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Despite my earlier protestations, and with much appreciated assistance, I not only planted what turned out to be an overfilled garden, I har...

July 30, 2013

Eat your backyard

Backyard Foraged Salad
Foraging was a topic my elderly neighbor who was also a retired science teacher and botanist spoke about constantly. Friends thought my brother and I were crazy when we stopped mid game (football) to pick and eat a juicy looking patch of wood sorrel we spotted on the other side of the fence. I can't remember all of the lessons she taught but I remember her passion for eating local and not overlooking the simplest of plants.

It's because of her that I jumped at an opportunity to learn some foraging here in the city. I've participated in some monthly classes that have helped me and by proxy my family, become more of an adventurous eaters. Below is a picture of a salad foraged from our backyard. We paired it with our baked chicken [no pictured] and this meal was more than a hit! 

The greens included lambs quarters, Orach (purple mountain spinach), Plantain, Egyptian walking onions, Wood Sorrel, Flat leaf Parsley, Raspberries, and Purslane. All but one of the ingredients was found and not sown by me (ie.. parsley). I then squeezed and zested half a lemon over the top, mixed with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. It was a great family activity finding ways to eat these very local greens. When a pre-teen says this is "great mom!" I feel my heart swell three sizes like the Grinch.

If you are brave enough to eat your backyard greens please let me know what you are having. Maybe you're eating one or more of the same plants listed above in a different way? Since we will be having many of these greens as the summer progresses I will work on varying recipes to share. In other words we'll keep eating our backyard greens! I've heard that garlic mustard makes a great pesto ;)

NOTE: Please use a field guide, Phone App, and/or a Foraging Veteran to identify these wild edibles before consuming. Purslane sometimes grows near something called Vetch that I'm told is poisonous not pleasant to eat or pass through if you know what I mean...

Happy harvesting!