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Ellen’s Savory Recipes

Pickled Black Walnuts…Don’t Waste Your Time!

When I lived in PA I was surrounded by black walnut trees. I love the ripe nuts in brownies, pies, and pesto, and the unripe walnuts make one of my favorite foraged beverages: nocino. But after multiple attempts at making pickled black walnuts (a British pub staple), I’m calling it quits. Here’s why you might want to do the same. (more…)

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Jerusalem Artichoke Fritters: Recipe

Is it a fritter? Is it a pancake? It doesn’t matter! The important thing is that the flavor is superb, and that’s what you’re here for, right? These Jerusalem artichoke fritters combine the silky texture of sunchokes with the unbeatable umami of mushroom powder to make an irresistible side dish. Bonus: it’s low on the glycemic index, and therefore a healthier carb choice for people with blood sugar issues. (more…)

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Wild Greens Pie aka Hortopita (it’s Greek, like me!)

If you’ve ever eaten in a Greek diner, you may have eaten spanikopita, a traditional spinach pie made with flakey phyllo dough. But unless you have a yia yia (Greek grandmother) you may not have tasted hortopita: wild greens pie. Wild edibles are part of everyday life in Greece, in fact, you’ll often find wild edibles for sale at village markets. Hortopita is classic, Greek peasant food: hearty, satisfying, and suitable as a side dish or a main course.  (more…)

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Lamb’s Quarters Stems: Recipe

I admit, I’m a little obsessed with lamb’s quarters these days. It’s hard not to be. They’re so abundant and tasty. It’s easy to harvest enough for 10 – 12 meals in less than an hour, then blanch and freeze the leaves to use as wild spinach all year long. After processing my last batch, I was ready to throw away the stems, when I remembered reading that the tender ends of the stems could be steamed or boiled like asparagus. Since I already had them in the kitchen, I figured I’d give it a try. Lamb’s quarters stems are a whole ‘nother vegetable! (more…)

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Savory Feral Pear Chutney Recipe

I’m a big chutney fan. I love the juxtaposition of sweet fruit and savory vinegar. I especially love chutneys in summer, because they’re the perfect accompaniment to cold meats and cheeses. Add a little chutney to yesterday’s roasted chicken or the last few slices of sharp cheddar, and you have yourself a picnic. This savory feral pear chutney isn’t a thick, syrupy condiment. The firm, barely sweet flesh of the feral pears is bathed in vinegar, foraged spices, and just a little brown sugar. It’s sharp and spicy and goes with just about everything. (more…)

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Burdock Flower Stalk Fritters: Recipe

I love cheese and cream as much as the next forager, but I don’t smother my foraged harvest in them. I’d rather showcase the unique flavor of each wild ingredient with the simplest possible preparation. Burdock flower stalks have a lovely flavor, often compared to that of artichokes or cardoons. This recipe for burdock flower stalk fritters is adapted from a recipe that uses artichokes. It really lets the flavor of the burdock shine.  (more…)

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Yucca Blossoms: a Savory Edible Flower

Depending on where you live, yuccas may be a wild plant in the landscape, a valued ornamental in the garden, or a traditional food. This is no ordinary plant. Most people think of yuccas as denizens of the desert, and they are indeed drought tolerant and tough as nails. But they’re also at home in containers and gardens in many different climates, and they’re lovely to look at all year round, with their stiff foliage and persistent architecture. If you’re lucky enough to find yucca blossoms, either in the garden or in the wild, it’s time to give them a taste. (more…)

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Mugwort Soup Recipe (Artemisia vulgaris)

The first time I saw mugwort in my garden I thought it was a chrysanthemum. I left it in place, expecting a riot of bloom in autumn, but alas, all I got was more mugwort. The foliage isn’t unattractive, and it smells terrific, but it’s a thug in the garden and not something you want to let run rampant among your perennials. It is, however, a tasty herb, so while you might not let it live in your garden, you should definitely make a place for it in your kitchen. (more…)

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Fiddlehead Farfalle Recipe

During that far-too-brief period of time when fiddlehead ferns are in season, I suggest you make the most of them. After all, you only have a couple of weeks, and then all that’s left are dreams, memories, and a longing for crunchy green crosiers that won’t be around for another 50 weeks. Fiddlehead farfalle is the perfect way to feature the fiddlehead! (more…)

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Japanese Knotweed Pickles: Recipe

Most people (and all gardeners) consider Japanese knotweed to be an aggressive, invasive weed, that crowds out many less vigorous plants. You might wonder what’s wrong with that, survival of the fittest and all, but the truth is that monocultures in nature can be unfortunate things, especially when wildlife depends on diversity in the landscape for food and shelter.

So, in an effort to save the world, one stem at a time, I give you my recipe for Japanese knotweed pickles. (more…)

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