Foraging can be an intimidating thing to start. The perception seems to be that you can only go out gathering wild food if you are already an expert!
My teacher heart wants to tell you, though, that if you only try to do something once you feel like you know "it all," you'll never try anything. (Goodness, if we only started homesteading once we were at a Ma and Pa Ingalls-level of self-sufficiency, we might as never get started!)
Check out our latest video for some tips and encouragement to get out there in this lovely Spring and get some free, delicious, and nutrient-packed food!
One of the character-building parts of planting a garden is having to wait for harvest. I know last year, as I was putting my little basil seeds in the ground, that I was already dreaming of pesto and caprese salad...and that those dreams would need to wait a few months!
But just because the gardens are only sprouting doesn't mean there isn't already a bountiful harvest waiting! Watch our video to learn how to make a tasty and healthful pesto out of wild greens that you can forage from your backyard right now. It's super easy, and all you need is a knife, a bowl, and a sense of adventure.
While Andrew and I will do a lot to save a dollar, we aren’t willing to cut those same corners when it comes to much of our food, particularly animal-based products. Until we are finally respectfully raising animals on our own land, we’re committed to paying more for milk and meat that comes from creatures that were grass-fed, pastured, and treated the way they should have been.
So between my amusingly contradictory trips to the thrift store, I go to a fancy-pants organic supermarket to buy things like Piedmont-certified beef. And while strolling along with my list, I stumbled across something baffling. (see above photo)
Local, organically grown…dandelion greens. For $4 a bunch. What is amazing to me is that the same people who are paying to have lawn services give them a featureless swath of green, weed-free grass in their yard, may be buying these, cooking them in their custom-designed kitchens, and serving them with silver tongs.
And while these fantastic greens certainly deserve such a treatment, I want to let you in on a secret. I know another place where I can get local, hand-harvested, organically grown dandelion greens at a super bargain, (no silver tongs needed).
As I’ve pregnant these past months, eating dark, leafy greens has been taking an even bigger priority in my diet lately. Andrew and I scour the stores that we pass, looking for deals and decently priced produce. I rejoiced when I found Kale for 25 cents a bundle at one of our favorite markets, and wept silently at the organic Spinach that was priced at more than $8 a pound.
However, we have a secret. No matter how delicious that wallet-guzzling Spinach looks, it will never seduce us…we have pounds of local, organically-grown, fresh greens at our disposal at any time, and it’s all free. I don’t want you to think that it was our garden that has been able to fill our Spinach-need, either…our poor, drought-beleaguered ground was pathetically under-productive this year. Like, country-ballad, wrecked-my-truck-because-I-hit-my-dog-and-then-my-girlfriend-turned-out-to-be-a-cop-who-then-wrote-me-a-ticket sad. Nope, we were able to eat from our itty-bitty urban lot for many meals thanks to the provision of an under-appreciated weed that grows in our yard all on its own.
This entry is Andrew and my gastronomic love letter to Chenopodium album or, as it is sometimes called, Wild Spinach/ Lamb’s Quarters/ Goosefoot/ Pigweed/Fat Hen, etc. (I’m getting flashbacks of reading Lord of the Rings when I had to explain to my sister that Strider/Aragorn/Elessar/Estel/Dúnadan/Isildur’s Heir were all references to the same guy).
Read on to find out more about this amazingly versatile plant!
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead