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Wild Recipes for the Holidays

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Sunchoke Tubers

Sunchoke Tubers

One of my favorite winter wild edibles is Jerusalem Artichoke - or Sunchoke - tubers.

Jerusalem Artichoke is actually native to America, and is in the sunflower (not artichoke) family. Its botanical name is Helianthus tuberosus. - the sunflower known for its edible tuber.

Sunchoke Flowers

Sunchoke Flowers

The flowers bloom in the late fall, usually September and October. All through the winter, as long as the ground is not frozen solid, the tubers can be dug up and eaten - and they are delicious! They can be enjoyed raw (I like to grate them into salad) or cooked (I love to roast them in the oven.) They have a wonderful unique flavor that I crave during the winter!

Jerusalem artichoke tubers can be used in any recipe in place of potatoes, but be warned they have a slightly different consistency when cooked than potatoes, they are a little more watery. This is because the starch is different. Jerusalem artichokes contain the starch inulin, which actually helps regulate blood sugar making it an excellent food for diabetics, or anyone with blood sugar issues.

Other than roasting it with other root vegetables, my favorite recipe is Sunchoke Soup (sometimes called “Palestine Soup”, a play on the name “Jerusalem.”)

This is a simple yet delightful recipe that is superb on the holiday table!

Sunchoke 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!!!

You can find other amazing holiday recipes in my book, “Winter Foraging Wild Food Feasting; Delicious Recipes for the Holidays or Anyday.”

You can get it directly from our website, and it is also available on Amazon Kindle.

I hope you are staying warm and enjoying some winter wild edibles! It can be fun to make the holiday table WILD with some great winter edibles!

Happy Foraging!

~ Melissa from Food Under Foot

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Make Your Own Herb Infused Honey

General Posts, Herb, Medicinal, Raw, Recipes
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photo1241

Honey is amazing. There’s a lot of buzz going on right now (pun intended) about how bad sugar is, to which I heartily agree. Added sugar is in way to much of our “food” (processed food), things you wouldn’t even expect such as spinach dip or tomato sauce have oodles of added sugar. This is terrible for one’s health. And don’t even get me started on corn syrup.

However, true to form in our Western way of thinking, a carb equals a carb equals a carb. A fat equals a fat. To most Western trained dieticians, fat from an avocado is the same as fat from prime rib. It counts as fat. And sugar counts as maple syrup counts as honey counts as corn syrup.  It’s all added sugar, it’s all carbs, it’s all the same right? I disagree.

Way back in the nineties a WHOLE big chain of health FOODS stores would not sell anything with sugar. It was awesome! I could go to their bakery and things were honey sweetened, maple syrup sweetened, brown rice syrup sweetened. It was great! But then along came new sugar crystal products. Suddenly there were signs up in the store (literally!) about how honey is just the same for you health-wise as sugar, how a carb is a carb, and they realize how close-minded and out-dated their belief system is and BOOM, from then on the shelves were FILLED with cereals and other  foods with sugar. Now at the bakery if you try to find something with only maple syrup or honey, well, good luck.

Honey, especially raw honey, contains living enzymes as well as vitamins and minerals, includiing  B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. The minerals found in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Honey has been used by herbalists for thousands of years. Honey has anti-bacterial properties, anti-tumer properties, energy boosting properties (well, ok, duh, sugar.) Herbalists have used honey to treat sore throats, coughs, nausea, all sorts of things.  And believe me, when you make your own baked goods or foods with a little honey or maple syrup, there is literally a little honey  or maple syrup. You are being mindful and conscious and getting way less sugar than the loads you get hidden in the products at the grocery store.

Honey is also a great way to incorporate healing herbs and wild edible plants into your diet. I love making things like infused honeys, vinegars, jams and butters that I actually use. It’s nice to make a tincture every once in a while, but those tend to sit on my shelf for years. The other things I use daily.  (I also love drying plants to use as teas, I use these all the time, too!)

