing a beehive within a close proximity of the crop to assist in pollination.

The fruit itself will be a deep green reaching to approximately 12 - 18 inches long. It will have a smooth cylindrical shape, resembling a cucumber.


The harvest of the luffa is one of the easiest and most satisfying of any vegetable that I have had the honor of being exposed to. While the use of the luffa as an edible vegetable is not common in the United States, in its early immature stage it can be harvested and prepared like squash or can be eaten raw like the cucumber. During this time the luffa has not had the opportunity to develop its inner fibrous netting that it is more commonly grown for.

The luffa is ready to be harvested for its sponge when the outer shell has begun to turn brown and the seeds can be heard rattling inside when the luffa is shaken. Typically this will occur after the first killing frost. After harvesting, cut the blossom end off of the luffa and shake the seeds free (be sure to save them for next year). Place the luffa in a pot of hot water and let soak for approximately 2-3 hours. At the end of the soaking period, the skin on the outside of the luffa should be able to slide off much in the same manner as roasting a pepper to remove its skin.

The sponge that is harvested will more than likely contain small spots and be darker than the ones that are commonly seen in department stores. If you care about the appearance, the creamy whitish look can be obtained by soaking the luffa in a mild bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution. This of course is not necessary for common everyday uses such as pot scrubs or whitewall tire scourers.

We lived in a very small community, so you would assume that by the third or fourth year of growing luffa everyone would have seen one, but no matter what, my grandfather and then my father would find someone every year that had not seen our luffa. They would begin a conversation and then suddenly you would hear, "Hey, lem'me show you something. . ." and you knew that you would soon see them come around the back of the car, reach in to the back seat and pull out a dried luffa gourd.


If at all possible, try to obtain seeds from other growers that have the quality fruit that is desired. Seeds are available now generally in the mainstream markets but may have fibers that tend to be not as strong or the fruits not as large as ones that may be obtained from a long time luffa gardener.

Out of all the 7 children that my grandfather had, most married into other farms that had livestock, grew corn or cotton or joined the military, and really in the everyday living of one's life luffa never came into much concern. Everyone seemed to think that everyone else had a couple of seed left so no one really thought about it, until we all got together finally for a family reunion a couple of years ago. We soon realized that no one had any of these seed left and that we had probably lost those seed forever. Luckily, I mentioned this to a neighbor who quickly replied, "Oh I've got some of those seed that your granddaddy gave me years ago." So luckily, and now with more care, the legacy of luffa in our family can continue.

Luffa Sponge for the bath, or even food
9 years ago
In an area where corn, cotton and soybeans define a true farmer, my grandfather was a true eccentric. The rumor goes that he made a bet with one of his friends that he could grow a sponge of sorts, something that they could not only eat but that they could also use year round. The bet was made and my legacy of luffa began.


Luffa (Luffa cylindrical) is grown commercially in China, Korea, Japan, and Central America and can still be found wild in its country of origin, India. While in my family luffa was grown as a source of bragging rights and a novelty for the children, it is today, becoming more widely cultivated commercially in the Southeast and some parts of the Deep South. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, and is also known as Chinese Okra, dishrag sponge, smooth gourd or loofah.

Luffa is commonly recognized in such stores as Bed Bath & Beyond, the Garden Emporium, and Pier 1 Imports as an addition to a beautiful menagerie of bath items. While this is the most common use in the United States, it is also used as air filters, packing material, marine steam engine filters, insulation, and stuffing for shoulder pads as well as mattresses.

No one knows exactly how my grandfather came into our seeds. As far as anyone knows he never traveled outside of North Carolina and rarely left our little town. Some think that there is a possibility that one of my uncles or my father brought back seeds from their journeys overseas with the Army or possibly that he obtained them from our local agriculture extension office. There was a time in the late 40's that the government was trying desperately to find something else that could be grown in our area. Whatever the truth may be, my whole family is grateful for not only the seed but also the memories that have come with them.

Growth and Cultivation

Luffa should be grown in an area that has a long growing season or started indoors; it will take approximately 95-116 days to reach full maturity. Starting the seeds indoors and then transplanting outside after the threat of frost has passed will give those that have shorter growing seasons a good shot at growing these unusual plants.

I have read in several different magazines that luffa seed are very slow and sporadic to start, I have found otherwise. My family would always sprout our seeds by wrapping them in moist paper towels for about 3-4 days and placing them in a warm area with diffused sunlight. It was the one event that meant spring was coming. Long after my grandfather was not able to have his huge garden anymore he would still sprout the luffa seed and give them to our neighbors or to more distant members of our family. He always said it was habit to do it every year but I think secretly he continued to do it so that he could watch the faces of the youngest members of our family as we slowly pulled back the paper towels to discover the newly sprouted plants.

After the seeds had sprouted, we would then transfer them to a biodegradable seed pot (such as Jiffy Peat Pots or the do it yourself newspaper kind) so as to not disturb the root structure when transplanting. By using this method of seed starting we were able to maximize our seeds by not having to thin out any. After placing one sprouted seed per peat pot, we then sprinkled with a potting mixture just enough to cover the seed and to let the sprout show through. After 2-3 true leaves developed it was time to put them into the ground.

The vertical method of growing these plants is most highly recommended. There are many ways to establish a vertical garden, but for us the most economical has always been the following: place 2 poles approximately 6-8 feet apart, reaching 6 feet tall and then stretching chicken wire tightly across creating a fence of sorts. Placing a luffa plant approximately every 10 inches will give it ample space to grow upward and outward. While the luffa vine is a very hardy climber it will not initially seek out the trellis, therefore it must be hand trained initially. Keeping in mind that luffa will reach to approximately 12 inches long; remove any early setting fruits that may appear on the bottom of the plant. Luffa tends to be very sensitive to obstacles, if it were to meet with the ground or another luffa it may begin to grow in an odd shape or worse begin to rot. Also by maintaining a smaller amount of luffa per vine (approximately 6-8) it will also ensure that your fruits will reach their optimum size.

The luffa much like it's cousin the cucumber enjoys a soil pH of approximately 6.0 - 6.8 with high levels of potassium and phosphorous. Upon transplanting, a side dressing of fertilizer may be added and if needed, again during the first signs of flowering or fruit setting (approximately 6 weeks after the seed sprouted). The most important aspect of growing luffa is to make sure that it has proper irrigation. If the plant suffers a drought during its growth the fruit will appear misshapen and small.


The leaves of a healthy vine have a glorious deep blue green appearance. The flowers are a vibrant yellow and can stretch to approximately 5 inches in size with correct growing conditions. The flowers are formed male and female separately and are open for pollination only 1 day. The serious luffa grower can benefit by placing a beehive within a close proximity of the crop to assist in pollination.

The fruit itself will be a deep green reaching to approximately 12

9 years ago

“Organic” doesn’t necessarily mean not genetically modified. Therefore one naturally also wonders if the White House will be using heirloom non-GMO seeds, and if so, whether they plan on also saving the seeds they harvest themselves, which is the irreplaceable link in the chain to true sustainable living and survival. Teaching organic farming to 5th graders without mentioning this is like leaving fractions out of math class.

And if the White House IS growing heirloom tomatoes and saving seeds, for example,  how now, brown cow??

While the White House garden is a good thing to see, as it may encourage others to go out there and grow a few veggies themselves, it sure would be extra-refreshing to see someone there speak out on the issue of non-GMO seeds and the seemingly hypocritical bill which is well on its way to further controlling and restricting the choices and freedoms of our natural heritage.

by Michaels

Film The Future of Food

9 years ago

Monsanto, Genetic Pollution and Monopolism – SourceWatch

Nov 17, 2008 … Besides this Monsanto has aggressively claimed patent ownership of ….fruit-and-vegetable-seed giant Monsanto paid $1.4 billion for the 61k -

The Who Farm, which hoped to encourage the White House to plan an organic garden.

Michelle Obama actually breaking ground the other day, to the delight of the media, a class of 5th graders and a lot of well-meaning folks out there.

Frankly the timing is suspicious considering the very hot current topic of bill HR 875. This bill, otherwise known as The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. Her husband is Stanley Greenburg, who works for Monsanto, wouldntcha know. This bill threatens the very legality of organic farming, and the outcry is far and loud across the less mainstream Internet. Here is one typical discussion, but one can find raised hackles all over the place.

So is this Obama family garden plot a little publicity aimed to steer the public away from the truth about the administration’s apparent position on big ag? It raised an eyebrow over at Cryptogon, and forums are quickly picking up on the hypocrisy. It seems outrageous to clamor over the wonderfulness of a White House organic garden without at least mentioning the pending bill and its surrounding controversy.

This bill is sought by the current administration in response to recent food safety issues. The tragic problem of tainted food – spinach, peanut butter, etc – is creating quite a convenient ’solution’. Could it be just another thing to add to the list of the dialectical chess game currently being played by the Oligarchy and the powers-that-be, in order to further consolidate and empower a centralized control mechanism? Namely, and likely, the The Codex Alimentarius and its current offshoots. An interesting podcast about the Codex can be found over at Red Ice Creations with Scott Tips of the National Health Federation, which seeks to protect individual rights to use dietary supplements and alternative health therapies without government restriction. Dad 2059 has been talking about it for awhile now, and has some interesting links and discussion.

Another recent issue of contaminated toys from China, which led to, of course, The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which now requires rigorous, and expensive, testing of all materials in children’s products. While some large American toy manufacturers are seeing their sales improve due to the new regulations, smaller crafters and second hand stores are going out of business by the dozen.

The Oligarchy is slowly but surely wiping out the little guys, all in the name of safety. Wonder how it got to be that way in the first place? <img src=" src="">

One wonders about Mrs. Obama’s position on HR 875, and whether she has discussed it with the hubby. Perhaps, as Cryptogon tentatively hopes, it’s her way of speaking out against HR 875. Maybe there are some interesting discussions going on in the White House living quarters at night.

Or, perhaps it’s just a ruse. One certainly wonders what she thinks about the monster likely behind the bill, Monsanto, their terminator seed technology and the suicides of thousands of farmersaround the world.

“Organic” doesn’t necessarily mean not genetically modified. Therefore one naturally also wonders if the White House will be using heirloom non-GMO seeds, and if so, whether they plan on also saving the seeds they harvest themselves, which is the irreplaceable link in the chain to true sustainable living and s

What Has Happened to Our Fruit and Vegetable Seeds?
9 years ago

What Has Happened to Our Fruit and Vegetable Seeds?

Part 1 – Sustainable Food (UCLA Lecture)
Part 2 – Sustainable Food (UCLA Lecture) httpvh://
Part 3 – Sustainable Food (UCLA Lecture)
Part 4: Q & A session after UCLA lecture
Part 5: Q & A session after UCLA lecture httpvh:// January 22, 2009

By Anais | email author

Moving right along here.  We just wrap up companion website to the film Homegrown Revolution – well, almost.  A few things need written and linked. But you can now order a copy of HGR!

Now onward to our other venture!

The Freedom Seeds website is not ready yet.  You know how it is with websites they take longer to develop than conceive.  Especially merchant websites. there’s just so much other coding involved.

So given the fact we are behind and with the seed buying rush in full swing and everyone itching to place their seeds orders we have put together a FREEDOM SEEDS 2009 LIST order form that you can request via email at and start placing your seed order TODAY! Or leave your name and email in the comment box below and one of our volunteers will email you the 2009 Freedom Seeds List

Support seeds grown by the people for the people and our mission to promote seed sovereignty.

Take Back the Seeds,
Take Back Our Food

Freedom Seeds is the revolutionary new seed sovereignty movement spearheaded by the non profit Dervaes Institute. Through an extensive program of education, activism, and up-to-the-minute news and fact gathering, Freedom Seeds offers a source for information on the state of our seeds, without the filter of corporate interests or mainstream media. It points to the special interests funded by Monsanto, while explaining the full implications of monopolies on food availability, livestock raising, small agricultural businesses, and one-family gardens. And it delivers ways to fight back, regaining control over the crops we grow and the food we eat.

“We have more brands of shoes than we have of carrots or broccoli.”
—Jules Dervaes

In a new model of activism and free-market enterprise, Freedom offers a reliable resource—not only of information on the state of our seeds, but also of the seeds themselves—safe, dependable, organic seeds untampered by industrial modification.

In its first season, Freedom Seeds gives one-trowel revolutionaries the most potent weapon at their disposal—more than 75 varieties of vegetable seeds to grow in their gardens. Working with small providers, Freedom Seeds is the conduit for the safe, diverse, and economical seeds every gardener can trust, and gives everyone a chance to be a steward of diverse strains now under threat of eradication by the seed monopolies.

All profits will go towards our homegrown, grassroots non profit educational outreach & development.

We look forward to this venture and we hope you do too.

What is Happening to our Healthy Food Supply?

