Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Foraging for Wild Greens

Today my new friend Shine and I went for a walk on the wild side.  We went to find some wild greens to add to our smoothies. He said he was interested in going for a walk with me to learn more about foraging for wild things. I am so happy to share this passion of mine with people and extra excited when someone actually ASKS me! 
I may be too enthusiastic about wild greens... or weeds,to some people.

 I get all fired up about how great they are ! They are fantastic source of nutrition,  full of minerals and vitamins, non gmo, non- hybridized, and  they have MORE nutrition than any green leafy vegetable you can find in the market, even organic ones!  Wild greens are hearty plants, they grow anywhere and will withstand conditions that cultivated plants will wilt and even die , under.  Best of all.. ( if all those fantastic above mentioned items are not enough) they are FREE!!!  At this point, some people's eyes glaze over and don't want to hear anymore about the weeds  as very often they are trying to eradicate them  from their yards and have no knowledge of the immense value they have. Though once educated, many people love the free food they now have access to.

 The only investment you make is time and learning what plants are safe to eat.   
 There are great resources online here is one that has a great list.. but does not have pictures readily available with the list. They give terrific information about each one. If you look up wild edibles on a search engine you will find many sites. 

When I go to look for plants to eat in the wild, I take a book along with me, I find this far simpler than trying to bring a computer. Books are more portable, I can add my 'finds'( which is a leaf of the plant) in between pages so I know that I have found them once before. This has helped me tremendously . Sometimes I think I don't know what a plant is and then I look in my book and discover that I have picked some in the past. It helps jog my memory. 

My very first book on wild edibles was called  Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants by Bradford Angier. I took this book everywhere with me for years. I lost my copy a few years ago, and this summer found one secondhand ! When I opened the book and started to read through it, I remembered why it was such an important part of my learning. It has so much great information. Pictures, different names to the same plant, what to do with the plant and where to find them are all included in each individual plant section. 

When I moved to BC I bought a copy of Guide to Common Edible Plants of British Colombia from the Royal BC Museum downtown.  This has been  a wonderful resource here as it is specific for where I live now. It is now full of leaves and scribbles about the plants.  

Today we found some chickweed , dandelions, clover , stinging nettle, and as a bonus ( but not green) some Rose hips. 

Rosehips are very high in Vit. C.  You can make a tea out of them, or dry them and grind them up to a powder in a coffee grinder and use as a vit. c supplement. You can also put them in your smoothie. Rosehips are the seeds that are on the rosebush after the rosepetals fall off. They get more nutritious after a hard frost.  Only pick ones that have not been sprayed. 

Only pick greens that you know for certain have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. 

There is so much more about Wild Greens I can say, but I will keep posting about them in the future, as not to overwhelm you now. ( are your eyes glazing over yet??? )

So you may be asking now what am I going to do with all these greens that I found? 

Make a smoothie of course!!! 

Here is a recipe for a green smoothie . You can put any kind of greens in it you like. The fruit takes the 'greeny' flavour away that many people don't like. A good rule of thumb to start off with when you are just beginning to drink these powerhouses of nutrition.. is 60% fruit and 40 % greens. As you get used to it, and develop a love of all things green, you can add more greens to your smoothie. 

Wild Green Smoothie

2 cups  wild greens ( stinging nettle, clover, chickweed, plantain etc.)
1 banana (frozen makes it creamier) cut up 
2 apples cut up
2 cups water
ice if wanted colder

Put all the ingredients in a blender . Blend on high until smooth.

And to finish this post off.. one cannot talk about green smoothies with a mention to Victoria Boutenko and the Raw Family. They have made such contributions to the Raw Food Community. Check out Victoria's Book Green For Life. I refer to it all the time! 
I have learned so much from reading her books and going to her talks. 


Tera said...

What a great post, thank you! I also recently started my own Raw food blog as an inspirational expression! I will be visiting your site again :)

EJ Shames said...

Thanks Tera! I just saw yours too.. it is great! So wonderful to able to put thoughts and words ( and Pics! ) to share with others. I am so grateful that it is being received with the same love that goes into it!

derekja said...

Neat! Wild foods are the best. Some other resources you might enjoy:

Stalking the Wild Asparagus, Euell Gibbons - worth it just for the name! Not specific to this area, but still really good.

The Savory Wild Mushroom, Margaret McKenny. Good companion to a local mushroom guide. I only have about 3 or 4 species I know well enough to eat, but those sure are good!

Pacific Seaweeds, Louis Druehl. Amazing, amazing book! I live on a boat, so seaweeds are life. (well, at least in the summer. In the winter I moor in the inner harbour where I hesitate to swim, let alone eat!)