Herbal and wild flower infused honeys are so amazing. I add them to tea, spread them on toast or rice cakes or drizzle them over homemade scones. And they are wonderfully easy to make. First get yourself some high quality (which usually means local) raw honey. Then find some empty jars. Now find your favorite herbs or wild flowers and you are in business. In general here is what I do:

  • Fill the jar halfway with fresh plants. Good ones to use for honeys include: violet flowers, calendula flowers, any kind of mint, sage, basil, anise hyssop, ginger, fennel.
  • Next pour honey over the herbs to fill the jar. Use a chopstick to tamp down and release air bubbles.
  • Cover and let sit in a warm place (the sun works well!) for at least 10 days before use. The honey will keep a long time, just keep the herbs right in there. They won’t mold, honey will act as a preservative. And the herbs are yummy to eat when spread on bread!
  • Label! Label as you would everything: the plant or plants, the medium (honey) and the date, including the year.

Herbal Infused Honeys and Sun Tea

Herbal Infused Honeys and Sun Tea

Above are three honeys I made recently:  calendula and chocolate mint, lemon balm leaves and lemon peel, the third is sage leaves. On the left is chocolate mint sun tea. All you do to make sun tea is fill a jar with fresh herbs, cover with water, put the lid on and set it in the sun for at least 6 hours, but that is another post!

Enjoy!

~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac

Food Under Foot

Birch Center for Health

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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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“Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup

Recipes
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vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

January is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps not coincidentally January is also National Soup Month!!!

So let’s see what wild edibles (dried or fresh from the tundra) we can scare up for some delicious soups this month.

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

Vegan “Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup

Cashews and potatoes give this vegan soup its thick creamy texture.

Ingredients

  • dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 12 oz fresh mushrooms, can be button mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots (optional because will give soup an orange color.)
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 6 cups water, plus more boiling water to reconstitute morels
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Pour boiling water over dried morels to reconstitute and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. While morels are soaking, saute 1/2 the onion, all the garlic, celery, half the fresh mushrooms and all the carrot in 1 Tbsp olive oil with salt in the bottom of soup pan.
  3. Once onion is translucent, add 6 cups water and potatoes, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let soup cool a bit.
  5. Put soup, morel soak water, cashews and nutritional yeast into blender and blend well.
  6. Saute soaked morels, the rest of the onions and mushrooms in olive oil with salt in a frying pan.
  7. Return blended soup to soup pot, adding sauteed onions and mushrooms.
  8. Reheat and adding pepper and more salt as necessary to taste.
  9. As you reheat soup may thicken due to the cashews, so add water and adjust seasoning if needed.

Other  wild ideas for this recipe:

  1. if you have dried maitake/hen-of-the-woods mushroom around, then leave out the button mushrooms and add a handful of dried maitake when you add the potatoes. These will get blended to make a rich mushroom-tasting broth.
  2. You can substitute dried maitake (reconstituting them the way you reconstituted morels), or use frozen mushrooms like maitake or chicken mushroom.

Enjoy!!

~ Melissa


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    Sunchoke Latkes

    Recipes
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    Sunchoke Latkes with Apple Sauce
    Sunchoke Latkes with Apple Sauce

    I have a new favorite wild food: Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), or Sunchokes!

    I know I say this every season, every time I get on a kick with a new wild edible. And I’m saying it again: I cannot get enough of Jerusalem Artichokes. I love their taste, I love their texture, I love them raw, I love how they cook up.

    Chanukah came (and went) early this year. Latkes (or potato pancakes) are the traditional food of the holiday, and we do have some latke recipes which incorporate wild foods on this website and in Winter Foraging Holiday Feasting, because chickweed and garlic mustard are great greens to find in the winter!