But, What has happened to our healthy food supply? … Drying Process of organically grown fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and sprouts has been developed . 11k

Benefits of a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables – Nutrition

The different colors in fruits and vegetables help our immune system react …. Your stomach will not dissolve whole flax seeds and many of them will come – 31k -

Grow Gardens , Save dry foods!
11 years ago

11 years ago

When harvest began, the men pulled cones from the trees using tools made from large willow branches equipped with a sturdy V-shaped hook at the end. Women and children piled the cones in burden baskets (usually large conical wicker baskets carried on one’s back with a cordage band across the forehead). At this point, the cones were just at the point of opening and were usually full of pine pitch.

In camps surrounding the forest harvesting grounds, the pine cones were processed. This began by roasting the pine cones around hot coals, turning them often, to cause them to open up. Then, the cones could be beaten lightly to cause the nuts to fall out. When a supply of nuts was available, these required further processing since the nuts were covered by a soft brown shell. Cracking this shell would be difficult and would injure the fruit inside The nuts were processed by placing them on a basketry tray with hot coals from the fire. Once introduced together, the whole mass was kept in constant motion, throwing them up and swirling the tray, until the shells were roasted to a hard, crisp dark brown. The coals were removed at this point and the nuts were poured onto a grinding stone where they were lightly pounded with a mano until all of the shells had cracked and falled free of the inner fruit.

Cracked pinenuts are yellow-orange, translucent and soft. They can be eaten at this point and are delicious. Far more pine nuts were harvested than could be eaten raw so they needed to be processed further. At this point, the nuts were returned to a winnowing tray and thrown repeatedly into the air to allow the cracked shells to be carried off by the wind. When the shells were all gone, hot coals were returned to the tray and the roasting process was repeated until the nuts were dry and hard, somewhat darker in color.

At this point, the nuts could be stored in large basketry storage containers for later use. Dried nuts could still be eaten without further processing but the usual procedure was to make a pine-nut flour by grinding them. They were returned to the grinding stone and the mano was used to pound them lightly until they were well fragmented. Grinding was achieved with small amounts quickly so that the fine flour could be pushed off the metate forward into a bowl or onto a tray. A soap-root brush light be used to move the pine-nut flour on the tray. When enough flour was available, it could be warmed in water to make a thick paste; then the paste could be reduced, by dilution, to make whatever consistency was desired. While pine-nut mush may not sound especially appealing, addition of berries, various leafy vegetables, and/or ground meat or fish made it a feast.
11 years ago

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Roasted Pinon Pine Nuts

        Roasting time depends on how much moisture is in the nut. Pine nut roasting is an ART, not a science.  Hard shell nuts are roasted at higher temperatures (350- 375) 10 -15 minutes. Your soft shell nuts should be roasted at 325 350 on a cookie sheet..  It will take 45- 65 minutes depending on the nut size and mositure content. We soak nuts in salt water, then roast, so my roasts take a bit longer. Stir every 10 minutes after 10 minutes. Start testing at about 30 minutes into your roast. Follow pictured guide for doneness. Again, roasting is an art, not a science!!
11 years ago

here is a picture of a parasol mushroom. very delicious indeed! just be careful if you decide to wild mushroom hunt, there is one out there that is similiar but poisonous. make sure of what you wild harvest! these just popped up after our last good rain. i like to shake them where ever i find them, hoping spores will make some new ones!

Image:Macrolepiota procera 1.jpg

The parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) is a basidiomycete fungus with a large, prominent fruiting body resembling a lady's parasol. It is a fairly common species on well-drained soils. It is found solitary or in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland. Globally, it is widespread in temperate regions.

The height and cap diameter of a mature specimen may both reach 40 cm, a size truly impressive for the fruiting body of an agaric. The stipe is relatively thin and reaches full height before the cap has expanded. The stipe is very fibrous in texture which garners it inedible. The surface is characteristically wrapped in a snakeskin-like pattern of scaly growths. The immature cap is compact and egg-shaped, with the cap margin around the stipe, sealing a chamber inside the cap. As it matures, the margin breaks off, leaving a fleshy, movable ring around the stipe. At full maturity, the cap is more or less flat, with a chocolate-brown umbo in the centre that is leathery to touch. Dark and cap-coloured flakes remain on the upper surface of the cap and can be removed easily. The gills are crowded, free, and white with a pale pink tinge sometimes present. The spore print is white. It has a pleasant nutty smell. When sliced, the white flesh may turn a pale pink.

11 years ago

Ah good! Hope you enjoy it! Yes, please do.... let us know how you like it!

 I am enjoying doing this one Connecting to the land and the fun of preparing food dishes.

I miss my old forests and Ranch. I don't miss all the work, which I would not be able to keep up with now. But I do miss thoses years of hiking the fence line, because it was too rough for riding the horses and working on that land

11 years ago

i could kiss you for the lovely walnut taco "meat" recipe little running deer! it is definetly one i will try and then let you know how it was! awesome thread! hugs all around

11 years ago
Do you know where sponges come from? You know, those cool sponges that always come in those expensive luxury bath sets? My guess was that they came from the ocean, some kind of sea sponge -- nope. Any other guesses?
Ok, I'll tell you -- sponges are vegetables!!
When they're young they can be eaten and used in recipes just like okra. If you let them mature and dry -- they are sponges! Isn't that amazing?
Here are a couple of photos "borrowed" from the Internet of what they look like growing on the vine...
and dried on the vine...
See the sponge in there? You just peel the outside off and you're ready for a shower!
11 years ago
It's Wild, It's Raw, It's Living

sunny savage wild food plants

You’ve heard of raw food right? The rule of raw is that foods are eaten uncooked, with no heating above 115°-120°, therefore their enzymes are still living and the vital energy of your food remains intact. It is certainly true that our ancestors ate many foods in their raw form, and eating a living foods diet has been coined a ‘return to raw’. Wild foods can provide the raw foodist with a diversity of choices found out their own back door, versus shipping in exotic ingredients from thousands of miles away.

The wild California black walnuts (Juglans californica) are dropping like mad here in the Santa Monica Mountains. These delicious nuts are much stronger in flavor than the cultivated English walnuts that you find in the store. Walnuts in general have some major health-promoting qualities:

1. Walnuts contain a perfect 4 to 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, and the highest ALA content of any tree nut. Click here to see the reference. This equates to major coronary health benefits, with reduction of cholesterol, no weight gain associated with increased fat consumption of eating walnuts, etc. Click here to read the study.

2. A comparison study of total antioxidant content of nuts, seeds and dried fruits, found walnuts second only to dog rose in antioxidant content…of all plants analyzed. Click here to read the study.

Raw nuts have become a staple part of the raw food diet. Consuming copious amounts of raw nuts can lead to intestinal discomfort and a general imbalance in the diet. So don’t get too nutty! The video above highlights the identification and harvesting of California black walnut (Juglans californica). We are joined in the kitchen by Living Foods Chef Chris J Watts. Be sure to check out Chris’s website to learn more about raw foods, as well as view some of his raw food videos.

Wild Walnut Raw Living Taco Meat

1 c raw walnuts
1/4 c raw wild black walnuts
1/8 c onion, diced
1/4 c red pepper, diced
1/4 c green pepper, diced
3/4 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste

Soak walnuts 3-5 hours, or longer. Drain walnuts and process in food processor with spices until mixture is in small chunks. Put into mixing bowl and add diced onion and bell peppers. Serve on a red cabbage or collard green leaf as taco shell. Load up with taco meat, raw salsa, guacamole, and condiments such as fresh corn kernels and shredded red cabbage. I cut Chris’s recipe in half to serve 4.

Lets try this again? :)
11 years ago
11 years ago
Nectarine (Prunus persica) fruit development over a 7½ month period, from early winter to midsummer; East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. 

This post was modified from its original form on 29 Aug, 11:21
11 years ago

August 27, 2008


In the garden

We are back to normal - weather wise that is. Hopefully with the slightly warmer temps we’ll be able to wrangle out another summer harvest.

As fall nears, preservation efforts continue here on the urban homestead. I can safely say this has been the best canning year’s yet - the pantry’s packed (Ma Ingalls and Laura Ingalls would be proud)! This week we are trying a new fig preservation recipe - sweet fig pickles! After all, with all these figs, one starts looking for different ways to preserve them and this one sounds yummy. Also we are putting up enough fig preserves to enjoy fig jam grilled cheese and arugula sandwiches come fall and winter - delicious!

Another round of preservation today - freezing eggplant, canning peppers and more figs!

How have you come up with different ways, recipes to preserve your harvest this year?

This post was modified from its original form on 27 Aug, 11:54
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
11 years ago

Purslane, Portulaca oleracea

Purslane Purslane, Portulaca oleracea - Photo Taken August 13, 2005 In Glendale.
Notice the Flower is being Pollinated By An Ant. PurslanePortulaca oleracea Purslane, Portulaca oleracea
Covers The Ground, Low GrowingPurslane, Portulaca oleracea
Thick Green Leaves Purslane Flower BudPurslane Flower The Flower Buds Are Beginning
To Open An Hour After SunriseThe Flowers Are Open

Sheep Sorrel Rumex acetosella - Polygonaceae
11 years ago

Whole plant       Rumex acetosella - Whole plant - sheep sorrel

Stem       Rumex acetosella - Stem - sheep sorrel

Leaf       Rumex acetosella - Leaf - sheep sorrel

Rumex acetosella - Flower - sheep sorrel

Miner's Lettuce
11 years ago
Claytonia perfoliata in Gaviota State Park, California
Claytonia perfoliata in Gaviota State Park, California

In the sandy soil of shaded northwest woodlands from California through British Columbia right up to Alaska grow two species of miner's lettuce. Either one of the two species of this succulent member of the portulaca/purslane family has provided vitamin-rich greens for Pacific-based First Peoples and for early white settlers, including the gold rush prospectors and miners of both California and the Klondike. Montia perfoliata and Montia sibirica, Siberian miner's lettuce, are the two species.

Early prospectors and miners ate the young leaves of the plant as wild salad greens. Don’t eat too much of it however, as there are minor levels of mildly toxic phytochemicals in the leaves, chemicals like oxalic acid. But there is a good supply of vitamins A and C.

11 years ago

sunny savage wild food plants

This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook called The Prickly Pear Cookbook by Carolyn Niethammer. The original recipe calls for red-wine vinegar, but I had made some Mexican elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) vinegar previously, so used that instead. A whole chicken was rubbed with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, pasilla powder, green chili powder, and salt (pasilla powder and green chili powder came from Native Seed/SEARCH in Tucson, AZ). The Prickly Pear Onion Jam is shown in the photo on top of a slice of heirloom melon. The melon and purslane (Portulaca oleracea ) were purchased at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Be sure to load up with lots of purslane, as not only is it delicious…but it’s full of omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin. You can click here to read current research published in the Journal of Pineal Research.

Prickly Pear Onion Jam

3 medium red onions, sliced thinly
1/4 c shallots, minced
1 T garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 T orange zest
3/4 c prickly pear syrup
1/4 c elderberry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar

Quarter onions and slice thinly. Heat oil over medium heat and combine onions, shallots and garlic. Stir for about 3 minutes, then cover pan and turn down to low. Cook for about 30 minutes, until mixture becomes sweet. Add small amounts of water if necessary, to keep from burning. Add orange zest, prickly pear syrup, and elderberry vinegar and cook uncovered until liquid evaporates. Stir frequently. Pour into jars, storing in refrigerator or plunging into hot water bath for seal.

This post was modified from its original form on 26 Aug, 7:46
11 years ago


Savory Breadfruit
11 years ago
Over the Rainbow

sunny savage wild food plants

Fresh food is a signature of the tropics. There are less than a dozen native Hawaiian plants that are edible, but the Polynesians brought many edible, useful and medicinal plants with them and they are known as canoe plants. Click here to learn about uses and preparation of ‘ulu. I harvested my first ‘ulu with the help of Bonnie Kerr-Pilon at the Hana Cultural Center & Museum. She has written and illustrated a fabulous cookbook called The Sensual World: Tropical Garden Cookbook from her experiences living 90% off her land near Hana, Maui. I would also recommend Hawaiian Breadfruit: Ethnobotany, Nutrition, and Human Ecology, which you can purchase through the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai. And finally the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation has a great cookbook and guide to using local produce called, The Hawai’i Farmers Market Cookbook: Fresh Island Products from A to Z.. The following recipe comes from Bonnie’s book:

Savory Breadfruit

1 Breadfruit – firm yet yielding, chopped
3 c coconut milk
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
12 oz firm tofu, mashed (optional)

Chop onion and line bottom of large cooking pot with it. Crush tofu with fork and arrange on top of onion. Peel breadfruit (you don’t have to), cut it in half and remove center core. Cut into 1” cubes and layer on top of onions and tofu. Sprinkle on salt. Pour enough coconut milk to cover the breadfruit. Cover and boil on high heat for about 10 minutes. When milk begins to bubble, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes, or until breadfruit is tender like a cooked potato.

Blue Berries
11 years ago

Which Blueberry Is Ripe For The Picking? by you.

11 years ago
(Grifola frondosa)

Hen-of-the-Woods Mushroom

Not a plant but a fungus, hen-of-the-woods belongs to the family of polypore mushrooms, which are shelf shaped, grow on wood (on which the fungus feeds), and have many tiny holes (pores) underneath their caps.

