Tag: wild

Location Announced! Wild History Wild Berry Ice Cream Social

Wild History Walk  – Wild Berry Ice Cream Social | Lake Raleigh, Raleigh, NC | June 26, 2-4 PM

wildhistory_june2016_locationannounced

Want to feel more connected to a little piece of your Raleigh landscape? Maybe you’ve been curious about foraging wild edibles in the past, but didn’t know how to get started? Or maybe you’re just a history buff, a foodie, or like taking walks through lovely natural settings! We’ve got the perfect Sunday afternoon activity for any or all of these reasons!  Reserve your spot today.  

Piedmont Picnic Project will host a Wild History Wild Berry Walk + Ice Cream Social on Sunday, June 26, 2-4 PM. We’ll learn more about edible wild plants growing along a stretch of Raleigh greenway, hear stories about Raleigh’s local history, and then slurp down some wild berry ice cream together!

Our walk location is on Lake Raleigh – a lovely natural setting full of interesting historical tidbits and wild delights!

Purchase your ticket here.  

Notes:
lake raleigh map+Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the walk to check in. The walk departs at 2 PM.
+Parking is available at the Lake Raleigh Fishing Pier at 2298 Main Campus Drive as well as along Main Campus Drive (see red star on map on left).
+Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for walking outdoors [insert weather-specific advice here].
+Your confirmation email serves as your ticket, but no need to bring it along – we’ll have a list of pre-sale ticket holders.
+Walks are rain or shine.
+Any persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
+All participants will be asked to sign a Raleigh Parks and Recreation liability waiver for the event.
+By purchasing your ticket, you also agree to the following: “By purchasing my ticket, I release Piedmont Picnic Project and its staff of any responsibility, liability, or claim arising from any injury of any nature incurred during or as a result of a Piedmont Picnic Project activity or event. I also agree to allow Piedmont Picnic Project to use photographs where I am pictured in their promotional materials.”

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Location Announced! Shoots & Flowers Wild History Walk

Wild History Walk  – Shoots & Flowers | Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh, NC | April 24, 2-4 PM

wildhistory_april2016

Piedmont Picnic Project will host a Wild History Foraging Walk + Wild Food Tasting on Sunday, April 24, 2-4 PM. We’ll forage edible wild plants together, learn more about the local history, and then taste dishes made from the same plants!  Reserve your spot here!

Our walk will take place at lovely Dorothea Dix Park!  It’s right in downtown, right along the greenway, and it’s got history and wild edibles galore.

We will review foraging guidelines and safety as well as instruction on plant uses and identification. Along the way, we’ll share history about the local area and this month’s theme: Shoots & Flowers.

For the light picnic you can expect wild teas, local bread, local cheese, homemade wild jams and jellies, wild greens, and a wild treat for dessert!

Reserve your spot here!

Notes:

+Park in the lot to the left of the Tate Dr. and Boylan Ave. intersection.
+Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the walk to check in. The walk departs at 2 PM.
+Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for walking outdoors. [weather-specific advice].
+All participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver for the event.
+Any persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
+Your confirmation email serves as your ticket, but no need to bring it along – we’ll have a list of pre-sale ticket holders.
+Walks are rain or shine, but in the event of storms, our make-up date for this walk is Sunday, May 1, 2-4 PM. Please check your email the morning of the walk for notice if there is a chance of storms.

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Wild History August Walking Tour + Picnic

Wild History August Walking Tour + Picnic | Raleigh City Farm | August 29, 9-11 AM

8.29.15WildHistoryGraphic

We’ll forage edible wild plants together from the area surrounding Raleigh City Farm and then taste dishes made from the same plants!  We will review foraging guidelines and safety as well as instruction on plant uses and identification. Along the way, we’ll share history about the local area and this month’s theme: Foraging Three Ways.  We’ll talk about three ways to forage in the urban environment: (1) finding edible wild plants in public spaces, (2) borrowing excess edible plants from your neighbors, or (3) planting wild foods at home.  For the light picnic you can expect wild drink teas, local bread, local cheese, homemade wild jams and jellies, wild greens, and a wild treat for dessert!

This month’s location – Raleigh City Farm – provides a great example of growing wild edibles in and amongst your other edible and decorative plants!  Stick around after the picnic to check out their farm stand if you want some more cultivated veggies (open till 12 PM).

Notes:

+Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for walking outdoors.  [weather-specific advice].

+All participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver for the event.

+Any persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

 

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Fresh Herbs in Winter: Wild and Homegrown Alternatives to the Supermarket

You may not think of winter as a time to write a post about fresh herbs, but that’s exactly why these beauties below fit into our Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity series.  Winter may seem like the hardest time to find fresh herbs, making us all resort to those horrible clam shell herb containers at the store where you pay five dollars for a bundle of herbs you know you could grow so easily in the summer or find a bundle four times that size for half the price at your local farmers’ market.

This may lead you to attempt growing herbs indoors, something I have had mixed success with, often resulting in scraggly, slow-growing plants.

Alternatively, you may notice that many of your perennial herbs, although slow growing, live on outdoors well beyond the first frost date.  The piles of mint, onion grass, bee balm, catmint, and lemon balm below were all picked in January, well after many frosts.

Winter Herb Harvest

Another option is to attempt a cold frame or low tunnel outdoors to keep a few small stashes of herbs growing through the winter.  Cilantro does particularly well in that environment, like my little almost-picked-to-death cilantro in my low tunnel below.

