In these early fall days, I like to gather the vibrant shimmering leaves of sheep sorrel. The rain and cooler weather makes them large and plump; perfect for adding to salad. This sour, slightly sweet, and refreshing plant is the diminutive relative of garden sorrel or French sorrel. All of them belong to the Rumex genus of the Polygonaceae family. Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), a weedy perennial found in many parts of the world, boasts a good amount of vitamin C with refrigerant (cooling) and astringent qualities. Look for it in fields, gardens, lawns, disturbed ground, forest edges..... it's common and prolific. Use in: wild green pesto, dip, wild green goddess dressing, soup (think shav or shtshav), beverage; topping for fish or meat loaf. For more information and to help identify the plant, see the plant map below from Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.
The making of a seriously decadent and tasty treat, featuring hazelnuts, or other wild nut of choice, and organic chocolate. Aniseeds lend a delicate flavor to the deep rich, fudge-like cookie — wild fennel seeds or green sweet cicely seeds can be used instead. This flour-less recipe can be made with delicious, luscious coconut oil rather than butter, if desired.
Thank you to The Village Tea Room for the recipe inspiration.
- 2 oz (4 tablespoons) grass-fed butter or virgin coconut oil
- 3/4 cup Sucanat or granular maple sugar
- 2 free range fertile eggs
- 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
- 8 oz bittersweet organic chocolate* chunks, dollops, or chips (to be melted)
- 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
- 7 oz bittersweet organic chocolate* chunks, dollops, or chips, chopped (not melted)
- 2 cups chopped* hazelnut (preferably soaked and dried) or other nut of choice — I have used coconut, walnuts, cashew, green pumpkin seeds, almonds, singly or combined. FYI, coconut is does not need soaking and drying.
- 2 tablespoons aniseed (or sweet cicely seed), freshly ground
*Chocolate note: I suggest using 65-70% chocolate so it's more chocolate and less sweet. On a more extreme taste note, for those of us, like myself, who are eating very low sweet / starch, I have been known to use an organic 100% chocolate chip that produces a more intense, somewhat bitter cookie (this extreme not recommended for the average palate).
*The nuts need to be chopped / crushed into moderate size particles, so not finely ground, but not too coarsely chopped either. If making with coconut, use the shredded unsweetened dried version, not the larger flakes. If still not clear, let me know.
- Gently melt the 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks and butter in a hot water bath. Stir well and cool the mixture to room temperature.
- Meanwhile beat eggs, Sucanat and vanilla in large bowl with a mixer until well incorporated and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chocolate-butter mixture to egg mixture and beat until well combined.
- In medium sized-bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients: cocoa powder, sea salt, 7 oz chopped chocolate chunks, chopped nuts, and aniseed. Add to the egg/chocolate mixture and mix well.
- Scoop cookie dough with a tablespoon onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.
- Remove cookies from baking sheet with a spatula and cool on wire racks.
- Once fully cooled, store in tightly lidded containers in a cool place.
Makes 26 cookies
The aromatic sweet seeds of Myrrhis odorata can be used in place of aniseed or fennel seed for flavoring beverages and dishes. Note the seeds are most flavorful when fully formed but still green; see image below. Now in early fall, the seeds of sweet cicely are dark brown and lack flavor. At this point the seeds are good for planting — sweet cicely seeds need to be planted soon after the plant produces them as older seeds won't germinate.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) of the Boraginaceae family offers many gifts, ranging from food and medicine for us humans (if we dare, please see cautionary note below); as fodder for animals; and as a soil enricher referred to in permaculture as a dynamic accumulator. Right now this perennial plant flourishes, lush, vibrant and green in the landscape, making it a perfect time to gather its nutrient dense leaves for food and medicine. Dry the leaves for a mineral rich, soothing tea or use to make a topical healing oil. The smaller, younger leaves can be eaten as a cooked vegetable aka potherb: tasty in soup, quiche, frittata, etc. Or feed the leaves to your compost pile; brew them into a green manure tea for feeding plants; or if you have goats, feed some to them— they will love it.