The clustered, overlapping grayish-brown, lateral spoon- or fan-shaped caps grow three-quarters of an inch to 2-3/4 inches wide, arising from short white stalks that branch from the base. The surface of the tiny pores under the caps is whitish. The spores, which you can collect on paper under a bowl, are also white. With no poisonous
look-alikes, hen-of-the-woods grows on the base of oak trees in autumn.

11 years ago
Sesame Hen From

Tahini sauce and Middle Eastern seasonings provide an elegant setting for the sensational hen-of-the-woods mushroom.

3 tablespoons olive oil
7 cups (2 pounds) hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, finely crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, finely crumbled
1 teaspoon dried wild spearmint or other mint, finely crumbled
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (1/2 teaspoon peppercorns)
4 cloves garlic, crushed into a paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
1/2 cup tahini

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, marjoram, oregano, spearmint, cumin, and white pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice and Bragg's Liquid Aminos with the tahini. Stir this mixture into the mushrooms, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with bread or whole grains.

Serves 6

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

11 years ago
CURLY DOCK, YELLOW DOCK, (Rumex crispus)

Curly Dock Rosette

Long, lance-shaped, hairless leaves with very wavy margins radiating from a common center in early spring makes this species distinct. In mid-spring, curly dock grows one- to five-foot tall spikes encircled by dense clusters of tiny, inconspicuous, green flowers, giving way to dense clusters of hard, reddish fruit. It grows in fields, on disturbed soil, along roadsides, and near the seashore.
Curly Dock in Bloom

The highly nutritious, lemony flavored young leaves are excellent raw or cooked in early spring, as are the leaves on the flower stalk and the peeled flower stalk in mid-spring. People boil the long yellow taproot and drink the bitter tea to detoxify and to help liver or skin ailments.

Curly Dock Pie

1 c curly dock flour
1 c unbleached white flour
1/2 c + 3 T butter
4 T cold water

Use fingers to mix flours and butter together. Then add cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time until thoroughly mixed. Store in refrigerator for a few hours or a few days until needed. Roll out dough and put into pie dishes. Bake in 425 degree preheated oven for roughly 10 minutes. Tap down any bubbles that form before it cools. Cool crust and turn oven down to 350 degrees.

4 c curly dock greens, chopped
1/2 c wild garlic tops, chopped
4 pieces bacon
2 c cream
6 eggs
2 c swiss cheese
1 t wild ginger powder
black pepper to taste

Steam curly dock greens for roughly 6 minutes. Cook bacon on low heat. Remove bacon, chop and place back into pan with chopped wild garlic tops; cook for roughly 1 minute. In mixing bowl beat eggs and cream. Then fold in cheese, bacon, wild garlic, wild ginger powder and black pepper. Pour into pie dishes with crusts and bake at 350 for roughly 25 minutes.

11 years ago
Luvin' Potatoes
Wednesday March 7, 2007 in

The countdown to St. Patty’s Day is on. Eating potatoes covered in ‘shamrocks’ seems to me like the quintessential Irish meal. There are about 850 Oxalis spp around the world, so this is one plant that I use either the name oxalis or wood sorrel. Kids adore this sour plant, commonly called sourgrass, and I always think of these natural treats as the precursor to sour patch kid candies. Below is a picture of the most common oxalis I have found here in the Santa Monica Mountains, Oxalis pes-caprae, which originates from the Cape Region of South Africa.

Many people confuse this plant with clover. The photo below shows an Oxalis pes-caprae leaf on the left and a white clover leaf on the right. The wood sorrel leaf will always have three heart-shaped leaflets. This trinity of leaves, the stems, flowers and seedpods can all be eaten. To harvest, it is easy to take a scissors and clip them from the bottom. If you are trying to eradicate it from your lawn, then pull it up from the roots as soon as it begins to flower.
I’ve got some Irish blood from both sides of my family. My Mom’s side came over during the potato famine. On my Dad’s side we had the first Irish-American citizen of the United States. It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish though, the sourness of the Oxalis with potatoes can be enjoyed by all. You’ve got 10 days before St. Patty’s Day to find your Oxalis patch…then you’ll be Luvin’ Potatoes too!

Luvin’ Potatoes
Oxalis spp. leaves/stems/flowers, chopped
garlic, crushed
salt & pepper

Wash and cut your potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place them into a pot with water and place on stove on high heat. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Liberally oil an edged baking sheet with cooking oil (I like to use grapeseed oil). Place your drained potatoes on the baking sheet and mix them around so they are well coated with oil. Place into oven for 45 minutes, stirring them after about 20 minutes. Chop Oxalis, leaving a few heart leaflets aside as garnish for top, and get your garlic ready to crush (mince finely if you don’t have a crusher). Remove potatoes from the oven and add Oxalis, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and place back into oven for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with hearts and enjoy!

11 years ago
Nettle Soup
Friday March 16, 2007 in

Mmmm, nettle soup is always a spring treat! Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are well-known because of their exceptionally high amount of protein, which isn’t typically found in green leafy vegetables. They truly are a nutritive food, loaded with many other vitamins and minerals, and a delicious wild green to wake your body up after the lethargy of winter. Click here to read a study done in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, which found the leaves to have omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids.

Anytime a plant has stinging as part of its name, one starts to wonder if this is a desperate attempt of a wild food enthusiast to get you to eat something you really shouldn’t be. Although tiny hairs on the plant do contain histamines and formic acid, they don’t pose any threat after being cooked or dried. Click here to read a nice write-up on Wildman Steve Brill’s website. He has many photos of nettle, along with look-alike plants, nutritional info and tips for harvesting.

The above photo was taken at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Coleman Family Farms have been selling amazing organic greens at their stand, and wild stinging nettles from their farm are one of them. There are two other vendors who also sell nettles on occasion. Southland Farmers’ Market Association has a fabulous website, which can help you locate a Farmers Market in Southern California near you. Click here to visit their site.

Nettle Soup
Nettles, stems removed
black pepper

Use gloves to wash and clean your nettles, removing any tough stems. Boil a very small amount of water in the bottom of a pot and place nettles (adding extra spinach is also nice) in boiling water with lid for roughly 5 minutes. Add cream, fresh grated nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Use hand blender, or place soup into upright blender, to puree. Top with a swirl of cream and enjoy!

Toyon Fruit Leather
11 years ago

Toyon fruit leather with big bird

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berry fruit leather helps fill hungry stomachs and always seems to be a hit with the kids. High fructose corn syrup is found in fruit roll-ups, so you can feel good about limiting it in your child’s diet. It interfere’s with the brain’s ability to release hormones letting you know you’re full. Toyon berries are also used by the Chumash in the treatment of Alzheimer’s (click here to read more). So, good brain food for us all.

The Toyon berries are just barely hanging on. So if you have some in your yard, be sure to get out there and gather some before they’re done for the season. Fruit leather can always be dried in a nice sunny location outdoors, but I only get 2 1/2 hours of direct light a day where I live. It also happens to be the rainy season, so I use my dehydrator. If you are serious about putting up your own food I would highly recommend purchasing a high-quality dehydrator. Click here to visit the Excalibur Food Dehydrator website. If you can swing it, they’re a nice investment…but they are spendy and do need electric power.

Toyon Berry Fruit Leather
1 c roasted Toyon berries
2 c unsweetened applesauce (Solana Gold unsweetened organic applesauce from Sebastopol, CA found at Topanga Market)
2 T honey
2 t cinnamon

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Spread out as thinly as you can onto Teflex dehydrator sheets, or onto baking sheets. Set dehydrator to 115° and set timer for roughly 10 hours (check regularly). If you are using the oven, place baking sheets into oven at 250° for roughly one hour. I let the fruit leather cool on the pans, and then slowly peeled it off. Store in airtight container and enjoy.

This post was modified from its original form on 12 Aug, 9:54
British Bush Tea
11 years ago

·      Lemon balm- also a member of the mint family, lemon balm is an essential ingredient of citronella, hence crushing up the leaves and rubbing them on your skin will keep mozzies away. From a culinary perspective: great addition to fish sauces. The main uses medicinally are to aid headaches, insomnia and depression. The leaves have an incredibly fresh smell of lemon-childhood favourite!


      These three super herbs are almost guaranteed to sort you out for most ailments, I don’t think a cup or two of these a day will do you any harm. When working out dosages, it is roughly a teaspoon of dried or a tablespoon of fresh. To make sure you have enough to take you through the winter start collecting and drying now and get yourself a nice, fat pot of these wonder herbs.  I assume that a combination of all three would be a good hangover cure, its about time the human race had one! It certainly makes you wonder what else people did before the chemicals came around…leeches?


British Bush Tea
11 years ago


We are a nation whose foundations are built on tea, from the pioneers of the empire to the average builder having his hourly cuppa. But not all teas involve a glug of milk, a dollop of sugar or a wedge of lemon. There is more, so much more to tea than Earl Grey and PG Tips. In my youth I always associated herbal teas with the orient and crusty hippies, and rightly so…but I have to give them credit where credit’s due. As the years have been taking their toll (26?) I have found a great deal of comfort in my herbal teas, however arty farty and carrot crunching that may sound…they are great.


I have always been partial to peppermint tea, refreshing and I know it’s doing the insides some good. When it comes to the wild larder, there is all the bagged up bliss you can buy in the hippy shops and more. For this little entry to the Blog of destiny I will be concentrating on three of the best; Meadowsweet, Apple mint and Lemon balm.


The history of herbal teas lies mainly in medicinal use and a large variety of herbs are used as diuretics, treating stress, headaches, fevers and insomnia. Also known as ‘Tisanes’, herbal teas have become synonymous with dinner parties and posh restaurants. The word Tisane originates from a Greek word ‘tisane’ which refers to an infusion made from pearl barley.


The preferred method of making a herbal infusion involves steeping fresh or dried herbs in boiling water in a teapot (ideally not one used for tea as this will affect the flavour) for 10 to 15 minutes and then dispatching into your ideal receptacle (cup, mug, flagon, bowl) and enjoying a bit of soothing for your particular ailment. The other method is to use a proper Tisane cup which has a small insert with holes in it rather like a sieve (see below).


The other day when I was out and about in Sussex enjoying a particularly fine day of fly-fishing for chub on the Ardingly Ouse, I happened upon a large bed of Meadowsweet.  The leaves of the plant don’t look all that different from the wild strawberry plant and has a very obvious reddish stem. After a couple of minutes of gathering I had a good bunch to last me more than a few dinner parties involving heavy consumption. This is the breakdown of the three heavyweight herbs and why you might want to drink them:


·      Meadowsweet- used as a remedy for acid stomach and heartburn as well as aiding indigestion. Other names include ‘Meadsweet’ which refers to its use in flavouring of Mead, the honey-based alcoholic beverage of the middle ages, ‘Queen of the meadow’ is another historical name relating to Queen Elizabeth 1st love for the herb, she would have it scattered around her chambers everyday for its sweet aroma. It also contains traces of a major ingredient used in Aspirin.


·      Apple Mint- Often found around still waters and marsh areas, great in Pimm’s and even better with Lamb, used mainly for digestive disorders in herbal infusions. Most mint will do the same thing!


·      Lemon balm- also a member of the mint family, lemon balm is an essential ingredient of citronella, hence crushing up the leaves and rubbing them on your skin will keep mozzies a

11 years ago
Awwwww, Thank You, Tammy!

So sorry, you do not have your own garden there!

Yes, plants and gardens are healing ... So calming to look at , to smell, and some times eat besides. Glad you enjoy it, too! It has been a joy putting it all together. Almost like gardening its self Feel free to add on to it

 ........ or you can even start your own thread! Your own garden /Nature spot here, too!

Hey everyone! Did you know I allow you all to do that? Start a nice thread of your own interest or of same subjects/topics but your very own page with in the Group

Judith Ann LRD
Natural things I just love
11 years ago

Oh I love this I wish I could find lavender here I can't even get seds to grow in my kitchen for cooking and forget about flower seds the flowers we have here are imported and the farmers and gardeners plant them..I don't even have black sand it is all sand here..and no fertalizer either..I am so sad..I use to have many flowers and such in the states...take care all..I love this group especially Gathering or Gardening...Tammy in Egypt

11 years ago
Ahhh, Nice Dove! Thank You!
11 years ago

Hey!  I like the idea of making our own face cream!
I made some lavender oil for my bath water.

  1. Put some mineral oil into a jar then add the lavender and stir. Cover tightly and leave for 48 hours in a sunny windowsill, shaking every 12 hours.
  2. Lay a piece of muslin or cheesecloth, or gauze over a bowl and strain the oils. Gather up the muslin and squeeze the lavender to extract as much as you can.
  3. Put the oil back to the jar and add fresh lavender. Continue in a same way until you get the aroma you want.
  4. If the weather is cold and dull you can place the jar in a saucepan of cold water. Slowly heat it until the water become just hand-hot. Keep it the temperature for 10 minutes. Remove the jar from heat source. Do this once a day.
  5. After final straining, you can put the oil into a  glass bottle. The shelf life for your essential oil is 6 - 12 months if kept in a dry, dark, cool place. But I doubt it will last that long if you like lavender, you'll use it up way before that, and it's really nice with vanilla too, I use the extract... like for cooking , just a little.

