tisdag 28 maj 2013

Foraging Tour Workshop

On Sunday, I joined a foraging tour workshop organized by Disa, kitchen master of Kalmar nation. It was about learning practically what plants and which part of them are edible among those growing near our place and how we can cook them at the same time.  Under the blue sky and the shining sun, we, a group of 5 people, sought food  for the lunch.

These are the lists of plants we actually harvested. If you want to see pictures of them, visit an album on our facebook page or google them!

The leaves of the birch are edible before midsummer, and tastier the younger they are. They can be eaten in salad.

Both the seeds and leaves of the elm tree are edible. I recommend the elm seeds with their nutty flavor and pleasant texture for salads.

The leaves are edible when they are very young, but quickly become quite bitter. The flower petals however are very tasty. They can be eaten as they are in salad, added to jam (http://tidenpategelbacken.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/maskrosmarmelad/) or try deep frying the whole flower. The best part is that they grow everywhere.

This plant grows commonly in the shadow of hedges. It has a taste reminiscent of garlic and mustard and the leaves and flowers can be used in salads or as a spice in dressings.
Even though it stings when you touch it, nettle is one of the most appreciated wild edibles in Sweden. Young leaves are commonly eaten in soup, but they are good to cook and use as kale or spinach. Only the top leaves should be used for food, but when the nettle has flowered in midsummer the whole plant can be picked and dried, then powdered and used as a nourishing tea. They grow almost everywhere, often in ditches next to the road.

Vitplister looks very similar to the stinging nettle, though it does not sting and has big white flowers. It is also milder in taste than the nettle and can be eaten raw or added to the same dishes as the nettle. 

Vårlök/Wild chives
A wild version of chives can be found here and there, in ditches, and usually comes up a few weeks before other grass. It can be distinguished by its slightly bluish color and its thick stem. Use however you want. It's milder in taste than garden chives and goes well in salads but probably also in cooked dishes.
Kirskål is a very common weed in gardens. Hearsay says that monks used to grow it in their gardens as cabbage, but nowadays few people appreciate its gastronomic qualities. It has a peppery smell and taste and he leaves can be used as kale or spinach in cooked dishes, and very young leaves can be eaten raw. Aim for the smallest, shiny leaves since the older leaves don't taste very well. Don't pick this if you're not sure it's the right plant since it's related to some poisonous plants!
Våtarv is a ground covering plant which grows commonly in flower beds. It's very tasty raw and also cooked.

This plant is the best! It pops up everywhere the soil has been turned, for example in new flowerbeds. When left alone they grow quite big and can be found in great amounts if you're lucky. The taste is very mild and is excellent to use instead of spinach.

And we cooked these dishes:

Bishop's weed and nettle soup
2/3 nettles or vitplister or a mix of both
1/3 bishop's weed
some water
wild chives

Wash the plants well and put them in a cooking pot. Cover with hot water and let them cook for a few minutes until they are soft. Mix the soup with a handheld mixer until it's smooth and add salt and wild chives for taste.

We made a big salad with elm seeds, löktrav, birch leaves, dandelion petals, etc. No further instructions needed. Just mix the salad of your preference.

Carefully trim nettles, vitplister and bishop's weed, removing all stems and only keeping the leaves. Put them in a colander or a bowl and pour hot water over them. Press out the water and transfer them to a blender. Adding sunflower seeds (or walnuts or other seeds), garlic and olive oil, process the pesto until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper as you like.

To sum up, it was a wonderful workshop full of new discoveries and refreshing joys
in the splendid weather. What plants around you could be eaten? How can we cook
them? This knowledge used to be with us as basic food literacy in old days. However, we are almost losing this common sense.  Also, it seems stupid that in some countries or areas, we are not allowed to pick up growing food around us just because they are ‘public’ properties. Why don’t we take back those abilities and rights we human beings are supposed to have!

3 kommentarer:

  1. You can pick big nettels too. Just remove the stem after you have cooked them and use the rest.

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