Our New eBook - Wild Edibles 101

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wild-edibles-101-page-001By request, this is a popular book from our workshops, made available for general purchase!

When we offer workshops at Food Under Foot, we start with a wild edibles walk, learning to identify common weeds. We talk about their use as food and medicine and how and when to sustainably harvest the plants. Then we return to the workshop space (often the Birch Center in Pittsburgh’s South Side) and I demonstrate making a dish using some of the wild plants. I’ve made pesto, smoothies, vinegars, etc. Then we all get to sample!

Making a Wild Green Smoothie

Making a Wild Green Smoothie at a Workshop in Chalk Hill, PA

The workshops are fun and often I send the participants home with a book, reviewing 8 of the most commonly seen weeds with a recipe or two for each. Nothing overwhelming, just a natural accompaniment to the workshop.

Well, we had a few extra of these books laying around the Birch Center and some acupuncture clients took notice. They wanted a copy for themselves! Once we sold out of those I figured I’d make it available to everyone here online.

Remember, this book is simple: 101! But it has good pictures, easy-to-follow directions and useful recipes. Some are similar to what you may have already seen on the website or in the 5 part wild edible series that comes free when you join our mailing list. But it’s nice to have them all in one place.

This book showcases 8 of the most common weeds: dandelion, burdock, red clover, lambs quarters, garlic mustard, onion grass, plantain, and mugwort, and gives recipes to turn them into vinegars, wine, pesto, tea, smoothies and more. This is a simple book with simple recipes (about 25 pages), but if you want to get started with the weeds you’ll likely find anywhere in the US, this is the place to start!

Here are the contents:

  • Red Clover
    • Red Clover Iced Tea
    • Red Clover Apple Cookies
  • Garlic Mustard
    • Garlic Mustard Pesto (vegan)
    • Garlic Mustard Vinegar
  • Lambs Quarters
    • Wild Green Smoothie
  • Dandelion
    • Easy Dandelion Wine
  • Burdock
    • Lemony Ginger Burdock Juice
  • Plantain
    • Plantain Crisps
  • Mugwort
    • Mugwort Vinegar
  • Onion Grass
      Onion Grass Vinegar

Color photos, plant descriptions and step-by-step recipes. If you are an expert forager with years of experience this may not be the book for you. But if you want to get started, maybe compile some great easy recipes from this website all in one place, this is a great place to start!

Just $3.99, about 25 pages

8 common plants, 10 uncommon recipes

Wild Edibles 101

Add to Cart

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Happy Foraging!
~ Melissa

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Return To The Blueberry Bog

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The Bog At Black Moshannon State Park

The Bog At Black Moshannon State Park

Remember last year when we went to the Blueberry Bash at Black Moshannon State Park? We went again this year!

Blueberries (Last Year's Picture...My Camera Stopped Working This Year.)

Wild Blueberries From The Bog (Last Year's Picture...My Camera Stopped Working This Year.)

Unfortunately my camera stopped working after only a few shots. But here is our experience in a nutshell, and a few tips:

  1. Make sure you have a good camera.
  2. Bring binoculars for spectacular birdwatching.
  3. Bring bug repellent! It was a nice sunny day this year and the biting flies were literally out in swarms! It drove us from the bog, we barely got any berries this year.
  4. The environmental center was full of blueberry treats but also…sugar overload. I came home exhausted and with a pounding headache.
  5. If you are in Western Pa, you still have at least a couple weeks to go harvest berries here! Because of the long cold winter the berries are late in ripening and there were loads of unripe berries on the bushes.

Today I made some bug repellent. I wish I had it yesterday! To make add strong essential oils (I used eucalyptus, peppermint, orange and rosemary because that is what we had on hand) to olive oil. I also added some St. John’s Wort oil which I had made by steeping wild St. John’s Wort flowers and buds in olive oil.

bugoff

We hope you are enjoying this gorgeous summer! What are you harvesting these days?

Happy Foraging!

Melissa Sokulski from Food Under Foot

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Great Walks This Weekend!

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We had wonderful walks this past Saturday and Sunday at Frick Park in Pittsburgh - thanks to everyone who attended!

Although we did not find morels, we found plenty of Dryad Saddle (also called Pheasant Back):

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

We also identified and discussed many wild edible and medicinal plants over the past two days including:

  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  • Mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris
  • Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca
  • Mulberry, Morus
  • Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium alba
  • Garlic Mustard, Alliaria pettiolata
  • Onion Grass
  • Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
  • Violet, Viola
  • Chickweed, Stellaria media
  • Nettles, Urtica dioica
  • Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea
  • Cleavers, Galium aparine
  • Plantain, Plantago major
  • Burdock, Arctium lappa
  • Broad-leaf Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  • Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

chickweed

chickweed

We identified some poisonous plants:

  • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  • Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans

We also discussed how to find and identify elm and tulip poplar trees (which helps in searching for morels.)

