Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wild Edibles of Abram's Creek

Earth Connection (EC) welcomes eight new students to our family. About 40 edible plants were identified at Abram's Creek Campground this weekend in a four hour wild edibles class. Hue taught the class with excellent side comments and assistance from Jamey and Chagi-ya (the furry one), the ever-by-his-side companions.

There were plenty of "ooohs" and "aaahs" with the Poison Water Hemlock encounter, not to be confused with the Hemlock forest in which the campground is located. Milkweed and Burdock were abundant. But, beebalm was the reigning favorite of the campers for its showy flower and flavor (used in a tea). EC is planning to do more out at Abram's Creek in the future. Keep your eyes open!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Velcro Weed... Gobo... Call it good to eat!

Here is a plant we discussed briefly during our class but did not get to taste... Too bad! It is one of our favorites.

Common Burdock (Arctium minus)

Burdock has mildly sweet-tasting flesh with bitter leaves and sprouts. The exterior of the large, dark, woody-looking root belies the sweet, nutty, delicate, crunchy flesh within. Although its bark-like skin looks thick, it is actually tissue-paper-thin, able to be scraped away with a fingernail or light scrubbing. Burdock is a root commonly used in Japanese dishes. Gobo is the Japanese word for burdock, which is considered an intensely "yang" vegetable. One of the characteristics of yang is heat generation. For the Iroquois, burdock was an important winter food. They dug it in the fall, dried it, and then ate it throughout the long cold months of winter.

Good pictures of stages of growth except for the root.

Also check out our "Useful Resources" Link to the left for more pictures

You can harvest the large, deep, beige taproot from the basal rosette form (as soon as the flowerstalk appears, the root becomes tough and woody) from early spring to late fall. Its hearty flavor is a little like that of potatoes, although it’s related to artichokes. Scrub the root with a coarse scouring pad, but don’t peel it. Slice it razor-thin on a diagonal.

Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. You may also sauté it, but add liquid and cook it in moist heat another 10 minutes afterwards, or it may not get tender.

You may also harvest the immature flower stalk in late spring, before the flowers appear, while it’s still tender and very flexible. Peeled and parboiled for 1 minute to get rid of the bitterness, it tastes like artichoke hearts, and it will enhance any traditional recipe that calls for the heart of artichokes. Cook this another 5-10 minutes.

Young leaves can also be boiled in two or so changes of water to remove the bitterness.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Jamey's Wild Green Quiche

We have recieved an overwhelming response to post our wild edible feast recipes. Let EC begin with Jamey's Wild Green Quiche. She used Lamb's Quarters this time, but has used Stinging Nettles successfully in the past and wants to try Orach given the chance.

We will post more recipes as they are complied. Enjoy!

Jamey's Wild Green Quiche

- 1 9-inch pie crust (make this crust homemade… see your recipe books)
- 2-cups of cooked wild green
(Steam lightly until limp, add some butter for added flavor if you like)
- 1-cup shredded Swiss cheese Gruyere
- 1-cup whole milk
- 2 egg whites
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon tarragon, crumbled
- 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Line a 9-inch pie plate with the crust. Bake crust in a preheated oven at 450 for 7 minutes. Cool crust and lower oven to 350.
  • Place Wild Greens on the bottom of the crust and then the shredded cheese.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the milk, egg whites, whole eggs, tarragon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture carefully over the cheese.
  • Bake quiche for 30 minutes or until the custard has set.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

EC Edible Plants Class at Abram's Creek

EC is giving another session of its summer edibles class at Abram's Creek Retreat & Campground in West Virginia on Saturday July 29, 2:00 - 6:00pm.

This Seasonal Wild Edible Plant class focuses on the different plants and plant uses of each season. There will be a guided walk through different habitats, identifying, collecting and frequent sampling wild plant foods, and pointing out harmful plants to avoid. It will cover approximately 40 plants, shrubs and trees. It will cover proper identification and use of these plants, whether plants are native or introduced, when and where to safely collect plants and conservation techniques.

EC Primitive Cooking Demo at JPPM

Earth Connection (EC) in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Group (MAPS) is giving a primitive cooking demo on August 12, 2006, 11am - 5pm, at the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum's (JPPM) American Indian Heritage Day (there is an entrance Fee).

Ever wonder how life was along the Chesapeake Bay over 500 years ago? Come to JPPM and enjoy modern interpretations of this rich cultural heritage through visual and performing arts by American Indians from around the region. Get a glimpse of everyday life through hands-on activities in basketry, archery, stone tool making and much more. This event is co-sponsored by the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. For more information contact JPPM at 410-586-8501 or email

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

16 July -- Summer Wild Edible Plant Class

Earth Connection's Summer Wild Edible Plant class was a great success despite the oppressive heat wave we were having.

Appetites for the wild plant tasting feast at lunch were not hindered one bit. The blackberry cobbler was the favorite followed by the blackberry cobbler. Everyone taste tested day lilly buds sauteed in butter and dried flowers, milkweed pods sauteed in butter, lamb's quarters quiche, black cherry and blackberry spritzers, raw soloman's seal root, red clover flower flour tortillas, black cherry fruit leather, plantain seed couscous... Shall I go on?

Tim and Hue's instruction along with Jen and Jamey's cookin' help provided an educational smorgssborg in wild edibles for all the participants.

Does anyone remember what two types of "blanching" were discussed?

Tim and Hue want your comments and questions.