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!

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.


Scott said...

Hey guys, I really enjoyed the class. The food was fantastic. Jamey and Jen did an awesome job.

I recently picked some wild onion seeds, that is now my favorite seasoning. I have a question about those. Can I store them in a jar like any other seasoning? Do you know how long will they last?

As for the blanching, I remember that some plants can be found already deprived of direct sunlight by searching for them under leaves or wood. If I remember correctly, a particular plant that isn't blanched could be covered and later returned to.

EC said...

The little bulblets that form on the top of the wild onion and garlic make great seasoning, but can be quite strong at times. I like them to flavor winter stews and as large part of garlic pickles. They can be stored in a jar as you suggest or an old seasoning container. As long as there is no moisture lingering they can last until the next year's crop when you will want to replenish and freshen your supply.

Scott said...

I used the onion yesterday mixed with some corn and lamb patties. My wife and son loved the taste too so I'll be including them more often in our meals. They are strong but not too much so. At least the ones I gathered weren't. No more cutting up onions or garlic for me. These are plentiful in my area and just the right size and ready to go.

Scott said...

I have a couple of questions about the wild garlic/onion. Since the lily is a poisonous look-alike, does the lily also have the bulblets? And, will lilies be found mingling in a patch of onion/garlic? One of the reasons I ask is that once I've broken open a bulblet or onion and have the scent of onion on my hands I'm not sure if its the residue I'm smelling or the next onion or bulblet I open.

EC said...

Scott... Be confident of your identification before consuming.

I have not had the experience with the co-mingling of these two plants, ever. That is not to say it cannot happen. But, I can say that the degree of onion/garlic smell on your hands will not interfer as much as you might think. Interestingly, there are other plants on the west coast that are more worrisome like Camas because the plants are not at their best when in flower and can be confused with the look alike Death Camas (notice the preceeding word "DEATH"). Most of the lilies with similar morphology occur on the west coast. On the east coast we largely have the wild garlic which many call the wild onion (not true, wild oinion is usually found in the prairie grasslands). We also have the wild leek on the east coast. The midwest has the false garlic, but again it is the lack of onion/garlic smell that gives it away. The bottomline is be sure of your identification before using.

Scott said...

I understand what you are saying. Just to be clear, it's the wild garlic bulblets that I am referring to. I'll drop the name onion.

I guess my most important question, which you answered, is if the two co-mingled. I am confident so long as they smell like garlic. Unless you know another reason to be careful. I'll probably just sample a bulblet from each plant to make sure. I've been using these pretty often now and I haven't had any problems. Come to think of it, I haven't been able to find any that didn't smell yet.

I'm a pretty careful and picky guy when it comes to this stuff. I would normally not even eat something that had a poisonous look-alike even if I could identify it because it just isn't worth it to me. However, these garlic bulbs are an exception. I really like them and I use them when I make my own camp bread, over salads, to season meat and in soups.