We are working on the dates for more 2014 walks and workshops…they will be posted soon.

Hope to see you!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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Wild Edibles Walk and Morel Mushroom Sale THIS Saturday!

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Please join us for a wild edibles walk and morel mushrooms sale this Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 10:30 - 12:30 at Frick Park Environmental Center.

There are so many fantastic wild edibles out there right now - including morel mushrooms and Dryad Saddle mushrooms - let’s see if we can find some!

Of course we can’t guarantee morel findings, but we CAN tell you Frick Park is a well known morel playground! At least you’ll learn what to look for and we’ll share some great tips on how to find them. We’ll bring samples of all the different equally delicious types of morels there are to find around here including little grays, black, half-free and yellow.

We’ll also find and discuss at least 15 common wild edible plants including dandelion, burdock, dead nettles, chickweed, cleavers and many many more.

If you’d like to buy some morels from us we are selling them in 3oz bags - which as you can see below is quite a lot of morels!

3 oz of morels

3 oz of morels

The walk is $5/person, and each 3 oz bag of fresh morels is $5.

Please register and let me know how many 3 oz bags you would like (ideally.) I will try to make sure each person who wants morels gets some, so if you’d ideally like 3 bags that will only be possible if there are more morels left over after everyone who wants some gets some.

Register by sending an email to: Melissa@FoodUnderFoot.com with your name, email and phone number, how many will be on the walk with you and if you’d like morels how many bags you would ideally like.

We’ll meet at Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Blvd (where the Earth Day walks were.) There is a parking lot there and we’ll meet at the circle garden (by the Port-A-Johns.)

In a nutshell:

What: Wild Edibles Walk and Morel Sale, rain or shine

When: Saturday, May 17, 2014 10:30 am until about 12:30

Where: Frick Park Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Blvd. We’ll meet by the circular garden at the entrance of the park.

Cost: $5 per person for the walk, plus $5 per 3 oz bag of fresh morel mushrooms (of course you do not need to buy mushrooms, you can just come for the walk…maybe you’ll find your own!)

RSVP: Melissa@FoodUnderFoot.com with how many in your party and how many 3 oz bags of morels (we’ll try to fill all orders, making sure everyone who would like gets at least one bag) or call: (412) 381-0116

Questions: (412) 381-0116

Hope to see you Saturday!

~ Melissa and Dave

* Please Note: You do not have to buy morels to go on the hike with us! (walk is $5/person)

** Also, we’ll have more hikes, workshops and learning opportunities this year and we’ll give you much more notice! We just wanted to get out while it is still morel season so you can learn how to find morels!!

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18 Reasons Not To Be Impatient About Your Garden

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Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

I LOVE this time of year.

I have my garden in…but nothing is up yet. In fact, the tomatoes, peppers, basil and zucchini are still seedlings growing inside, the temperature outside is not consistently warm enough. And of the things I have planted: lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, only the merest of sprouts have come up. But I am not sad or impatient. Here’s why:

The WILD garden is filled with bounty right now! While my garden edibles won’t be ready for at least a month for the earliest things, NATURE is providing me with hardy greens of a variety of flavors, a variety of veggie stalks, and gorgeous gourmet mushrooms! Here are some of the things I’ve been enjoying the past week from Nature’s Garden, which is full of glorious abundance:

  1. Stinging Nettles, Urtica dioica, they’re up and in my smoothies and soups!
  2. nettles

    nettles

  3. Japanese Knotweed Stalks, deliciously tart, great for steaming, juicing and nibbling as a trailside treat
  4. Deadnettles, flowering now, this gorgeous flower is going in the smoothies and stir fries
  5. deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

    deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

  6. Chickweed, love it in salad
  7. Garlic Mustard, flowering already! In salads and pesto
  8. Fiddleheads, use care not to overharvest this springtime delicacy!
  9. Ramps, again, please use care not to overharvest!
  10. ramps

    ramps

  11. Onion Grass, aka Wild Chives/Garlic/Onion, use as you would chives
  12. Burdock Leaf Stalks, boil, steam, stir fry or add to soup
  13. Burdock Roots, juice, use in coleslaw and sour kraut, or stir fry
  14. Dandelion Leaves, bitter yet delicious and great as a liver cleanse
  15. Dandelion Flowers - I have a batch of dandelion wine brewing!
  16. Dandelion Root, dry for tea or dry roast and use as a coffee substitute
  17. Mint, is popping up
  18. Asparagus - If you’ve found a patch of wild asparagus you are in luck right now!
  19. Hairy Bittercress, this was one of the first things up! Tastes a bit like radishes, adds bite to your salad
  20. Morel Mushrooms, depending on where you live these have been up for a week or two or just due to come up. Yum!
  21. morel mushroom

    morel mushroom

  22. Dryad Saddle Mushrooms, if you find these with/instead of morels you’re in for a treat! Young dryads saddles are delightfully delicious.
  23. Dryad's saddle

    Dryad's saddle

I mean, really, who could ask for more?