I used 1 small bottle of mineral oil
I fancy bottle from the craft store ( not really a requirement but looks pretty)
a few sprigs of fresh lavender, that I grow in a pot on my window sill, sometimes with orange peel, with no pith.
Pour the infused oil into the bottle or jar and
Add freshly snipped lavender sprigs when it's the strength you prefer.
Pour into bath water for a relaxing fragrant soak in the tub.

11 years ago
Oregon GrapeOregon Grape
11 years ago
SalmonberrySalmonberry picture

11 years ago
Salal pictureSalal

11 years ago
Canada Goes Wild

sunny savage wild food plants

The Canadians are definitely ahead of the game on publicly bringing in the ‘goods from the woods’. As leaders in this movement for the North American continent, our neighbors to the north have private businesses, educational institutions, and government monies dedicated to promoting and supporting the harvest and distribution of wild foods. Click here, to read a recent CBC article on the increased interest in wild foods.

11 years ago

sunny savage wild food plants

Magnificent Milkweed
Wednesday July 23, 2008 in
sunny savage wild food plants

11 years ago

Wild foods commonly available in urban areas of the Sonoran desert:
1. Amaranth
2. Purslane
3. Mesquite Pods
4. Barrel cactus fruit & seeds
5. Prickly pear pads & fruits
6. Lambsquarters

Wild foods commonly available in wild spaces of the Sonoran desert:
1. Mesquite pods
2. Ironwood seeds
3. Prickly pear pads & fruits
4. Saguaro fruits
5. Cholla buds

11 years ago
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Link to more of the story!!
12 years ago
California Sagebrush Tea
Monday January 29, 2007 
California Sagebrush Tea

Despite its common name as cowboy cologne, California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) is used by Native Americans predominantly as a woman’s plant. This evergreen shrub, found in the foothills of California’s coastal sage scrub plant community, is abundant and wonderfully aromatic. Its dried out silver-green leaves are narrow and cluster in bunches. I have really come to crave the flavor of this tea.

California Sagebrush Tea

12 cups water
2 Tbsp dried California sagebrush (loosely packed)

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add sagebrush and let steep for at least 4 hours. It’s best to let it steep overnight, strain out the sagebrush, and refrigerate the remaining amount.

The lines between food and medicine are oftentimes blurred. I believe this is why the term Food is Medicine is so universal among cultures. I look forward to using California Sagebrush as a seasoning in roasts and other foods that would compliment its strong flavor.

12 years ago
Cowgirl Face Cream
Friday January 26, 2007 
Cowgirl Face Cream

Who says we have to limit wild food plants to just gastronomique delights? Our skin happens to be our largest organ, and it ‘eats’ and absorbs what we put on it. When I was introduced to California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) I had to let out a big yeehaw! It is commonly known as cowboy cologne, since it’s said that the cowboys used to rub it all over their bodies before a night out on the town. Well, it’s 2007 and this wanna be cowgirl reckons it’d be alright for the ladies to partake as well.

I have been making my own lotion for some time, not wanting to feed my skin with the colorings/fake scents/preservatives/etc. so often found in today’s skin care products. The following is my favorite face cream recipe, adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s original. Smooth it over your body as if you’re anointing yourself with precious balm.

Cowgirl Face Cream

2/3 cup distilled water
1/3 cup aloe vera gel

¾ cup apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup coconut oil, or cocoa butter
½ to 1 oz beeswax
4 Tbsp dried California sagebrush, packed loosely

Use some cheesecloth to tie up the California sagebrush into a ball. Then drop the ball into a crockpot dedicated to infusing oils, or set up a double boiler on your stovetop (see photo below). Infuse your oils on the lowest heat setting possible for at least 4 hours. If using double boiler method put on lowest setting and cook for ½ hour. Turn off the heat and let stand, reheating when you are ready for the next step.

The next step is to take out your cheesecloth ball of California sagebrush. Sqeeze out all of the oil being held inside and add your beeswax. Oftentimes you will not get an already measured piece of beeswax, but they will have written how many ounces you have on the front of the bag. Heat a knife over your stovetop and use its heat to help cut the beeswax into one ounce pieces. You will then be ready to place your 1-ounce of beeswax into the infused oil (and if you cut the whole chunk into 1-ounce pieces you’ll be ready for the next time you make face cream).

While the beeswax is melting over low heat, in either your crockpot or double boiler, mix your waters. Set the waters aside for later. Once your beeswax is melted into your infused oils, pour them into a blender. Let cool until they become creamy looking (you can speed this process by putting the blender in a cool area). Once it becomes a cool semisolid, turn on your blender at its highest speed and SLOWLY drizzle the room temperature waters into the oils. The key to this emulsion is to pour the waters into the oils, not the other way around. Blend just until it looks like frosting, but don’t over beat…it will thicken as it sets. Pour into cool sterilized glass jars and keep away from heat.

12 years ago
Wild Fennel Fritters
Sunday April 15, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

Fennel galore here! You can see the young furry piece of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) growth bursting out of the frond near the middle of the photo. Harvest these tender young stalks/fronds and greens when still flexible. Wild fennel originates from the Mediterranean and is high in phenols. Phenols are phytochemicals that block inflammation and clumping of platelets in the body.

The following recipe comes from Angelo Garro from Sicily. They are absolutely delicious fritters, and a fun way to use this wildly abundant wild food.

Wild Fennel Fritters

1 1/2 lbs of wild fennel fronds
3 eggs
1 c shredded parmasean cheese
1 c coarse bread crumbs (made from day-old bread ground up in a food processor or blender)
1 tsp crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste
grapeseed oil

Wash young fennel fronds and steam or parboil for 15-20 minutes. Once they have cooled, chop finely. Mix eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, seasonings, and cooled fennel in bowl. Form into patties and fry in oil. Once they have been cooked on both sides, place them onto paper towels to absorb extra oil. Salt lightly and serve immediately.

12 years ago

This demonstration of hydroponics in Walt Disney World's Epcot Center (Orlando, Florida) yielded bountiful harvests of lettuce. Lettuce grows easily in a hydroponic system because it is a fast-growing, compact plant with shallow roots.
This demonstration of hydroponics in Walt Disney World's Epcot Center (Orlando, Florida) yielded bountiful harvests of lettuce. Lettuce grows easily in a hydroponic system because it is a fast-growing, compact plant with shallow roots.

Thanks Mimi!
12 years ago
Climate Change Threatens Two-Thirds of California's Unique Plants, Study Says
StarsButterfliesGold Notes
- 8 hours ago -
Califoria's plants are at risk of collapse unless they migrate or are moved to refuges, scientists say. Animals may also be separated from plants on which they depend, according to researchers.
Woolyleaf Ceanothus
Michelle Cloud-Hughes
Found throughout the mountains of Southern California below 5,000 feet and in the central foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Woolyleaf ceanothus may be restricted to low-lying areas, most of which are highly urbanized. It also could expand across wide areas of the coast range as far north as Humboldt County.,0,3122705.story
12 years ago
Little Pigs

This forager had the good fortune of spending Saturday combing the hills of Eastern Washington for wild edibles with Seattle chef and cookbook author Becky Selengut

To get to the patch we had to ford raging rivers and endure a scary moment of self-inflicted 'shroom knifewounds. Portents were not good. The ground had a matted look to it, indicating the snow had just melted out recently.  Yellow violets bloomed in dense thickets along damp creek bottoms, some of which we took for salad.

At the base of a big fir tree something caught Becky's eye. In the next moment the three of us were all kneeling around the trunk. We madly scraped away the duff to reveal first one, then three perfect porcini. Each cap was six or seven inches across and firm. These king boletes had just pushed their royal heads through the surface. Huzzah!

After the hoots and high-fives and endzone celebration we sliced one in half to check for worms. The inside was pure white and pristine. This was the capper on a great day. Going home with a bag full of morels was sweet; going home with porcini was something altogether different.

I was exhausted after the long day in the woods, but there was no way I was going to bed without tasting the first porcini of the year. I cut it into 1/4-inch slices, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, seasoned, and added chopped garlic, then grilled until very lightly browned.

I've been known to suffer from hyperbole, but I can safely say this was the best porcini ever. At least from my kitchen. The outside was grilled to perfection with tons of flavor while the inside was succulent, almost like a pan-seared scallop. I was rendered nearly helpless after a single bite. That's what the first porcino of the season will do to you.

12 years ago
The Professional

Together we scouted some of his spring porcini patches in a casual, day-off sort of way, filling a couple buckets just the same with no. 1 buttons and a bunch of coral to boot.

Pasta with Porcini in Sage Butter

When I got home I took one of my porcini and chopped it up and sauteed it for a few minutes in sage butter (a couple tbsp of hot melted butter that is just starting to brown, with crispy fried sage leaves), then poured over penne. Garnished with chopped parsley and grated parm. Simple and delicious. Don't be surprised, though, if your spring porcini is milder than the fall variety.

12 years ago
Pass the Dandies

Fried Dandies*

36-48 large** dandelion blossoms
1 cup flour
1 cup ice water
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

Remove as much of the dandelion stem and greenery as possible without damaging the blossom itself. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add ice water and stir. Blend in egg. Use tongs to submerge dandelion blossoms in batter and drop in hot oil.

12 years ago
Dandy Muffins and Bread

Before making this recipe, you'll need to harvest a cup of dandelion petals. This shouldn't take more than 15 minutes with the right flowers and technique. Choose tall, robust dandelions that have been allowed to grow unmolested. Abandoned lots and field margins are good places to look. Generally the presence of dandelions indicates herbicides are not in use, but roadside specimens can contain the residue of other chemicals. Choose your spots wisely. You'll want to harvest in the morning, before the flowers have fully opened. Grasp the yellow part of the flower (the petals) and twist away from the green sepals and stem. Discard any greenery. I prefer the bread to the muffins.

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dandelion petals
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, including petals, and mix. Make sure to separate clumps of petals. In separate bowl mix together milk, honey, oil, and beat in egg. Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir. Batter should be fairly wet and lumpy. Pour into buttered bread tin or muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees. A dozen muffins will take 20-25 minutes. Bread will take 25-30 or more minutes. At 25 minutes, check doneness of bread with a toothpick. If still too moist inside, lower oven temperature and continue to bake, checking every five minutes.

 The final product is savory sweet, somewhat like cornbread, with the yellow petals an eye-catching glint of sunlight.

12 years ago
Fat of the Land
Wednesday May 7, 2008 in
sunny savage wild food plants

(photo courtesy of Langdon Cook)
Langdon Cook, located in the Seattle area, has been going wild ! He will keep pacific northwesterners abreast of seasonally available wild foods, along with delicious recipes to prepare them.

Dandy Burger

It's game time. My boy is scheduled to take the mound today. I deliver the pep talk and then hand him a shot of nourishment. A sports drink? An energy bar? Nah. I hand him a hot Dandy Burger.

Yes, I've gone off the deep end. Just when you thought I was done with $&@%# dandelions...

What can I say? I had a fresh crop on the lawn.

1 cup packed dandelion petals (no greens)
1 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp each basil and oregano
1/8 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients together. The batter will be wet and goopy. Form into patties and pan fry in oil or butter, turning until crisp on both sides. Makes 4-5 very nutritious veggie burgers.

The Mariners bullpen could use a few of these.

Dandelion Delivery Cookies

Take a great cookie recipe, add dandelion petals—and voila, you've got a dandy delivery vehicle.

This is a whopper of a recipe, requiring a coupla giant bowls and mucho measuring; I always halve it.

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 packed cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)
2 cups dandelion petals

1. Cream sugars and butter in large bowl. Beat in egg, one at a time. (If halving recipe, one egg is enough.) When blended, stir in vanilla.

2. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a second large bowl. Mix in dandelion petals, carefully separating clumps. Stir in nuts (and optional raisins).

3. Stir dry ingredients into wet. If you're doing the full recipe, your wet bowl better be big.

4. Grease baking sheet. Scoop gobs of desired size onto sheet. You can make uncommonly huge cookies with this recipe. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or less for conventionally sized cookies) until light brown. Cookies are best if slightly chewy.

12 years ago
Chanterelle Time
Tuesday February 19, 2008 in
sunny savage wild food plants

It’s been raining in southern California….FINALLY! That means mushrooms. Check out this chanterelle a friend harvested in Topanga. It was divine sauteed with chickweed and young sow thistle greens.

12 years ago
Elderflower cordial: thirst quencher


Since I was a nipper, I can vaguely recall my mother making this and it was a sure taste that summer was hiding around the corner. She also made it into wine, regrettably I was too young to sample it at the time! It is still a firm favourite and easy to make. The only problem is whether you make little or a lot and in turn with the seasons only available as long as the elderflowers. If you can make enough to last a year- well done! Otherwise you will have to shell out silly prices for the tiny bottles in the supermarkets.