Low Tunnel Winter Cilantro

If none of these options sound appealing to you, don’t count out the wild herbs!  Below are two of the most common wild herbs you’ll find around – two that I’ll bet you’ve either eaten or at least crushed and smelled before – noting their aromatic properties but hesitating to cook with them.  Why hesitate?

Onion Grass (aka Wild Garlic)

When I first moved down here, I remember someone pointing out “onion grass” to me, and I thought, no no, that’s just chives that have gone rogue into someone’s yard.  I didn’t realize that chives had a more wild cousin that really likes to get around.  It’s an easy mistake to make, and a happy one!  Because it shows how interchangeable the two can be in cooking – why spend $4.99 on that clamshell of “fresh chives” when you probably have a patch of onion grass in your lawn you’ve been trying to eradicate for years?

Wild Garlic

Description and Habitat.  “Onion grass” grows in clumps of green chive-like tops with a bulb at its base made of several smaller “cloves,” much like garlic.  You can find it in just about any lawn or field or along any roadside.  The strong onion/garlic scent is a good indicator that you have the right plant.

Harvest.  To harvest, you can simply cut off whatever leaves you need.  Feel free to give it a full haircut; it will grow back.  Alternatively, if you want to harvest the bulb below, you can pull up the whole plant. Just be sure to leave a couple bulbs from the clump in the ground so you can come back to your spot in years to come.

Flavor and Use.  You can use the grass like you would chives, and the bulbs like you would garlic (although their small size makes this difficult).  The grass itself is much more garlicky than chives, so I like to use it to lend that flavor to some classically garlicky uses – like this pesto below and the seasoned salt at the end of the post.

Wild Greens & Nuts Pesto

Warning:  This pesto is addictive!  You will scoop it on everything, and if you take it to a party, it will not come back with you.  It may just be my favorite wild food recipe I have under my belt so far…

Wild Greens and Nuts Pesto

Recipe:

2-3 handfuls of wild garlic greens, roughly chopped

2-3 handfuls of wild cress greens

1-2 handfuls of wild nuts (hickory, pecan, and/or black walnut)

2 large pinches salt

olive oil

Combine wild garlic greens and wild cress in a food processor with wild nuts of your choosing.  Salt well.

Pulse until they are well mixed, and then begin to drizzle in olive oil while the food processor runs.  I like mine heavy on the olive oil until the mixture turns from looking like separate ingredients into a smooth creamy paste, as the oil emulsifies into a totally different texture (see picture above – there’s nothing dry or leafy about that pesto!).

Scoop into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some wild leaves, and/or nuts.

Note: if you don’t have a chance to forage wild herbs for this, arugula and garlic with sunflower seeds will make another delicious version.

Ground Ivy 

One of my uncles was visiting a few months ago, helping us out on some backyard constructions projects.  When those were in ship shape, he asked, now what are you going to do about all this ground ivy?  (Our entire back “lawn” is ground ivy).  To which I replied, eat it!  We love our ground ivy lawn…  it’s beautiful covered in purple flowers in spring, durable, and smells delightfully herby when you walk on it or mow it.

Even better yet, you can eat it, and it’s tasty!  It could have made it into our Wild Winter Teas post, as it’s a member of the mint family, high in vitamin C, and brews a good cup.  But I like it even better featured as an herb for cooking.  Historically, it was used for eating, as medicine, in the beer making process by Saxons before hops were introduced, and by various other peoples in cheese making as a substitute for rennet.  How versatile!

Ground_Ivy

Description and Habitat.  Ground ivy grows in trailing runners up to about four inches tall.  Leaves are roughly heart-shaped and scalloped (see picture above), stems are square shaped (due to its membership in the mint family), and it gets small purple flowers in spring.  Ground ivy gives off a distinctly herby, almost minty sent when crushed.  You’ll find it in your lawn, along greenways and roadsides, and in fields, particularly where it is somewhat cooler and shady.

Harvest.  You can pull up entire runners of ground ivy or snip off individual leaves.  I generally “harvest” when weeding it out of my vegetable beds.  Ground ivy is considered a non-native invasive species in the U.S., so harvest away!

Flavor and Uses.  Ground ivy has a scent/flavor somewhere between mint and a mild, greener rosemary.  You can put it in soups and salads, make tea out of it, or use it as a fresh or dried herb.  The flowers look particularly pretty in salads in spring.

Wild Seasoned Salt Rub

This recipe for wild seasoned salt has about a million and one uses.  Rub it on chicken, lamb, or beef before roasting.  Toss it with pasta and Parmesan for a great side; add white beans, and it’s a main course.  Dry it and bottle it for a unique wild holiday gift!  Another bonus:  this is one more way to use your citrus peels.  Zest peels before juicing (it’s very difficult to do after) and dry to be used later in seasoning rubs like this one or in desserts.

Wild Seasoned Salt

Recipe:

Zest of 2 lemons, grated

1 bunch of Ground Ivy leaves

1 bunch of Onion Grass

2 Tbsp Sea Salt

If using immediately, mince ground ivy and onion grass and combine with lemon zest and salt (pepper optional).

Wild Seasoned Salt Ingredients

If you’d like to dry and store this as a wild seasoned salt, dry grated lemon zest, whole ground ivy, and onion grass (in your oven or toaster oven on its lowest setting is one good way).

Crumble ground ivy and onion grass (or pulse in a coffee grinder), and combine with dried lemon zest and sea salt.

Store in an airtight container somewhere dark and cool.  Use as you would the fresh version.

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