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Join Us Sunday For This Year’s First Wild Edible Walks!

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What: This season’s first two wild edibles walks!

When: Sunday, April 13, 2014, noon and 2 pm

Where: Frick Park Environmental Center, Beechwood Blvd

Cost: Free!!

Please join us on Sunday, April 13, 2014 when we will be leading two forty-five minute wild edibles walks, at noon and 2, at Frick Park’s annual Earth Day Celebration. There will be other free walks as well: mushroom walks, bird walks, animal signs, spider walks just to name a few! Arrive fifteen minutes early to sign up for the walks (20 person limit).

Spring is coming late this year but we will definitely find enough to talk about! Garlic mustard,  onion grass, deadnettle, dandelion, burdock…and we’ll keep a sharp eye out for early edible mushrooms: Dryads saddle and morels!

It will be great fun and I hope to see you there.

More information can be found at Frick Park’s Earth Day website.

Here is the entire list of walks…check them out, they look amazing!

See you Sunday!

~ Melissa Sokulski of Food Under Foot

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Heading Out West…With A New Field Guide

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On Friday we are taking Food Under Foot on a road trip…heading to Arizona!

After our long eastern winter here in Pittsburgh, I am excited to see some actual plants growing from the ground!

I am also excited about the desert…we will be heading through Colorado, Utah and Arizona, and I am less familiar with the wild plants in that area.

Because of my lack of familiarity with desert plants I was so happy to receive a copy of Guide To Wild Foods And Useful Plants by Christopher Nyerges today! The second revised and updated edition is due out in April, but I was privileged to get an advanced peek…and I am truly excited to have this gem in my possession for our trip!

I pulled the book out of the envelop and literally flipped it open to Prickly Pear…a great sign! This book is gorgeous, thorough and wonderful to read. It has excellent photographs to help with identification, and discusses everything from agave to chia, chickweed to manzanita, lambs quarters to nasturtium, horsetail to yucca. I know that is a lot of jumping around but I am excited by all the edibles included and I cannot wait to devour this book before we leave, and then keep it on hand as we trek across the country.

I hope you’ll follow along with us! I’ll be posting about our trip and the coming of spring we are expecting to see along the way. Maybe when we return to Pittsburgh in April we’ll find some spring here!

Onward foragers!

~ Melissa and the Folks at Food Under Foot

Note: this article contains affiliate links

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Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles and A Recipe for Palestine Soup

Recipes
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Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

Here on Food Under Foot, we celebrate the edible and medicinal qualities of wild plants and mushrooms, be they omnipresent dandelions, invasive Japanese Knotweed or hard-to-find morel mushrooms.

Some of these plants most people classify as weeds. Said columnist Doug Larson, “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Some of these wild plants, including those omnipresent dandelion leaves, can be found at specialty grocery stores, with quite a nice price tag on them.

What are your favorite “gourmet” wild edibles? Maybe you live in the desert and Prickly Pear Cactus is your thing. Or morels from the woodland forests in Pennsylvania. Watercress growing from a stream is a good one…or how about bright yellow chanterelles? French chefs love those!

Here you’ll find an article with my list of my top five (well, seven…I added two more at the end.) It’s an article I wrote for Good Veg Magazine.

Is your list the same as mine? Different? Please let me know.

And don’t despair…one of these edibles is in season right now…in the middle of winter! In fact, Dave and I dug up 5 pounds of them the other day and had the most delicious Palestine Soup (recipe below) for lunch today! Did I give it away? You got it: Jerusalem Artichokes!

Sunchoke Tubers

Sunchoke Tubers

Recipe: Palestine Soup

And why, you may wonder, is this soup called “Palestine Soup”? According to infoplease.com, it is a case of a blunder begetting a blunder. You and I both know that Jerusalem artichoke is actually a native American plant, and the name came from the Spanish or Italian word for Sunflower: Girasol. The word Girasol sort of sounded like the word Jerusalem, and so this soup - made of Jerusalem Artichokes, is called Palestine Soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 - 7 tubers Jersalem Artichokes, washed well, peeled half-heartedly (don’t worry about getting all the peel off), and chopped
  • water or stock to cover vegetables
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, good if not using vegetable stock)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

onions and sunchokes

onions and sunchokes

  1. Saute onion in olive oil.
  2. Add Jerusalem artichoke and continue to saute, adding some salt, to bring out flavors.
  3. Cover with water or stock and let simmer until sunchokes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place in blender with cashews, nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper. Whizz til smooth.
  5. Reheat and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

This soup is simple and delicious!!!

Enjoy!

~ Melissa

Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles page in GoodVeg Magazine

Also on Food Under Foot:

Jerusalem Artichokes

Sunchoke Latkes

And please make sure you sign up for our newsletter and receive the first five ebooks in our Wild Edibles Series completely free! (Green box top right: Join The Family!)

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