Although the elderflowers have reached their peak there are still some around, so go and get your hands dirty and enjoy the fruits of nature. I was recently informed by Barney, one of the food editors at good food that they are best picked after rain. A quick trip to Battersea park and I had more elderflower heads than I needed, I bet they would taste better from a field deep in the country but urban foragers cant be choosers. The aroma that the dainty little flowers gave off when I stuck my head in the bag was quite something. I must admit now that my cordial did not go as planned due to adding too much sugar and no citric acid. So I had to drink 2 litres in about 4 days! I have amended the recipe so that it should come out absolutely bang on. This recipe is adapted from the River cottage cookbook, it didn’t work for me first time around so after a few adjustments I came up with the one below.

• 40 fresh elderflower heads
• zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
• 1kg of golden caster sugar
• 250ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
• citric acid or tartaric acid

Makes 2 wine bottles worth.



Pick off all the flowers, you don’t have to be too anal about this just remove as much green stalk as possible. Put them in a large bowl with the zest from the oranges and lemons. Cover them in about 2 litres of boiling water, cover and leave to soak for 4 hours or overnight.

Strain the liquid through muslin or like I did, an old pair of tights! Mesure the amount of strained liquid and add 250g of sugar to every 500ml of the liquid. Place in a pan with the lemon juice, if you are using it the citric acid (this acts as a preservative and allows the cordial to keep for up to a year). Heat the mixture slowly and stir till the sugar has all dissolved. Simmer for a further 5-10 minutes, once it is cool strain it again and pour into clean, dry bottles (screw top or cork). You now have your ‘spring in a bottle’ to enjoy at your leisure, just mix as you would any other cordial, best drunk over ice after a hot, sticky commute across the city!

12 years ago
Globalized Agriculture and Hunger

More food is grown in the world today than ever in the history of humans, yet somehow more people suffer from hunger, 854 million people, almost one out of six. The hungriest people in the world ironically are those who live in rural areas. It seems that the food may be grown in these areas, but food distribution systems and globalized food economies, do not guarantee people access to food as a basic human right. (Madre 2007)

There are many reasons for this, wars which destroy land, villages and farms, not unlike the scorched earth policies practiced against many of our Indigenous peoples here on Turtle Island. People at war cannot grow food and people in refugee camps are hungry. Countries which spend a great deal on the military and the aftermath of war, cannot feed their people.

Another cause of hunger is environmental, the transformation of large ecosystems to agribusiness, or their inundating by dam projects. In other words, what happened to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara peoples along the Missouri River, with the Pick Sloan-Garrison Diversion project is a prime example of this challenge.The dams put the best lands under water and drowned history, causing the villages to be relocated, and the people to be removed from their food and way of life. The 1947 legislation provided for the taking of reservation lands for the Garrison Reservoir. Began in 1946 and completed in 1956, the dam inundated 155,000 acres of prime agricultural land of the reservation. The Pick Sloan project, designated for both power generation and irrigation, was devastating to the community and divided it deeply. The reservoir, now known as Lake Sacajawea, divided the reservation into five segments now identified as districts and largely isolated from each other. For instance, to reach the southern segment, one must travel over 100 miles around the lake. Ironically with the increase in climate related weather changes, the dam project (like many others internationally) is now diminishing in power production effectiveness, largely due to a lack of recharge in the Rocky Mountain region.

This is an example of this problem nationally and internationally, and also provides the example of the White Earth reservation. In specific, the loss of access to the land, through the theft of the land, and removal of Native people to housing projects caused more food insecurity.

The Anishinaabeg continue to have a strong harvesting economy of wild rice, maple syrup, berries, mushrooms, medicines, fish, and game, but do not have the strongest agricultural economy, that was once had. We are committed to recovering this set of relations with our relatives with roots.

We are deeply concerned with the environmental and social barriers to access to food security, and we are concerned increasingly about economic access to food security. In this case, one of the largest issues is who controls the seeds, the irrigation systems and the production systems. Increasingly this is a huge issue as the ownership of seeds, which have belonged to communities and families for generations becomes patented and owned by major corporations. We are also deeply concerned about the potential for genetic contamination of our foods by genetically engineered seeds.

Globalized Agriculture and Hunger

This post was modified from its original form on 24 Jun, 18:50
Thanks, Tasha!
12 years ago
  4:22 PM

Cool thread, btw.

12 years ago
With all the flooding, high costs of gas, now foods prices at the stores and Buffalohair's Stories about the Truckers/ food shortages have caused concern!

 On how to find the wild foods in parks or along  trails. Or raise
foods in pots in small spaces or in apartments window boxes etc ..... or On selves under grow lights .... using fine painters Art brushes
 as your bees, to pollinate the flowers to set fruits/seeds?

12 years ago
Elderblow Fritters
Monday May 14, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

Grandmother Elder, you have sooo much to teach us! This is one of the most magical plants, in great abundance, to us all. Found throughout Topanga Canyon, this is the large shrub/small tree loaded with white blossoms right now. We have the Mexican Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) here, and its uses are many. I’ll have many more posts, which will include more about its use as food, medicine, music and utility. Below is a photo of the flowers, also notice the compound leaf to the left. Harvest just behind where all the stems of the flower umbrel come together. That way they stay together and can be used as a handle when dipping, frying and eating. I also dry large quantities of these flowers to make into tea during flu season. Use one teaspoon of dried flowers to one and one half cups of boiling water. Let steep at least 10 minutes, covered, strain out the flowers and add honey and lemon if so desired. Drink once per day, for first 3-5 days of cold or flu.

We had a fun group of people for the wild food workshop here in Topanga Canyon on Saturday. We went out and identified and harvested many plants availabe right now. We then prepared a feast of acorn black walnut bread, california sagebrush chicken, MN hand-harvested wild rice, South River Dandelion Leek Miso with ice plant, sow thistle greens/buds/flowers, calendula flowers, mallow leaves and cheeses, wild mustard flowertops, and wild arugula. We also made teas of sticky monkey flower and blackberry tops. Our final menu item was elderblow/elderflower fritters. I made a very simple tempura batter, so that people could taste the full flavor of the flowers.

Elderblow Fritters

1 egg
1 c cold water
1 c flour
oil for frying

Beat egg, then add cold water. Slowly add flour and mix until no lumps remain. Hold the flower stems as a handle and dip flowerheads into batter. Put into hot oil and cook until they just begin to turn golden. Enjoy hot!

12 years ago
Acorn Black Walnut Bread
Monday May 14, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

There one minute…..

gone the next! This acorn black walnut bread was a huge hit at Saturday’s Wild Food Workshop. Topped with butter we made ourselves, it was gone in about 5 minutes. One participant even emailed me later to say eating this bread was a religious experience! This recipe comes from my foraging friend Sam Thayer Price.

Acorn Bread

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c acorn flour (I used cold-processed southern live oak acorns)
1/4 c milk
1 c maple syrup (I used agave nectar)
1 c crumbled canned persimmons (I used applesauce)
1/2 c crumbled black walnuts (I used about 3/4 c)
1 T baking powder
1/8 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 eggs (great reason to double the recipe!)

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flours and baking powder in small bowl. Combine milk, agave nectar, applesauce, vegetable oil and eggs in large mixing bowl. Mix well and stir in dry ingredients…adding black walnuts at the end. Pour into small, buttered breadpan and cook for roughly 45 minutes.

12 years ago
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
Wednesday May 16, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

I had been hanging on to a little thread of hope that we would get some rain and I would find some motherload of mushrooms here in Topanga Canyon. I wanted the thrill of coming into an old shady oak grove to find chanterelles….but I’ve finally let it go. This is poised to be the driest year in California history….not really mushrooming weather. Above is my last store of dried morel mushrooms I had brought from Minnesota, wrapped in a California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) crepe. I ate them in honor of that crazy fungi kingdom and fun guy Paul Stamets. 

Paul believes we need to engage mycelium to help repair much of the damage we’ve inflicted upon nature. Mycelium are in every landscape in the world, and could be used to a much larger degree in habitat restoration and bioremediation. Did you know that the common button mushrooms, as well as portabellas found in grocery stores, contain the same dangerous carcinogens as those produced when you smoke cigarettes? And that mushrooms in general contain more vitamin D than any land-based organism, with the ability to enhance that vitamin D content further by leaving them in the sun with the gills facing up for 2 days.

Daryl Hannah did a video blog on Paul through her site  Watch her cool little video of Paul by clicking here.

12 years ago

Cool thread, btw.


12 years ago
Mariposa Lily Tubers
Monday May 21, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

The Mariposa Lily is an elegant little plant….but it’s got some substance! Found in the grasslands and coastal sage of the Santa Monica Mountains, we are at the tail end of its flowering period. Mariposa means butterfly in spanish, and there was a large swallowtail butterfly flying around as I took the photo.

Pictured is the Catalina Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae). They have a delicious edible tuber that is really starchy…kind of like potato or corn. The state flower of Utah is the related Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii), raised to that status because of its importance in Mormon’s survival. During the early years in Utah, the Mormon’s were taught by native folks of its edibility, and it was eaten in great quantity.

I have heard that native people in this area cut large areas of grass and then rolled it up, picking out the tubers from below. This method allowed the tubers to be thinned and actually increased productivity. The ground is incredibly dry and crumbly here now, so you must dig the plants individually. There are many endangered mariposa lilies, and I would encourage you to sow seeds for future generations before harvesting the plant. I have only gathered a few handfuls of the tubers. They can be eaten raw or cooked. I would love more information about this plant from readers.

12 years ago
Quinoa 'n Yucca with Chef Bob
Thursday May 31, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

Chef Bob,  came over to help me weave the flavors of North and South America together. It’s almost the full moon, so I took advantage of all the sap running up the plants to harvest a not-yet-flowering Yucca whipplei stalk. We cut the stalk about a foot down from the top, where it went from flexible to not-so-flexible. Picked off the unopened flower buds and peeled the stalk like a big asparagus. Mixed with some red quinoa, bought from a fair-trade coop while I was in Cuzco, Peru, it made for a divine dish. You can see the small, bright green unopened buds, along with the chunks of peeled yucca stalk in the photo above. The spikes make for good toothpicks!

Here’s an example of a flowering yucca on the left, the emerging stalk with unopened flowers in the middle, and dead stalk on the right. I’m working on another videoblog with Chef Bob to create some powdered wild greens pasta with California sagebrush chicken sauce. So keep your eyes posted for that upcoming video.

Quinoa ‘n Yucca

1 T olive oil
1/4 c yucca stalk, peeled & diced
1/2 c yucca unopened flower buds
1/4 c chicken stock
1 T onion, finely diced
pinch salt & hot pepper powder
1/4 c quinoa

Saute onions until translucent. Add yucca stalk, unopened flower buds, stock and cover, slowly simmering for 10 minutes. Boil a small pot of water, then add quinoa to boiling water. Let cook about 11 minutes, strain in fine mesh strainer. Mix with yucca and enjoy! Serves 2.

12 years ago
Everything Sauce
Sunday June 3, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants savage sustainable local harvesting foraging

The Yucca whipplei are producing, producing, producing right now! The above photo shows the unopened flowers on the right, opened flowers in the middle, and mature fruits on the left. I had my first taste of the fruits yesterday. I put some of them directly on the grill, and some were broiled in the oven for about 20 minutes. Scrape out the inside seeds and cover with a little bit of Chef Bob’s Everything Sauce. This sauce below is delicious, and very versatile…like a hollandaise.

Chef Bob’s Everything Sauce

1 c chicken stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 t dried California sagebrush, chopped finely
pinch of hot pepper seasoning
5 T cold butter, diced

Combine stock, lemon juice, California sagebrush and hot pepper seasoning in sauce pot. Boil until reduced to 1/2 of original amount. Remove from heat and slowly stir in butter until melted. Sauce should be velvety, then add salt.

12 years ago
Buckwheat Buzz
Monday January 15, 2007 

More than anyone, California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) welcomed me to Topanga Canyon. I remember one of my first drives down to the beach, trying to pay attention to the S-curves, but not being able to keep my eyes off this plant that was hanging off the cliffs. Although I was zapped back into the reality of oncoming traffic, I had started to hear its song. Not like a rendition of ‘The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Buckwheat’, simply a buzzing thought that wouldn’t go away.

The abundant seeds of this plant have now worked their way to becoming a few of my favorite things. With the ability to produce up to 300 pounds of seeds per acre, and the fact that they also like to hang out in sunny locations, meant we hit it off right away. Found from Marin to central Baja, as well as parts of UT and AZ, you would be wise to know this winter staple.

Harvesting California Buckwheat

To harvest bring a paper bag and simply crush the seed balls between your fingers. The seeds and all will fall into your bag below. You can pick out any stems, twigs, or creepy crawlers that may have found their way into your bag. The seeds are so small that I don’t bother separating them from the chaff. Most Americans are severely lacking in fiber anyways, so just look at it as a free dose of anti-colon cancer medicine. Speaking of nutrition, like many other wild plants, there is little nutritional research done on California Buckwheat. That said, with my nutrition background I would guess that these seeds are high in amino acids (protein), minerals (wild foods are almost always higher than their cultivated counterparts in trace minerals) and fiber.

