Welcome to week 2!
New this week: Morel mushrooms, Cattail shoots, curly dock and chickweed.
In this week’s share you will find:
- morel mushrooms
- cattail shoots
- Japanese knotweed shoots
- curly dock
- garlic mustard
As with all wild mushrooms, you must cook morels before eating. They can be sauteed, grilled, boiled in soup or sauces, or cooked just about any way you can imagine!
Morels are a prized mushroom: they can not be cultivated and are only found for a few weeks in the spring. They can be dried and eaten throughout the year (they reconstitute beautifully.) I love sauteing the morels in butter with onions, and eating them over rice or with eggs (or tofu.) I like to top (gluten free) toast and/or pizza with sauteed morels and onions. I have made quiche with morels. The more complex the dish the more you may lose the flavor of morels, especially if you are unfamiliar, so I recommend starting simply and getting to know the wonderful flavor of these mushrooms.
Chickweed is a wonderful green: fresh and delicious. I love to use it as the base for my salads, but it can be simply added to lettuce-based salads as well. Whatever kind of dressing you love will go wonderfully on chickweed. It also tastes divine as is…not bitter in the least.
Chickweed can also be cooked (similar to spinach) and can be added to soups or served alongside a main dish as a cooked green.
Chickweed can be found year round even up north, even in the snow. If you know where your patch is just check under snow in December and you’ll find it. In the hot summer months it keeps its fresh non-bitter taste. This is truly one of my favorite wild greens.
Curly Dock, or Yellow Dock
Similar to broad dock which you had last week, curly dock can be used topically as an antidote to nettle stings (crush and apply fresh leaves). Curly dock is also a tasty green itself. Slightly sour and a bit bitter, it can be eaten raw but it is more often used as a cooked green.
This green - along with other docks and sour wild greens such as sorrel and wood sorrel, and greens such as spinach, lambs quarters and amaranth (wild and cultivated) - have a bit more oxalic acid in them than others so they should not be eaten in excess by people prone to kidney stones (in the same way spinach should not be eaten in excess in that situation.)
In this field of cattails the main thing you can see are last years cattails, the heads covered with fluff (which can be used as excellent insulation in survival situations, as well as stuffing for pillows, etc.) But when you get up close and look down, you’ll see new shoots coming up. These shoots are referred to by some as “Cossack asparagus.” Peel back the tough green outer leaves until the white inside remains. This can eaten raw or steamed or sauteed.
steaming cattail shoots
I posted the recipe for Nettle Broccoli Quinoa Quiche, and I also made a delicious Cream of Nettle Potato Soup, based on CSF-er Michelle’s description of her “Cat Pee Soup.”
Cream of Nettle Potato Soup
- 2 potatoes, peeled, chopped (they don’t have to be peeled if organic, but my potatoes were sprouting, so…)
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Nettles, chopped
- 6 cups water or vegetable (or mushroom) stock
- olive oil
- dash of organic whole milk or cream (for vegan cream soup, simply remove and blend some potatoes and soup, this will give the soup a white creamy texture.)
- Saute onion and garlic with salt in oil until onion is translucent, 5 minutes.
- Add water or broth and chopped potatoes.
- Cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Add nettles, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook 10 minutes more until nettles are wilted.
- Turn off heat and add a dash of cream or milk. To keep soup vegan, remove about half of the potatoes and some stock and blend until creamy, return to soup.
I’m still loving deadnettles (purple archangel) in smoothies and as a steamed green. How have you been enjoying it? Another week of fun and creativity with purple archangel!
Ticks love me. It is not pleasant. Being out in the woods a lot I’ve found many crawling on me and have already had to pull a couple off. I am hoping that Japanese knotweed is as good for you and effective against Lyme disease as I hear it is. My favorite drink this spring is my Japanese knotweed, cucumber, apple juice. If you have a juicer I urge you to try it.
Raw, steamed or sauteed, this shoot is edible, tart and juicy. Add it to stir-fries or salads, made a sweet sauce with it or add it to baked goods. And send me your wonderful recipes and I’ll pass them along!
Did you make pesto last week? Maybe a vinegar? If you tried one then try the other this week! Or add it to salads (it is so good in salads). The leaves and flowers are edible and taste like garlic/mustard. And though they are not as durable cooked as other greens, they can still be cooked lightly and enjoyed. I added them to potato pancakes last week (with nettles) and it was a true treat.
Melissa making green smoothies at a workshop in Chalk Hill, PA
What did you do with your cleavers last week? I had mine in smoothies and I loved it! That’s why I’m including it again…I just can’t get enough of it in smoothies! It totally kicked out nettles for top green in smoothies (as much as I love nettles, I can’t take them in my smoothies lately…especially not after having the clean green taste of the cleavers.) Just add cleavers to your favorite fruit smoothie. Start with just a little, this green is hardly detectable (except for its color) and you’ll soon find yourself adding more and more. Here is a smoothie I’ve been making lately:
- 2 bananas
- 1 orange
- 1 cup frozen mango
- handful (or two) cleavers
- water (you can add juice or sweetener such as dates, agave or maple syrup as well, but I find it unnecessary, especially with ripe bananas.)
I’m not sure if your mint this week will be Creeping Charlie again, or peppermint, catnip or lemon balm! It depends where I forage tomorrow. But I love to include something herby and flavorful in the share. I will update this section as soon as I know.
Have fun and enjoy your wonderful, flavorful, nutritious and lovingly foraged food!!!