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Friday, August 12, 2011

The Bountiful Garden

Growing up I can remember my parents hunting and foraging for different greens to cook and eat. As a kid, it was a given you would join in the hunting and picking.   You may think hunting is an odd word to use, but clearly when you are talking about sautéing field greens such as dandelions, wild leeks, cow slips, and burdocks you literally are foraging or hunting in the woods, fields and sometimes the backyard.  

However, today we are talking about greens from the garden.  It is that time of year when we can reap the benefits from not only our garden but also from our generous neighbors, co-workers, and friends.    Today a co-worker brought in several vegetables from their garden.  Included in the bounty was a bunch of beets with the tops still attached. While another co-worker opted for the actual beets, I asked if in fact if they were intending to use the greens.  Though there are many greens grown and sold at the market, beet greens have always been one of my favorites.   Once sautéed in a little garlic oil and butter they turn an eye catching deeper, darker green and offer a sweet yet hardy flavor.  If the stems are younger I generally leave them on or chop them into the pan along with the leaves, as they cook they make a soft pink colored sauce from the oil, butter and water from rinsing the leaves. Add a little salt and pepper and you have quite a yummy side-dish or meal.     

Here are some links to foraging and hunting down wild plants in your area:

The Library of Congress Science Reference Services: Edible Wild Plants
Soul Guidance: Health Tips: Wild Food
Celtnet Guide to Edible Wild Foods
Wild Food Adventures ™: Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants and Other Foragables
School of Self-Reliance's Wild Food Foraging Page - Information on some common North American wild foods.
Learn About Foraging with Naturalist "Wildman" Steve Brill

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