The following recipe has become one of our family favorites. My son is always begging for these pancakes. I try to buy as many things from local producers as possible. These pancakes were made with Calfornia Buckwheat from Sterling’s house, raw milk from Organic Pastures, Topanga Eggs, and topped with butter I made myself from Organic Pastures cream and California buckwheat honey from Jerry Dahlberg.

California Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup California Buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 cups buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, or milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine first three ingredients and let soak, preferably 12 to 24 hours. Stir in eggs, salt and cinnamon, and thin to desired consistency using milk. Cook on a hot, oiled cast-iron skillet. I like to top with butter and California buckwheat honey or agave nectar.

12 years ago
Miner's Lettuce (Montia perfoliata)

Miner's Lettuce is an annual herb that is in the purslane family. Unlike purslane which likes hot, sunny days, miner's lettuce is a winter herb and comes up after the winter rains. The young leaves form a basal rosette before sending up several succulent stems encircled by a disk-shaped leaf near the top. The flower stalk arises out of the center of the leaf with a cluster of tiny, white flowers with 5 petals. Soon after it flowers it goes to seed and dies back.

Habitat: Miner's lettuce grows in moist, shady soil throughout the west. However, it can be easily grown from seed in temperate regions.

Edibility: Leaves and stems are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked as greens.

12 years ago
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane is a summer herb, waiting until the days get warm before it comes up. It is commonly found in gardens and disturbed areas where it can get lots of sunlight. I find it coming up between the rows of corn and along the edges of farm fields.

The leaves and stems are smooth and succulent. The best time to see the flowers is on hot, sunny mornings. Bright yellow flowers with 5 small petals make their appearance for a short time before closing up.

Edibility: Leaves and stems are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked as greens.

12 years ago
Sheep Sorrel Rumex acetosella - Polygonaceae

Sheep sorrel is a low-growing perennial herb, no more than 12 inches tall that can be found in yards, gardens and other disturbed areas with poor, acidic soil. The plant spreads by underground stems, often forming colonies. The leaves are arrowhead-shaped with outward flaring lobes on long stalks. In mild climates, the leaves can be gathered all year. The flowers are greenish or reddish in slender spikes that begin appearing in late May or early June and give a reddish hue to fields when growing in colonies.

Edibility: Leaves are edible and can be used raw in salads or added to soups or vegetable dishes as a cooked green. The species name acetosella, from the Latin word acetum meaning vinegar, describes the sour taste of the sheep sorrel leaves which is attributed to oxalic acid. When eaten in large quantities, oxalic acid can be harmful.

Previous Weeds of the Week: Purslane Miner's Lettuce
12 years ago
Smilax Bamboo Stirfry
Tuesday May 8, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

Break out your chaps and leather jacket! Catbriar season is on on the east coast, and the more you can protect yourself the more of those crisp delicious tendrils and shoots you can harvest. This plant also goes by the name of greenbriar, and a few other nice and not-so-nice names. I believe the one in the photograph below is Smilax rotundifolia. Bend the end of the vine where still flexible and it will easily snap off (thorns on the flexible shoots are soft and flexible as well).

I spent a few days in Maryland, just south of Washington DC, with family. How patient they are with my wild food experiments. We ate the dish described in the recipe below for nearly every meal. The wild garlic and bamboo shoots are widely available right now as well, and along with the smilax can also be eaten raw. Snap off young bamboo shoots (photograph below), peel off outside skin until you reach tender inner core, and slice. Continue slicing and removing tough outer skin as you move up the shoot.

Smilax Bamboo Stirfry

4 c smilax, cut in 4 inch segments
1 c bamboo shoots, sliced
1/8 c oil
1/2 c wild garlic bulbs and tops, chopped
1/2 t wild ginger powder
1/8 c soy sauce

Put oil into pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is heated add sliced bamboo shoots. After about 1 minute add wild ginger powder. After one more minute add wild garlic and smilax. Stir thoroughly, turn heat to high and add soy sauce. Let cook for one minute and serve immediately.

12 years ago
Wild Mustard Vinegar
Friday May 11, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

Check out that bee’s back leg! It looks like its bubble is about to burst. This bee has trapped a fine amount of pollen into what I think is its leg pouch. While they gather nectar from the blossoms, they also get some pollen into their leg pouch to bring back to the hive to feed to the larvae. The pollen that sticks to their leg hairs helps to pollinate other plants. Bees are not the only pollinators on the planet though, click here to read more about the birds, bats, butterflies, moths and others who all play a part in fertilizing 3/4th’s of our food supply. When I found this patch of wild mustard there were well over a hundred bees buzzing around. That buzzing, that buzzing! It felt like their wings were going to buzz me to someplace I’d never been buzzed to before.

These wild mustard flower tops make for a very jazzy herbal vinegar. I picked those flower tops and added about 1/8 cup flower heads per 1 cup apple cidar vinegar. Ha’s Apple Farm makes wonderful unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. They sell their products at various farmer’s markets in the LA area, and also market them on their website. Making herbal vinegars is fun and easy to do, but be sure to put your mixture into a clean jar, with no metal lid (vinegar will react with the metal – or put wax paper between metal lid and jar). Soak plant material for about a month and then strain it out.

12 years ago
California buckwheat chapati
Thursday February 8, 2007 
Chicken curry n wild tortillas

I actually found a few Calfornia buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) flowers in bloom on the trail to Eagle Rock, in Topanga Canyon State Park, last weekend. This really speaks to the amazing biodiversity of this plant. I’ve been harvesting it since September, and will continue to do so until the rains wash the seeds away. This extremely wide range in harvesting time isn’t as common in cultivated plants, which are designed to perform under a more narrow set of conditions.

When you are 100% certain that you have correctly identified Calfornia buckwheat, you can begin to harvest it. I think the leaf structure is similar to another common plant of the chaparal, chemise (Adenostoma fasciculatum). And although the seed head balls of the buckwheat are distinctly rust colored, the seed head balls of black sage (Salvia mellifera) could be confusing to the beginner. So again, once you are 100% confident of your identification, harvest the seeds and clean out any sticks, twigs, or insects. Place the seeds and chaffe into a coffee grinder, spice grinder, blender, or mortar and pestle. Grind until you have a fine flour. This flour does not have gluten, so you will need to mix it with a gluten containing flour if you wish to use it in a similar manner.

I learned to make chapati over an open fire . If you do not have an open fire, or gas stove in your kitchen, simply skip the open fire method described below and let them cook longer in the pan. Chapati’s are a bit lighter than tortillas, and I’ve found they’re good for the more fibrous consistency of the buckwheat.

California buckwheat chapati

1 c California buckwheat flour
1 c unbleached white flour, or flour of your choice
clove of garlic

Mix California buckwheat flour and unbleached white flour in medium-sized bowl. Pour in small amounts of water until you have a pliable dough. Separate dough into 5 separate balls and cover with a hand towel. Take one dough ball out and roll it out onto a well floured flat surface using a rolling pin. Roll as thinly as you can and place into a hot pan (I like to use cast iron) for roughly 10 seconds on each side. Then use tongs to pick up your chapati, move your pan to the side, and place the chapati directly over the open flame until it puffs up. Make sure to fire both sides and watch the air bubbles expand. I like to then brush them with butter, rub them with a garlic clove that has been cut in half, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.

This post was modified from its original form on 24 Jun, 15:51
12 years ago

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes.

It is that time of year again in which this hardy perennial has begun to show its face again. The supermarkets are beginning to stock them, but those of you who look to search them out have, like me, been munching on them since the end of November. The odd thing about this vegetable is it looks like a cross between sweet potato and galangal (a type of ginger), tastes like Globe artichoke and is related to the sunflower. That is one confused root vegetable! The name comes from the Italian word for sunflower; ‘Girasole’ which has over the years become Jerusalem. The plant is native to North America where the tuber like roots were often used in the past as a staple in much the same way as a potato. The native Americans often referred to them as sun chokes. The girasole was brought over to Europe in the 1600’s and introduced to France by Monsieur Samuel de Champlain. The plant itself acts in much the same way as weeds due to its hardiness and unless controlled can spread. So for this reason growing your own is remarkably easy.


There are so many different ways in which this wonderful vegetable can be transformed, mashed, roasted or pureed; it’s really all down to personal preference and experimentation. So I will give you mine, which makes for a superb, yet different starter.

Jerusalem artichokes with balsamic and Portobello mushroom.
Serves 4
• 1 Jerusalem artichoke finely diced
• 4 Portobello mushrooms
• Half a lemon
• 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
• A few sprigs of thyme
• Salt & pepper
• Butter for frying

Method: Once you have peeled and finely diced your artichoke, melt some butter in a pan and add the artichoke. Fry on a low heat for 5-10mins until softened, add the thyme, lemon juice and balsamic and salt and pepper and reduce on a high heat, when you reduce a liquid fast the flavours will remain strong and intense. After a few minutes of reduction remove from the heat and pour over your Portobello mushrooms, these should then be seasoned and placed in the oven at 190C for 10 minutes.

This is such a fantastic combination of flavours owing to the nuttiness of the artichoke, the beautiful flavour of the mushroom nicely cut by the balsamic. A simple starter which does confuse a lot of people and they will be bound to ask what the artichoke is…it’s in season now so don’t waste time, their not around for long!

12 years ago

Mesquite flour contains more sugars than regular flour and therefore burns very easily. I suspect that this may have something to do with the funny taste that it can get as a result of cooking. Again, this is a challenge that can be mitigated somewhat by adding wheat flour. You may want to lower the cooking temperature of your recipe a little if you are adding mesquite to it. At the very least, keep a close eye on whatever you are baking. Solar ovens work great for baking with mesquite because burning is impossible!

You can start adding mesquite to your diet by trying out the recipes offered on this website. Carob flour can be used in much the same way as mesquite flour. Try substituting carob flour for mesquite flour for some variety.


Mesquite Waffles
Prickly Pear Syrup
Pearl's Mesquite Pancakes
Anastasia's Mesquite Pancakes
Neighborhood Mesquite Holiday Bars
Home Cured Olives
Basic Yellow Mesquite Cake

Pinole (Mesquite Drink)
Tepary Bean Hummus
Prickly Pear Punch
Ironwood Trail Mix
Simple Mesquite Drink
Prickly Pear Pads Raw or Cooked
Mesquite Shortbread
Saguaro and cashew ice cream
12 years ago

Cooking With Mesquite (or carob): Some Facts and Tips
By Anastasia Rabin

As I flip and serve pancakes at the Desert Harvesters pancake breakfast each year, I'm constantly questioned by those waiting in line about how and what to cook with mesquite flour. I am no expert, but here are a few facts and tips about cooking with mesquite that I have learned from my own experiments and from those of others.

The most commonly asked question I get asked is "Can you use it like regular flour?" The answer is yes you can, but don't expect it to taste or behave anything like regular flour. There are several reasons for this and understanding them has helped to guide me successfully through my experiments with using mesquite flour.

The flours that we use are most commonly made from cereal grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. These grains all contain varying amounts of glutenin, a protein that is commonly referred to as gluten. Gluten gives dough its elastic qualities and is especially important for leavened dough because it allows gas bubbles formed by the leavening to be trapped. The dough stretches as the bubbles grow and the resulting effect is dough that rises well and bakes into something light and airy.

The light, chewy, and somewhat stretchy substance that most of us recall when we think of bread, is made with high-gluten flour. Gluten-free breads and baked goods (usually made for the sake of people with wheat or gluten allergies from rice or spelt flours) have a crumbly quality to them. This can be favorable in some recipes like pastries, cookies, and even muffins, but is typically considered an undesirable quality for breads since slicing or applying any sort of spread is likely to leave you with a pile of crumbs.

Mesquite contains no gluten and is therefore guilty of this same tendency. That is one of the reasons why it works best when mixed with wheat flour. I have noticed that having too much mesquite in my pancake batter has resulted in a super-wet batter that won't really cook through. The pancake remains like pudding in the middle no matter how long I leave it on the griddle. (The same thing has happened to me when I used too much oatmeal in pancakes) I think that this might be a result of the leavening not having that critical amount of elastic structure in which to rise. The bubbles from the baking soda cook out too quickly leaving the center raw, wet, and sealed inside a semi-burned crust.

The ratio of mesquite to wheat can vary depending on what it is you are making and what the desired texture is. Playing around with varying types of flours and amounts of gluten will add yet another important variable in your experiments.

Another reason for diluting mesquite flour with wheat flour is that mesquite has a very strong flavor that can be overpowering. In its uncooked form I find it to be entirely palatable. It makes the best pinole that you'll ever have and is also a great addition to smoothies as a protein powder. But when it is cooked it can have a "sharp" flavor to it that pinches the middle of your tongue. Try cooking a little bit of the straight flour as a mush or porridge and you will taste what I mean. The same flavor came through when I used it 50/50 with whole-wheat pastry flour to make pie crust one Thanksgiving. I like my cheese to be sharp but not my piecrusts. Although it is just a matter of taste (as are so many culinary experiences) I think that most would agree. Diluting it with wheat flour seems to take care of this potential problem entirely, and allows the true, tangy-sweet flavor of the mesquite to really be enjoyed without overwhelming the palate.

