On the Wild Food Trail
Everyday Wild Log:
I’m motivated to take my connection to the land to the next level. We live off-the-grid with solar and a micro-hydro back-up system and grow a garden that we hope can provide much of our food throughout the year. Last year, I kept a log through July of integrating a wild, native plant into my daily life for food, health or household uses. This year, I’ve got the new edition of my book published and I’m ready to try to make it a full calendar year of using wild native plants every single day. Now sometimes they will be fresh, but much of the year they will need to be dried or frozen. In many cases, I’ll be taking a small step and it will be a minor ingredient that adds nutrients to our family’s goal of eating as much from our garden as possible, throughout the year. But over time, I hope I’ll be able to discover more ways to easily use the plants around me as a key part of my daily life, so that instead of a challenge, living close to the native landscape becomes something that my family can no longer remember.
New Year’s Eve/Dec. 31st, 2012: I’m ending and beginning the new year right with wild salmon, caught by my husband topped with fresh madrone berries
1: Nettle Tea from dried nettles gathered in the summer, Wild granola with manzanita sugar and oak nut flour for breakfast
2: Oak Nut marzipan for dessert (made earlier and frozen)
3: Set-up “Art of the Wild” show at Mowen Solinsky; Manzanita Cider
4: Toyon Tang: I made a new discovery! I took 2 cups dried Toyon berries and added to 7 cups of boiling water and then turned off the heat. I let them sit overnight, strained and added 1 teaspoon of local honey. It was absolutely delicious. After years of struggling to find really tasty Toyon recipes, I’m thrilled!
5 Wild Stir Fry: Madrone berries (stored in the refrigerator) with rice and garden veggies—winter squash, cabbage, onions; You can still can find fresh madrone berries on the ground, even after a hard frost!
6 Wild Lilac Wake-up Tea; 1 tsp dried and ground Ceanothus leaves to 1 cup water, steeped for 3 minutes (don’t oversteep or turns bitter)
7 Wild Granola with manzanita and oak nut flour for breakfast
8 Moss Art Project—Gathered fallen moss, lichen and turkey tails with my daughter and glued into picture frames to create hanging art.
9 Toyon Tang; Made Bay Cleaner in bulk
10 Delivered Manzanita Cider in bulk to Wild & Scenic Film Festival; Mowen Art Gallery and Haalo.
11 Manzanita Cider and Toyon Tang….I’m drinking throughout the day to stay hydrated with this dry winter air.
12 Toyon Tang; Gathered more Toyon berries to dry and make into tea. It is so amazing to have a source of fresh, winter antioxidants.
14 Wild Lilac Wake-up Tea: High in antioxidant catechins, with a similar taste and alertness effect as green tea, our locally abundant Ceanothus (also called Wild Lilac and Deer Brush) makes for a delicious way to start the day.
15 Oak Nut Flour: Cracked large amounts of Oak Nuts with Davebuilt Nutcracker; still hoping for a more efficient, larger-scale solution….
16 Yerba Santa Gum: Chewed on Yerba Santa while hiking; great for winter lung congestion and freshening the breath! Garden produce dinner with kale still hanging in there after the frost, garden onions/garlic and a big success of blanched and then frozen broccoli. It almost tasted better than fresh! Dessert was delicious with popcorn covered with wild pine pollen…the taste and appearance is similar to nutritional yeast but with even more nutrients.
17 I steeped more California Bay Cleaner with fresh CA Bay, Kit Kit Dizze, and dried Coyote Mint. I discovered a wood rat’s nest during a walk in the woods.