Click for more on pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
The time of year has arrived for harvesting nettle seeds (Urtica dioica). The seeds of this perennial are considered a super food with adaptogenic properties. This means they help the body handle stress... all kinds of stress, by supporting adrenal function. Dosage: 1/2–1 teaspoon of fresh or dried seeds sprinkled into salads, soups, stews, etc. The seeds taste mild with a crunchy texture and can be easily added to dishes. Amazingly, some herbalist are finding the seeds help heal damaged kidneys — wow! Here is to a wild, invasive, highly useful medicinal food. FYI, may be very stimulating/energizing to some folks, so best to eat earlier in the day. Enjoy! Image from our book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. Check this link for more info on nettle seed.
The following six pages devoted to stock-making — including vegetable stock (wild or cultivated) — are excerpts from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. Many folks ask for this information. I want to share it and make it publicly available. Enjoy!
Today's pawpaw: a visual essay with ice cream option.
Now is the time for harvesting and processing black walnut (Juglans nigra of the Juglandaceae family). The green hull will go into organic cold pressed olive for a therapeutic anti-fungal oil-come-salve and the musky-flavored nut meat will go into our mouths. Prized for its wood in furniture-making, this large, native Eastern North American tree can be found growing in USDA zones 4-9. Now is the time for gathering these fallen fruits. Free Food & Free Medicine!
Hello #Elderberry! Just spotted my first ripe elderberry aka Sambucus canadensis. The berries of this Eastern North American native shrub will continue to ripen into late September. Harvest them only when they are purple-black and fully ripe. These nutritious berries — high in iron and bioflavonoids — are an immune tonic. Turn these hardly sweet, slightly acid and mineral flavored berries into tasty elderberry syrup; delectable elderberry catsup; refreshing elderberry agua fresca; fermented elderberry kefir soda; alcoholic elderberry liqueur; or toss some into salad: both green salad and fruit salad. Cautionary note: All plant parts except fully ripe berries and flowers (earlier in the season) can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; occasionally even ripe, raw berries can cause nausea (although I've never had this experience after several years of consumption.)
More #WildBerry picking: #blackberries w/ a few #raspberries. Gathered about 3 gallons this morning. The blackberries are very tasty and super abundant this year! Turning most of the berries into coulis and then freezing the coulis to use throughout the year. Today's featured blackberry recipe here at the house will be ice cream made w/ fresh raw grassfed cream.
#WildBergamot blooming beautifully= food for the #Pollinators and for us. Right now it's time to indulge in those lovely, light lavender #EdibleFlowers full of spicy sweetness. Sprinkle them onto salads; blend them into softened butter; use them as a flavorful garnish throughout. This wild American native, aka #Mondarda fistulosa, is a perennial of the Lamiaceae family. Look for it in meadows, clearings, prairies, thickets and gardens. Harvest the flowering tops to brew into a strong flavorful tea with a spicy, pungent, oregano-like flavor; has cleansing and digestive promoting qualities.
#DayLily's beautiful blossoms can be eaten now! Raw or lightly cooked, they offer a mild flavor with a mucilaginous effect. I love to tear the flower into smaller pieces and add it to salad or to garnish w/ it. The the long flowers buds and wilted flowers can also be eaten lightly cooked. Originally from Asia, and now widely spread throughout the landscape, this perennial's Latin name is Hemerocallis fulva of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. BTW, occasionally may cause vomitting or diarrhea if eaten in large quantities by sensitive individuals.
#RED CLOVER (Trifolium pratense) graces the landscape — time to gather the blossoms for food and medicine = medicinal food. Break up the flower heads and sprinkle the individual blossoms into salads, onto cakes, and as a garnish to beautify any dish. Dry the blossoms for a health-promoting tea; often used for supporting skin and lung health. Flavor is mild with a sweet pea-like taste.
Looking forward to righteous #violet (Viola sororia) arriving back in the landscape. Eat the mild leaves & flowers raw; super high in #vitaminC — flower surprisingly more than leaf. Decorate dishes, even cakes with the blossoms. Toss leaves into soup at the end of the cooking process, blend into pesto with more pungent greens or in Wild Green Goddess Dressing. Violet's soothing, cooling qualities help with inflammation in the gut and respiratory systems, as well as topically on the skin. Some say that these wild, free, and abundant violets are #antineoplastic, read anticancer!!!