July: Summer Wild Meals
3 Manzanita: I’m finally back and able to make a batch of delicious cider.
4 Wild Mint: Gathered from the creek, this mint is much stronger than the cultivated species.
5 Venison and Watercress: Eating out can even include wild foods. We had my brother visiting and took him out to New Moon rest
6 Wild Salmon: We enjoyed wild salmon, caught by the Yurok tribe and prepared in the traditional way on Redwood skewers, by Thomas Dunklin for my friend Annette’s birthday celebration.
7 Yerba Santa: Somehow my daughter ended up sick with her main symptom being nose congestion after we returned from New York. After a few cups of Yerba Santa, she seems to be doing better.
8 Manzanita Granola: I made a fresh batch this morning. I’m almost out of my manzanita gathered last year so I’m glad to see the berries on the bushes starting to turn red.
9 Manzanita Blossom Vermouth: I started infusing the Vermouth by mixing about 2 cups of blossoms into a bottle of vermouth. It should be ready in about a week.
10 Wild Salmon: Caught by my husband during his annual trip to Alaska, we freeze it and enjoy it throughout the year. Our hope is to bring the salmon back here to the Yuba, their ancestral homeland.
11 Blackberries: They are starting to really turn which has seemed early, like everything else this summer. The heat has sped up the ripening process. These are the non-native, invasive variety, so maybe the solution is to eat up as many as we can.
12 CA Bay: I made another large batch of Bay Cleaner for the house as well as Bug Spray. It is so strong I hope I can still smell after 20 years of making it.
13 Manzanita Blossom Jam: I made this in preparation for the wild food meal on the 16th from frozen Manzanita Blossoms.
14 Cattail Pollen: I went with my kids, as well as the Berry family out to search for any last cattail pollen. We got a little, but most of it was already gone. The technique is simply to cover the pollen head (before it turns brown), and shake it into a bag or jar. Pour it through a strainer to remove any debris and store in the freezer. It is wonderful as a nutrient-dense garnish on soups and salads.
15 Manzanita Vinaigrette: Pre-made the salad dressing for the event.
16 Non-GMO Project, Wild Food Meal: We started with a tasting of Wild Beverages: Manzanita Cider, Elderberry & Manzanita Berry Probiotic Soda, Elderflower Champagne and enjoyed crackers with goat cheese drizzled with Manzanita blossom jam. Our salad was Watercress with Pine Nuts, Cattail Hearts and Cattail Pollen. We enjoyed California Wild Rice with Wild Mushrooms & Flax Seeds and Wild Salmon with Sierra Mint Sauce or Tempeh Roasted in Elderberry Sauce. We ended the meal with California Bay Ice Cream, Douglas Fir Tip Sorbet (from Treats, Nevada City), Oak Nut Marzipan and sips of Manzanita Blossom Vermouth. What a night!
17 Pine Nut Cracking with Kids: I’m still making my way through the pine nuts we gathered last fall. Here is a fun activity to do with kids. First, throw the pine cones to the ground, causing nuts to scatter in all directions. Second, gather the nuts. Third, crack with a rock and then enjoy. Almost all of our pine nuts come from China and yet we have them literally falling into our backyards.
18 Manzanita Cider: I can’t get enough of this on a hot day.
19 Lemon & Wild Mint Sauce: Here is the recipe for the delicious sauce I made for the salmon. I’ll add it to the next edition of LW.
LEMON & WILD MINT SAUCE
1 cup pine nuts (gathered or purchased)
1 cup of Sierra mint or other wild mint
1 garlic clove
¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
Blend pine nuts, mint, garlic, lemon juice and oil in a food processor. Add salt if desired.
20 Pearly Everlasting: This is looking like the last window to gather this beautiful flower. It usually blooms into August but is already looking very dry.
21 Watercress Salad: Eating this green daily now from Cress I’ve grown in our garden.
22 Elderberry Manzanita Soda with Ginger Starter: I made more of this delicious recipe.
23 Oak Nut Flour, Manzanita: I ground what I had leached into a flour and prepared the Manzanita sugar for use in the October wild food event in Marin.
24 Mugwort, Wild Blackberries, Elderberry Soda: I gathered Mugwort for my bug repellant. I also like to bundle it and burn it like sage. It was growing in the blackberry patch, preferring the seasonally moist habitat.
25 Wild River Mint: While down at the river, I gathered another bunch of the native mint. I’m hoping to find enough to dry and use throughout the year for digestive discomfort.
26 Purslane: This garden weed keeps popping up and instead of throwing it in the compost, it is going into our salad as a mineral-rich source of nutrients. I love its lemon-like flavor.
27 Yuba Watershed Institute Event: I co-taught a class with Daniel Nicholson and Matt Berry (field identification of plants & uses), Rachel Berry (medicine making) and myself focused on food, to raise funds for the Yuba Watershed. We started with a hike on a beautiful 3,000’ elevation meadow, which will be part of traditional ecology projects this fall to help restore more native plants for food back to the landscape. We enjoyed sips of Ceanothus & Doug Fir Tip Tea (tastes like green tea w/similar compounds), Elderberry Soda, Manzanita Cider and finished off the day with Oak Nut Marzipan. I called the marzipan their “gateway drug” I was pushing to get them interested in the wild food world.
28 Wild Leftovers: The family is fighting over the last bites of California Bay ice cream for dessert today, leftover from the non-gmo project and prepared by Treats, Nevada City from our recipe in the LW book. I’ve got the Oak Nut Marzipan safely tucked away in the back of the freezer because it will be eaten up right away once discovered!
29 CA Bay: This aromatic savior of the house, from bugs and dirt,
30 Mugwort: Last call for gathering mugwort.
31 Blackfruit Dogwood Fruits: My favorite kalmata olive…eat raw, or preserve in a jar with water and salt.