    Today I decided to make latkes without potatoes.  Though the ground was indeed frozen, we were able to break through and dig up some sunchoke tubers, a traditional native food which I used instead of potatoes.

    grated sunchoke tubers
    grated sunchoke tubers

    I grated the tubers and then grated 1/2 onion, mixed in some flour (my flour mix included black rice flour, which is why the potato pancakes came out darker than usual), an egg, salt and pepper. I sauteed the latkes in olive oil, celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights, which is why latkes are a Chanukah food!

    Latkes cooking up in olive oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle (of the oil lasting 8 nights)
    Latkes cooking up in olive oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle (of the oil lasting 8 nights)

    In my vitamix I whipped up some apple sauce (ingredient: apples) and there you have it: pure deliciousness.

    Sunchokes differ from potatoes in that sunchokes carbohydrate is mostly inulin, which is a blood-sugar stabilizing carbohydrate.

    So there you have it, latkes without potatoes, the way the Native Americans and pilgrims must have enjoyed their latkes on Chanukah (haha, not!)

    Ingredients

    • handful of sunchoke tubers, grated
    • 1/2 onion, grated
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 egg
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • olive oil for cooking

    Directions

    • Mix grated sunchokes, grated onions, egg, flour and salt and pepper. If using non-wheat flour like rice flour (like I did) allow a minute or two for the flour to absorb extra liquid
    • Add 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil to pan, to cover bottom. I do not deep fry my latkes.
    • Heat oil on medium until a drop of water sizzles on the surface.
    • drop pancake mix in 2 inch diameter thin circles
    • Allow to cook until bottom browns, about 6 - 8 minutes
    • Flip and cook on other side until browned, about 3 - 5 minutes
    • Remove to paper towels to absorb excess oil
    • Continue in batches, you may need to add more oil every couple batches.

    This only made 6 pancakes. If you have more tubers you can make more.

    sunchoke latkes with black rice flour

    Traditionally served with apple sauce and sour cream.

    Enjoy!

    Melissa

    3dbookcover2For more winter recipes, check out our newest book: Winter Foraging Wild Food Feasting, available now!

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    It Was Me, Not Them

    Recipes
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    Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Chanterelles.

    Those most gourmet of edible mushrooms. The bright yellow find in the woods, smelling deliciously of apricot. So good.

    So they say.

    I have never been a fan of chanterelles. But it turns out it was me, not them.

    I should have known 65 million French people couldn’t be wrong.

    It turns out I didn’t know how to prepare them. And this year - 2013 - ends up being the year of the chanterelle. At least in the woods of Western PA. A whole group of mushroom hunters couldn’t harvest enough to put a dent in what was out there.

    So I did a bit of internet research for chanterelle recipes, and I found this video. I left the butter out to keep the recipe vegan, and used fresh lemon thyme because that is what we have growing. It was the best.

    Sauteed chantereels with lemon thyme.

    Sauteed chanterelles with lemon thyme.

    Lemon Thyme and Garlic Chanterelles

    vegan, gluten-free

    adapted from this recipe on No Recipe Required

    • 2 cups Chanterelles, washed and cut into equal sized pieces
    • 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • sea salt, pepper
    • squeeze of lemon

    Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan, turn heat to medium high.

    Place chanterelles in pan in single layer. Add salt and let them cook until side on pan is browned, about 8 minutes.

    Flip chanterelles and cook another 4 or 5 minutes. If pan dries out add more oil.

    Add in thyme, then add in garlic, stir.

    Turn off heat and grind in pepper and squeeze on lemon, stir again.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    You can use this as a side dish or mix into risotto once the rice is cooked and taken off the heat. Very, very good.

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

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    Blueberry Bash at Black Moshannon State Park

    General Posts, Recipes
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    Wild Blueberries from the bog at Black Moshannon

    Wild Blueberries from the bog at Black Moshannon

    We found ourselves with an unexpectedly free weekend last week, so I checked the events page for Pennsylvania’s State parks and found that Black Moshannon was having a blueberry bash! It was described “meet at Boat Launch 3 to find some areas in the park to pick blueberries” and then later in the afternoon “discover different foods to make out of blueberries (at Environmental Learning Center.) Sounded great to us!