This post was modified from its original form on 23 Jun, 17:50
12 years ago
Mesquite, It Ain't Just for Barbeque
Monday July 2, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

That’s right, you might recognize the mesquite name for your favorite barbeque products, but this little tree ain’t just for barbeque! It’s a leguminous plant, fixing much-needed nitrogen into desert soils, and providing delicious pods. It’s similar to the carob in that it’s really the sweet flesh surrounding the seeds that you’re after. That said, you can grind the whole pods with seeds and all for a delicious and healthy flour. Pictured above are 3 native mesquites to the Sonoran desert; on the left are the pods of honey mesquite (Prosopsis glandulosa), in the center screwbean mesquite (Prosopsis pubescens), and on the right are the velvet mesquite pods (Prosopsis velutina).

At the Desert Harvesters Mesquite Milling Fiesta, freshly milled mesquite flour is poured into a container for Esperanza, a young desert harvester.

12 years ago
Tuesday July 10, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants Here’s a play on the very American dish…succotash.  Be sure that you are harvesting VERY young seedpods, and that you boil the seeds until all of the soapy taste has been removed.


2 c yucca seeds
2 c corn, shaved off the cob
2 c kidney or lima beans
4 T yellow onion, finely chopped
1 T butter
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
salt & hot pepper powder mix to taste

Use only VERY young yucca seedpods. Broil the whole seedpods for 20 minutes. Cut them open and scoop out seeds. Boil seeds in at least 2 changes of water, or until soapy taste is removed. Rinse them in cold water. Saute onions in butter until translucent. Add corn and broth and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then mix in yucca seeds and pre-cooked beans, salt & hot pepper mix, and heat thoroughly. Serves 6.

12 years ago
Aunt Marilyn's Juneberry Pie
Sunday July 15, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

“If you truly love nature, you’ll find beauty everywhere.” -van Gogh

Welcome to North Dakota! A land kissed with beautiful sunsets, a famous International Peace Garden, and a wild wind that whips through its prairie wildflowers. I’ve been visiting some of my relatives here, all of whom are farmers. Their connection with the land runs deep, and I am grateful they have shared their stories. The photo above is of bee balm/bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). It was blooming profusely and I harvested a large supply, of which I will use the dried leaves as a cooking herb, and the flower tops for a medicinal tea.

Juneberries/saskatoons/serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia). My Great Aunt Marilyn  She, my Grandmother Jeanne, and their sister Joyce, spent many hours harvesting juneberries as children near their buffalo ranch in northwestern North Dakota.

Aunt Marilyn’s Juneberry Pie

3 ½ c juneberries
¾ c sugar
2 T flour

2-crust pie shell:
2 c flour
¾ c butter-flavored Crisco
dash salt
5 T cold water

Mix flour, Crisco and salt in mixing bowl. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time, and do not overmix. Split dough into 2 pieces. Roll out first crust dough onto floured surface and place into pie pan. Mix filling in a mixing bowl and place into pie pan. Roll out your second crust and place on top of pie filling. Fold over crust edges, press with fork, and poke fork holes on top to allow pie to breathe. Sprinkle top with a bit of sugar and bake for one hour in preheated 400° oven. Cool for 2 hours and serve.

12 years ago
Nasturtium Hors d'Oeuvres
Thursday July 19, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

In keeping with the spirit of foraging for free foods, I’ve been getting a lot of nasturtium leaves, unopened flower buds, flowers, and seedpods. I know, it’s a garden plant. But this South American native has naturalized itself here in California and is found growing in many places where it was not originally planted. So many folks I know are unaware of their edibility, so I thought it was good to highlight them here. All parts above-ground are edible, and although we call them nasturtium’s, they are actually of the Tropaeolum genus.

The above photo is of some hors d’oeuvres using the leaves as a wrap. Stuffed inside is the julienned carrot, goat cheese and quinoa. I’ve been drying and powdering most of the leaves though, adding them to mayonaise and pasta dough.
12 years ago
Cool Mesquite Drink
Tuesday July 24, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

Looking for a cool and refreshing late summer drink? Have you harvested up all your mesquite pods from the desert and now have to wait to have them ground into flour? This recipe comes from Chef Bob, and is a yummy way to use those mesquite pods now.

Mesquite Drink

4 c mesquite pods, broken into 2” pieces
10 c water
2 T lemon or orange rind
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground wild spicebush berries
agave nectar to taste

Break your mesquite pods into pieces and measure them out. Place broken pods, water, and lemon rind into pot to soak overnight (roughly 8 hours). Then put the pot on lowest heat setting, adding cinnamon and spicebush berries, making sure the mixture does not boil. Simmer for an hour and a half and strain. Add agave nectar and cool in refrigerator before serving. Garnish with a lemon or orange.

12 years ago
Elderberry Sauce
Tuesday July 24, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

*WARNING: Some people experience nausea from eating raw elderberries. Be sure to dry or cook your blue or purple-colored elderberries before eating them.*

Elderberry Sauce
1 1/2 c elderberries
juice of 2 medium sized oranges
2 Tbsp orange zest, cut in long thin strips
1/4 c agave nectar
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp butter

Place all ingredients, except butter, into saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

California Buckwheat Spaetzle
1/2 c California Buckwheat flour
1/2 c unbleached white flour
1 egg
2/3 c milk
1/8 tsp salt
generous pinch of hot pepper powder

Nasturtium Spaetzle
2 tsp nasturtium powder
1 c unbleached white flour
1 egg
2/3 c milk
1/8 tsp salt
generous pinch of hot pepper powder

Combine ingredients of each spaetzle mixture separately. Simmer 1/2 gallon of water in a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp salt. Place a colander over the top of your large pot and pour in one of your spaetzle mixtures. Using the back of a spoon push mixture through the holes into simmering water. Remove colander and stir spaetzle. When they float, strain them off the top and place into bowl of ice water. Wash colander and repeat process with second spaetzle mixture. To reheat melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan, add spaetzle, and toss until thoroughly heated.
12 years ago
False Dandy Balls
Friday August 17, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

The recipe below is adapted from Dr. Peter Gail’s recipe for dandelion burgers. Dr. Gail is widely known as the Dandelion Man, and he has written several books on using dandelions in cooking.

False Dandy Balls

1 c false dandelion/catsear flower petals
1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/4 c onions, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely diced
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried hot pepper mix
salt & pepper to taste
milk, enough to make stiff batter
oil for frying

Remove false dandelion/catsear petals from flower base by pinching tightly between your thumb and pointer fingers. While applying pressure roll the flower base between your fingers.This allows the petals to fall below. Once you have your false dandelion/catsear petals, mix all ingredients. Add milk until you have a stiff batter. Fry in oil – I like to use grapeseed oil – until golden brown.

12 years ago
Sea Rocket Rocks!
Monday August 27, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

Adventures by the sea usually have us turning our heads towards the ocean. But be sure to look back, as you can find a delicious plant anchoring the sand. I believe the photo above is of American sea rocket (Cakile edentula). This spicy succulent is in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family. American sea rocket is native from Virginia to Newfoundland, probably making its way to the west coast via ship ballasts in the late 1800’s. European sea rocket (Cakile maritima) arrived a bit later, probably in a similar way. Ocean currents do, however, disperse their fruits to distant lands. The two plants have widely hybridized.

Sea rocket rocks! It packs a powerful punch and was fun to have sea rocket leaves with tuna, tomato, sea rocket seedpods and flowers as hors d’oeuvres. I’ve also added them to salads. So, be sure to check out the sand dunes, as you may find yourself a tasty new vegetable.

12 years ago
Prickly Pear Cactus
Thursday October 4, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

Found from Chile to Canada, the prickly pear comes in a wide variety of colors and tastes. The Mexicans are particularly fond of prickly pear and it’s said that the Triple Alliance/Aztecs wandered for many generations before seeing an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus in a lake. They took this as a sign and built a city named Mexico-Tenochtitlan…meaning ‘In the moon’s navel – place of the prickly pear cactus.’ This is near Mexico City. Check out the flag of Mexico and you will see the plant if you look closely.

Although you can still find a few random pads for harvesting, that time falls more in the spring. If you can’t wait for spring, there is a little company producing delicious Cactus Jerky, something I’m definitely going to try making later. The fruits, however, are widely available in southern California right now. To harvest I would suggest a pair of tongs, or very thick work gloves. I also like to use a fruit picker to reach fruits growing out of reach. Place them into a container and be careful about glochids (very small stickers) releasing into the air as you harvest.

I then bring them home and fill up a bucket with sand. You can rub them between your hands with the sand, or use a stiff vegetable cleaning brush to rub off the stickers and glochids. Then submerge your fruits into a bowl of hot water, as this softens the glochids even more. I have also tried burning off the glochids and then placing into hot water, this method also works.

The photo above is for making fresh juice. Recipe below highlights how to make syrup. The fresh juice is divine, and most of the prickly pear fruits in this area have a flavor much like watermelon. You can see the fruits cut open, glass bowl is where seeds and pulp are scooped into, and then straining out the seeds and using cheesecloth to further separate. The seeds I got last year were quite hard, but this year’s seem softer. I’ll try and sprout them.

Prickly Pear Syrup

Clean fruits of glochids and remove seedy/pulpy center. Put flesh into large pot, mash it, and bring to a low boil. Strain through cheesecloth to separate seeds. Put seeds to the side and add sweetener to make syrup to your liking. Bring to a boil and place in clean glass jars. Refrigerate or boil in open-water bath.

12 years ago
California Bay Laurel
Thursday March 6, 2008 in
sunny savage wild food plants

(Photo from the Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines)

Another great video below by FeralKevin. When I moved to California in September of 2006 I went crazy for Californai Bay Laurel nuts (Umbellularia Californica). I love FeralKevin’s analogy to cacao nibs in the video below, as that was exactly how I used them. For my Master’s graduation party I made huge batches of truffles with them…roasting off the nuts and blending with powdered sugar and cream. Their natural stimulating/caffeine-like properties made for a wild party!

Video of Bay Nut

local caffeine part 3: California bay nuts (peppernuts)

12 years ago
Ah yes, what was I thinking ....... NOT! P.V.C's ........ Thanks Dove!

Oatmeal box, of cardboard? Yes,with watering you will need something to hold it together. The Nylons may do the trick? Heavy rain outside might be a bit too much for it? Muddy water drips if with cardboard and Nylons, so something under it?

This should be interesting, Dove!

I was looking around at all my Old baskets, they could even work? What else do you have around to experiment with? I can see why they are using a large plastic bag, really that looks like what it is made of.

This could be fun! As long as nothing is wasted
12 years ago

Topsy Turvey Planter is a great idea! Tillie told me about this last month but the garden center here has sold out of them the two times I went. Can I make one I wonder? A piece of syrofoam and an oatmeal container with a string? I have concerns about using the soda bottle that was posted above because of the p.v.c.'s it gives off when sunlight hits it after a few days....

Hmmm...I'd have to encase the whole thing in an old pair of clean pantyhose to keep it all together...what do you think? Should I try?

This post was modified from its original form on 23 Jun, 13:57
How wild onions look in the ground
12 years ago
12 years ago

Wow! I have seen those mushrooms , well they look exactly like those, at the big park near my apartment. And i was able to take a walk there this morning and although I did see them I was afraid I could not reach them. BUT I did pick a handful of dandelion leaves and another handful of wild onions. Mostly just the tops as I couldn't find anything big enough to dig with with but I got three or four of the bulbs using my pocket knife which is tiny. The dandelion leaves are a little bitter but add a nice touch to salads. I will use the bulbs to season my rice and snip the chives over the top when I serve it tonight.Then on my way home I bought a bag of carrots that only 3 months ago were 3 pkgs.  for a dollar. Now I pkg is 99 cents!
You mentioned sorrel. I've never seen it fresh this way.
I also have some dried red sorrel (store bought from the Jamaican market)  which makes a really nice iced tea! Turns dark red! Tart too!
Anyway, nice thread Little Running Deer and not a moment too soon!
I hope we all can add something to it.

12 years ago

How to Make your own?
 Out of Buckets etc.........
HOW TO - Inverted Indoor Gardening Plants  how it would be nice to grow things such as tomatos and beans indoors during the winter months. " Here's an inverted hanging planter constructed from a 2 liter soda bottle. I plan on growing tomatoes indoors in addition to the beans which I already have growing in one."

YouTube - My Upside Down Garden 3 Jun 2007 ... This Is My UpSideDown Garden it has been set up for just over two months it has
cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, ...

Top and Bottom Planter

Patio Spuds???????
Chickweed:The new salad?
12 years ago


Chickweed. (Stellaria media)

Of all the wild greens, this one has long been left out of the kitchen and for no good reason at all. I have no doubt there are some more adventurous souls among us that have taken the time to dig some out and give it a whirl, but for those who have not, you are in for a real treat. After all it is probably only a matter of time before the Heston Blumenthals of this world serve it up as something new at a fiver a pop!

