Monday, July 3, 2017

Fox News Foraging Clip

I recently did an interview with Fox News host Angelica Duria. It was a fun interactive clip featuring wild edibles that we found and cooked up at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee. She had her producer Susan along to film us identifying and harvesting dandelion, nettle, and garlic mustard. We then cooked up the garlic mustard with some eggs and then boiled up some dandelion root coffee. Angelica really engaged in the experience and did a fantastic job editing the clip with some great special effects. This is a great way to just get a "taste" for how much fun foraging can be!!!

Check out the clip HERE!

There is also an awesome UDMEY course on wild edibles here that will take you through seven wild edibles from identification to preparing for maximum flavor and nutrition!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

On-line Wild Edible Course on Udemy

Wild Edible Udemy Course

This spring was a busy time time putting together my first on-line course on wild edibles. The process  got me out in the early morning foraging for setting up the location for the shoot, planning on a wild edible meal and creating a script. Foraging for nutrition is something that has become an absolute passion of mine and I have been teaching courses for over five years now trying to spread the word about the amazing source of food and nutrition that is available to foragers. Variety in your diet is actually the key to great health and strong immunity. Plants are packed full of phytonutrients which are the key to your bodies ability to fight off disease so the more variety of plants in your diet, the stronger your body's ability to fight disease! So for me foraging started out more of a hobby but the more I learned about wild food nutrition, the more I realized that it was going to become a daily part of my life. The Udemy course starts out with the most nutritious food ever analyzed....garlic mustard! This is an easily identifiable plant, has great flavor and is easy to incorporate into so many different recipes. This is an invasive species found throughout north america so harvesting it in large quantities will never be a problem. To check out this course, go to

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Common Evening Primrose 

Its April in Wisconsin, prime spring foraging time! I came across at least a half dozen plants that were ready to harvest and they were the mainstays of my evening dinner. One of the most beautiful plants and easy to spot is Common Evening Primrose. The basal rosette with a white stripe up the middle is the first step in identification. If you dig up the root (the edible part) you will see that it is a tap root with a faint spicy scent reminiscent of a radish. There will be a pinkish part at the top of the root as it goes into the plant. 

Collect a bunch of roots and bring back home again.  You can eat the roots raw but I like to eat them boiled and mashed and add a bit of coconut oil added for added flavor. You can mix in some small potatoes to create a better consistency as the primrose doesn't have as much starch and they don't mash as well as a potato. 

This plant is found around grassy, wastelands, alongside roads or bike trails, meadows and on beaches. It is a full sun type of plant. Its a biennial plant so the above photo represents a first year growth or early second year growth. The second year it grows a tall stalk. 

This plant is great medicine and food. It contains protein, carbs, beta carotene, calcium, potassium and vitamin B3. Native americans made a poultice of this plant to help with bruises and the cherokee used the root in a tea to loose weight. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Winter Survival Food

It’s January and the temperatures have dipped considerably and all the green edibles, roots and nuts that you have learned about are gone or too much work to harvest. No problem! Odds are that you are not far from an outstanding food source that early settlers relied on when food became too scarce. That food source is the mighty pine tree! Maybe you’ve heard that the pine needles are edible (which is somewhat true….more on that later) but the source of food I’m talking about is the cambium layer. In between the outer bark and the inner bark is this wonderfully nutritious area that is white and can be peeled away from the hard, yellow inner bark in strips and eaten immediately, cooked over a fire (a little oil and salt makes it actually a descent snack), laid out to dry to eat later or pounded into a flour. Now that you are super excited to try it out and go eat a tree, let’s talk about identifying the pine tree first. In Wisconsin where I am, I have only tried the White Pine and the Red Pine. The White Pine is by far more palatable. Both Pines have needles in bundles prior to being attached to the tree limb. The White Pine has 5 needles per bundle (the same number of letters in the word white!) and the Red Pine has two much longer needles in a bundle and the bark is easily identified as “reddish”.
A word on being a good environmental stewardship…..only a small section of the tree needs to be harvested. Do not girdle the tree to harvest your bark. In other words, don’t cut a section that goes all the way around the tree. A square or rectangle area perhaps 10 inches by 6 inches is all you would really need.

Now back to that pine needle edibility. You can (and should) eat the pine bark but the same is not true of the needles. We are just not meant to eat the needles themselves but rather pull the nutritious part of the needle from it through a tea or saliva. The vitamin C that is packed into the needles is water soluble. That means if you put it in water, the vitamin will be transferred to the water. If you heat up the water, the transfer happens more rapidly. The same is true with saliva. If you chew on the needles, you will extract the vitamin C. But spit out the needle afterwards! That part is just too fibrous for our bodies to assimilate.