WILD about Foraging for Food

Every summer solstice the Wild Caraway Restaurant hosts a fabulous wild edibles dinner which is so superlatively divine it’d blow your socks off. The 8th Annual Foraging Dinner held this past June 21st was no exception. Owned by the authentic … Continue reading

Springtime Foraging

As a transplanted Manitoban experiencing her first Nova Scotia spring, I’ve been having an easy time keeping my spirits up through all this rain and fog.  Don’t get me wrong – when the sun makes its very short appearances, I get delirious like everyone else  – and I still am somewhat worried that the slugs will overtake my garden before I even get a chance to put my tomato plants in the ground. 

However, I’m having a lot of fun exploring the unique springtime foods of wild Nova Scotia.  On my first day on the job last week, I was sent home with a big bag of freshly foraged fiddleheads from Ray Plourde, our wilderness co-ordinator.  (This is what you do for ALL new summer student employees,  right?)  These were a real treat, but the real fun was when I started foraging in my own yard for edibles. 

I had just noticed these spiky plants growing in my yard a week or two ago and then learned on this blog that it was Japanese Knotweed, a highly invasive and (highly delicious) plant that tends to be quite destructive if left unchecked.  Clearly, I had two important motivations to get out in the rain and pick this stuff!

The larger the stalk, the easier it is to peel – and you do need to peel this stuff if you don’t want to be chewing on woody pulp.  I ended up boiling the smaller, unpeeled stalks for a few minutes, draining off the resulting juice and adding honey for a refreshing lemonade-type tea. 

This past weekend, I told my mother-in-law about this concoction and she was horrified that I would consume this stuff.  She wasn’t quite convinced that it tasted just like rhubarb – so I served her a surprise dessert for lunch – warm stewed knotweed with brown sugar and cinnamon garnished with a large dollop of vanilla foxhill yogurt.  She had to admit it was tasty!

I’ve also been spending a lot of time picking dandelions in my yard and garden.  It’s still entertaining and novel to me that I can (occasionally) get the entire plant out by the root.  This NEVER happened in the clay soils of Winnipeg!

Last weekend after a long rainy morning hunched over picking weeds, I got inspired to turn a few of the thousands of these dandelions in my yard into lunch.  Sauteed in a bit of bacon fat, they were a very yummy garnish to my bratwurst and smoked gouda sandwich.  A delicious way to eat the fruit of my back-breaking labour!

Yours in food,

Alison