Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Edible Wild Plants

When I was a young 'un, I remember Euell Gibbons, who was widely considered a whack job by most. However, I also remember a lot of my relatives hunting and gathering wild mushrooms and plants to supplement the all-too-meager food budget. So it's not like no one ate wild plants. They did. They just seemed to think that harvesting wild foods was done because you were poor, not because you wanted to do it. To me, it seemed a psychological barrier to acceptance, not because they didn't accept wild plants as nutritious and tasty. No one wanted to admit eating wild plants because no one wanted to admit they couldn't afford to buy food.

My friend, Paul Dowlearn of Wichita Valley Nursery, gave me a book to read: Edible Wild Plants, by John Kallas, PhD. This is intended to be one of a series of books on edible wild plants. Lots of great pictures. Detailed information on who to recognize, harvest and prepare about a dozen wild plants (this book focused on greens.) Lots of recipes. One I found fascinating was making meringue from mallow seeds or mallowmallows.

Anyway, certainly worth a look. With the price of produce, harvesting free produce could help the wallet and the diet--where known, Dr. Kallas gave nutritional information for these plants. Many kicked (metaphorical) butt over the nutritional powerhouses of spinach and broccoli.

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