So named because of its appreciation by chickens. This plant has been used throughout history the world over, we have refrences of its use in the 1500’s in John Gerards history of plants. Chickweed is a good sauce of vitamin C, iron and phosphorous and there is even an old wives tale that says chickweed tea is a good cure for obesity. In the past it has been used for medicinal purposes as well as part of the five a day vegetable intake.

The good thing about chickweed is that it is so obtainable and many of you are sitting within twenty metres of the stuff right now. It is found in almost all gardens, hedgerows and broken ground, not only that but it is available all year round. It forms thick mats on the ground and never grows over a foot. To pick it you can be selective and cut the most attractive stems or rake up handfuls with your bare hands, the whole plant is edible so the only prep it needs is a good rinse when you get it in the kitchen.

In the kitchen.
Chickweed is best served raw, it has a taste reminiscent of sweet corn, when you try it you will see what I mean. The plant itself has a similar shape and wiry consistency of watercress. It works very well in salads and try to use it to add a different texture to a tuna salad instead of using sweet corn. You can cook it, just put it in a pan with some butter, salt & pepper and a splash of lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes, no more or the taste will disappear. Treat it in much the same way as you would spinach.

My personal preference is to serve it raw with warm melted butter infused with a little salt and pepper, lemon juice, garlic and a dash of white wine vinegar. By doing it like this I find the bitterness of the lemon and the sourness of the vinegar work well with the sweetness of the chickweed. The best way to play with this wild food is to eat some raw and think about its taste and texture, then work out what you think it would work well with.

Three good reasons to eat this are: its good for you, its free and there is plenty of it!


Jack-by-the-hedge:herbacious & fresh.
12 years ago

Jack-by-the-hedge. (Hedge garlic, garlic mustard)

We all love garlic. We love it, why we don’t like the smell (especially if someone has eaten it) I will never understand. I have to include jack by the hedge as it is such a great little plant and is found all over the place. It is a great substitute for garlic but I prefer to consider it altogether something different and rather special, as it has such a mild, herbaceous flavour to it. Our ancestors also valued its properties for both medicinal purposes and culinary potential. Early settlers from Europe took it with them to North America and since then, much to their annoyance, it continues to plague the nations gardens and woodlands. The fast food chompers find absolutely no use for it, which is a great shame but inevitably their loss.

Other than wild garlic (Ramsons), this is our other most common form of garlic that grows in the wild. The difference between the two is Ramsons offer up both their leaves and bulbs, the latter being used in much the same way as bulbed garlic, whereas with hedge garlic, only the leaves are worth gathering. The biggest difference is that hedge garlic, when taken into the kitchen, is so much more versatile allowing it to be used in many different ways, as it doesn’t possess the strong flavour and pungent aroma of its wild cousin.

Jack by the hedge is an easy plant to locate, the clue is in its name…hedgerows are your best bet. Once this biennial has colonised an area it spreads like wildfire, so there will be plenty of it. The leaves are deep green in colour and slightly toothed. As you can see in the picture, they have a lovely set of white flowers at the top of the stem, making them simple to identify. They are best found from April to July, sometimes as early as March if there has been a mild winter.

Having used this plant in so many different ways, it’s hard to decide which are my favourite recipes for it, so here are a few of what I would say are the best:

For a good accompliment with lamb take a bunch of hedge garlic leaves and a bunch of mint leaves, chop finely, add some vinegar and sugar, mix it up and serve as a garlic-mint sauce.

For a great little dip for crudités, simply chop up a good handful of leaves and add to some mayonnaise with a couple of drops of Tabasco.

My personal favourite is to use in hedge garlic in a salad to add a hint of garlic. This works best with a few dandelion leaves for bitterness, rocket for a peppery tang, sorrel for a lemony bite and some basic lettuce to add freshness and bulk. Just drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Sorrel: The lemon among greens.
12 years ago

One of the best spring greens you will ever come across and personal favourite of mine. Sorrel is indigenous to Britain and has been used over the centuries. It had a particular place up to the time of Henry VIII; from then on the introduction of French sorrel with its broader leaves slowly discouraged the use of our indigenous species.
In the past it has been viewed as a plant used by the lower classes for flavouring with meat and other foodstuffs. As with most wild foods, which are becoming increasingly fashionable these days as the big name restaurants of London are finally catching on, sorrel is most highly prized for its zesty, lemon tang. This means it can be used in a whole manner ways particularly as a substitute for lemon or lime. Therefore it is not surprising that this little plant has been known in a medicinal sense to cure scurvy as well as being used as a diuretic.
There are two types of sorrel, the one pictured is common sorrel and the other being a much more dainty version known as wood sorrel (picture below) that vaguely resembles a clover. Both taste more or less the same except you have to do a little more gathering if you’re after wood sorrel.
Sorrel is a simple plant to identify. Its leaves are a distinctive shield shape and can be found as early as March in hedgerows and pastures especially in damp, darker areas where the leaves grow larger. From May to August a stem begins to develop and grow up to about two feet, which is topped off with spikes of small red and green flowers. Wood sorrel is equally simple to identify and is often accompanied by a tiny white flower with small pink lines on its petals.

What to do with it? Well, in the past this zesty little plant was used as a sauce for fish, and I would definitely recommend this recipe better known as green sauce. This is my own take on a basic recipe which has been used for centuries. The idea being to let the flavour of the sorrel stand out instead of drowning it with the traditional amount of malt vinegar they used to put in.
- 1 handful of sorrel leaves.
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of white wine
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
This is an incredibly basic sauce and I have found it is spectacular with any fish; personally I like it with mackerel straight off the BBQ. Finely chop your sorrel to begin with and put the wine, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Gently heat until all the sugar has dissolved. I usually transfer the sauce and sorrel into a pestle and mortar and grind it into paste. Add a little salt and pepper to your taste and serve. The result is a fantastic piquant sauce that can be used with, to be quite honest, anything. You can even spread it straight onto bread!

Other culinary delights that this plant offers are never ending. Mix it up with some mayonnaise for a refreshing dip with crudités or stir them up in a pot of new potatoes just before you serve them. They also make a good companion to fried mushrooms. Do take note however that the leaves only take a minute to wilt and to overcook them is a sin, the flavour will dissipate and camouflage sludge will be left behind.
So the next time you happen upon a small patch of sorrel, don’t hesitate to take a little home with you, or at least taste it. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative, I can guarantee you will find a use for it in the kitchen in some way. Enjoy!


This Gather of wild fresh foods?
12 years ago


For those food bloggers out there here is a picture for you! Maybe not very pro, but I can live with it. So the next time I look at YOUR blog there had better be something worthwhile to read…you know who you are.
Pignuts: a childhood favourite revisited.
12 years ago


Whatever happened to the carefree days of kids playing with conkers, munching on different wild foods, playing marbles and climbing trees? It seems these days there more interested in stabbing each other, fighting, looking like Jordan or Jodie marsh and generally abusing anyone around, be it verbally or otherwise. Of course I only speak of a small percentage of the Britain’s under 16’s, but that percentage is growing. I remember when I was a young lad a wayside nibble was something treasured, getting the best conker out of a tree, the enigmatic “cheese cutter” being a excellent find for nailing your opponent’s hopeful thing-on-a-string. At school we used to eat crab apples, sweet chestnuts, blackberries and wild rhubarb (which was actually Japanese knotweed- but we were not to know!) The simple understanding that if you get stung by a stinging nettle, you rub a dock leaf on it to remove the throbbing sting. I bet very few children know that these days.  What is the world coming to honestly!

Therefore it was with pure enjoyment that I helped myself to a pignut or two the other day whilst on my way to a favourite fishing spot. The simple act of digging up the cheeky pignut flooded back hazy memories of bygone days. I say ‘cheeky’ as the pignut has a sly way of not being able to always get at it, once the stalk disappears into the ground the stalk takes a ninety degree turn and becomes very fragile before you reach the nut itself. Clever! The best thing to do is to dig around it in a two -inch radius and you will most certainly have your pignut or earthnut as it is also known.


Weird as it may sound, the pignut is actually part of the carrot family and is considered illegal to dig up without the landowner’s permission. Right. Ok. That has never stopped me before and probably never will. The elation of getting your hands on a pignuts is like finding buried tresure-probably why they held such an appeal as a child, as an adult it feels more like finding a truffle.

 They taste somewhere between a potato and a sweet chestnut and can be eaten raw or roasted. I like mine raw, just peel off the skin and indulge yourself in the white nutty goodness (with out trying to sound too much like a dairy milk ad!).

Don’t delay try one today, they are only around May to June, but try only a few they are not as prolific as they once were and I want my Kids, when they come along, to be able to try them too!

12 years ago
This is believed to be due to a number of factors that range from very bad allergies to the mushroom's protein, to toxins absorbed by the mushroom from the wood it grows on such as Yew, Cedar and Eucalyptus.”  So there you have it, easy to identify, but you never know if you might be part of that small percentage…so here are a few tips to minimize any risk:


·      Only take the edges of the bracket where the flesh is softer and discard any hard, chalky parts found closer to the surface of the tree.

·      Avoid any growing on Yew trees, stick strictly to broad-leaved trees such as Oak.

·      Always cook it! Then try just a small amount and leave it for about 30 minutes to an hour. If you are feeling fine you almost certainly are not part of that small percentage.


So a So a bit of a dodgy fungus but a fine one at that. The first thing I noticed about the chicken as I am sure you will is its pungent aroma of mushrooms, which I was not expecting, but please refrain from scoffing it there and then! The amazing thing about the chicken is the texture, it really is like chicken, one that has been nicely browned on a bbq and basted with a hot sticky marinade of some sort. It is more like a Tofu and can be used as a meat substitute in a variety of different ways. To be honest with you, a find such as this deserves pride of place and should be eaten with the most simplistic of additions. The best way is to fry them up with butter and lemon thyme and give them a good squeeze of lemon juice and a twist of salt & pepper. Delicious.



I can recommend no better a mushroom that is as versatile as this one; few can be used in the same way. The other good thing is that when you find one, there is a huge amount of flesh, take it and remember where you found it. So next time your out and about, keep your eyes peeled be it in the woods or the suburbs, goodness is all around, sometimes you don’t always have to search to find what you are after, but quite often it helps!

12 years ago
Wild Foods

Collecting enough wild foods. One can imagine how much time Native Americans had to spend to collect enough wild foods to feed families and tribes. Indeed, this time crunch most likely contributed to the first gardening of wild greens which would make food collection easier.

Depending on what you want to gather, expect to spend a lot of time searching for and collecting wild foods. Gathering wild greens can take a lot of time because so many of the wild greens are best when only the young leaves are young and small. Some of these do not occur in large populations making the search even longer. Season is also important because many of the species are either short-lived or only edible during certain times of the year.

Possible environmental degradation from wild food gathering can result from over-harvesting wild edibles. Harvesting vast amount of wild greens in a limited area could also contribute to population loss of these species and eventual decline.

Free Range Chicken of the woods. Nice. DSCN3766

It’s been a long time; I have been searching high and low-nowt! But for all the searching I have done, all it took was to be sitting in the front seat of a car, feeling a little delicate from a few ales the night before that I suddenly saw it- spewing forth from the cleft of an incredible old oak tree, the whisky tinted fronds of the chicken.  The fact that I was driving through the outskirts of Burgess Hill in Sussex surprised me, the chicken of the woods is indeed as much of a townie as the morel has become, after all why not?


I have read all sorts about this fascinating fungus, but never had the chance to taste it, its not likely to grace the supermarket aisle and may just sit amongst a few of its better known cousins at farmers markets. The best way to taste is to find.  The chicken of the woods is actually quite an evil fungus, the bright orange and yellow beast will not yield once its spores are inside the skin of it’s favoured host; the oak, and will eventually see the tree off. That’s why of all the fungal finds to prise the chicken off its perch is both gratifying and makes you feel you could be doing the tree a favour. DSCN3768

I have never been one for mushroom picking- dangerous business. As I have got older the priorities have changed, gone are the days of windswept October walks across open fields in search of the Psilocybe semilanceata (that’s magic mushrooms to you and me) for these are the days of mushrooms which hold more culinary potential. They say the best things in life are free and I am completely in agreement, the best food is wild and If you know what your doing they are readily available.


The chicken of the woods is a bit of a lottery according to most guide books and reports, to quote John Wright (The River cottage mushroom handbook) “ There are many credible reports of it causing dizziness, hallucinations and gastro-intestinal problems in a relatively small percentage of those who eat it’”. To quote Michael Beug; “Causes mild reactions in some, for example, swollen lips or in rare cases nausea, vomiting, dizziness and disorientation. This is believed to be due to a number of factors that range from very bad allergies to the mushroom's protein, to toxins absorbed by the mushroom from the wood it grows on such as Yew, Cedar and Euca

Gathering or gardening !
12 years ago
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