    Blueberry picking in the bog (ranger-led program)

    Blueberry picking in the bog (ranger-led program)Canning blueberry sauce

    The ranger led us along the bog trail, encouraging us to head into the bog to pick the blueberries. He told us where in the park to find more (along the bog) and set us on our way.

    Canning blueberry sauce

    Canning blueberry sauce

    Back at the environmental center we found three rangers (including the one who’d met us at the bog) with lots of samples of blueberry foods, including blueberry sauce for pancakes, blueberry almond crumble cake baked in the outdoor ovens, blueberry parfait, blueberry zucchini bread and blueberry ice cream pie.

    They also provided us with a booklet containing the recipes. Not the usual recipes you’ll find on Food Under Foot, but fun just the same.

    Blueberry Parfait

    Blueberry Parfait

    The recipe for Blueberry Parfait, as provided by the rangers of Black Moshannon state park:

    • 1 2/3 ounce package instant lemon pudding
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
    • 1 cup coarsly crushed gingersnap cookies
    • 2 cups fresh blueberries

    Prepare the pudding according to package directions using 1 1/2 cups whole milk. Fold in whipped cream.

    Spoon about a third of the pudding mixture equally into 6 serving glasses.

    Sprinkle lightly with half of the cookie crumbs, then half the blueberries.

    Repeat layers, ending with pudding on top.

    Blueberry almond crumble cake

    Blueberry almond crumb cake

    Recipe for Blueberry-Almond Crumb Cake, as provided by the rangers at Black Moshannon

    • 1 box Betty Crocker White or French Vanilla Cake Mix
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Flavoring (if using BC White Cake Mix)
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 4 Tbsp flour
    • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 Tbsp water
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup blueberries

    Topping:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
    • 6 Tbsp butter (softened)
    • 6 Tbsp flour

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 13″ x 9″ pan with baking spray and flour.

    In large bowl, combine cake mix, vanilla, sour cream, flour, oil, water and eggs. Mix well and spread in baking dish.

    Wash blueberries and place on top of cake mix.

    In bowl, mis topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over cake batter.

    Bake 33 - 38 minutes. Cool before cutting.

    Disclosure: I did not try any of the foods they had there. My daughter did and she threw a lot of it away because it was too sweet or too doughy (pancakes.) The fresh blueberries right off the bush (and then later from the container) were divine enough for me!!!

    Enjoy!

    ~ Melissa Sokulski,

    Food Under Foot

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    Vegan (and Soy-Free, Gluten-Free) Cream of Mushroom Soup with Morels and Dryads

    Recipes
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    vegan mushroom soup

    vegan mushroom soup

    Amazing, amazing vegan “cream” of mushroom soup…and the mushrooms are MORELS and DRYAD’S SADDLES! It doesn’t get better than this!

    yellow morels

    yellow morels

    Vegan Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

    vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

    In a pot with water, boil:

    • 3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 5 button mushrooms (optional)
    • salt
    • pepper
    • paprika

    Boil until POTATOES and CARROTS are tender. Remove from heat.

    Add CASHEWS and blend well. (We used our vitamix, but any blender should be fine.)

    In a pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped MORELS with salt.

    In another pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped DRYAD’S SADDLE with salt.

    Dryad's Saddle

    Dryad's Saddle

    (I sauteed in them in two separate pans because later in the season dryad’s can become bitter, and in case this had happened, I didn’t want to ruin the batch of morels!!! But they were just fine.)

    Return now creamy broth to pot and adjust seasonings: SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA  to taste.

    Add sauteed mushrooms and enjoy.

    PLEASE MAKE 100% CERTAIN OF IDENTITY OF ALL WILD MUSHROOMS USED!

    ~ Melissa

    Food Under Foot

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