Organic Gardening

Spring Greens Medley!

Springtime means fresh Spring greens. And fresh Spring greens means FOOD!

I did make a smaller dish a few days earlier, but this is the first real, substantial, spring greens dish of the year, so I went all out and gathered a nice medley to mix and prepare for the family, and to share with you.

The following went into my Spring Greens medley.

(Click pictures to enlarge.)

Wintercress – Barbarea vulgaris, is a member of the Brassicaceae family.

Wintercress

Raw, they are a bit bitter and so-so. Cooked, they become absolutely mouthwatering. This was definitely the champion green of the dish. Everyone raved about it. It really does become a foundational green when boiled, but with a very delicate and delicious flavor.

Garlic Mustard – Alliaria petiolata, is also a member of the Brassicaceae family.

Garlic Mustard 2

Raw, they are a bit meh, in my opinion. Cooked they become less meh. Good, but not as good as Wintercress. πŸ˜‰ The stems can be stout and a bit stringy as they grow, so take only the first few top inches of the stem. Unless of course you don’t mind the stringy aspect. It all cooks down fairly well when boiled for a few minutes.

This is the amount of Wintercress and Garlic Mustard I collected to use for the meal I made. A lovely mess of greens, isn’t it?

Mess of Greens

Wild Garlic – Allium Canadense.

Wild Garlic

I like to use the greens from these more than the bulbs. The bulbs will grow new greens, and I rotate the area I collect from so as to be sure to never over-harvest. As such I’ve maintained (and expanded) my patch of wild garlic exponentially over the past few years. All the garlic taste you love, with none of the commercial product’s signature ‘garlic breath’.

Dandelion – Taraxacum Officinale

Dandelion

What wild spring greens dinner would be perfect without a little bit of dandelion? I gathered a whole decent sized plant from the tip of the root up, and it was enough to impart it’s goodness to the whole dish. Every part of the plant was used and later chopped up. Leaves, buds, crown, and a tiny bit of the root. Delicious!

Thistle – Cirsium spp.

Thistle

An ‘unknown’ but delicious thistle made it into my Spring Medley. I say unknown, although that’s really not the case. I’ve been eating it for over 30 years, and my father ate it for 50 years before that. I just don’t have the stupid Latin name for it pegged as of yet. More on that later.

So, the wifey and I took a nice little walk and collected these greens as we went. It’s mighty handy to carry a plastic grocery bag in your pocket, and a folding pocket knife. You never know when you are going to run into wild food that you want to bring home with you!

This is a picture of all the greens that went into the dish:

Greens Board 2

The greens (sans wild garlic) were boiled for a few minutes. I boiled them longer than I would have since they were a ‘mixed’ greens, and some were more bitter than others. Probably about 10 minutes, tops.

The garlic greens were chopped and sauteed first, and then the boiled greens were also chopped and sauteed in some olive oil, and given a dash of ancient sea salt and cracked black pepper. The meat was given identical seasoning in it’s own separate pan. The key here is to not overcook the meat, and to use a lid so that it comes out nice and tender.

I call this dish, ‘Brassica and Bambi’.

Brassica and Bambi

Delicious was not even the word for it. It has to be one of the top five meals that I’ve ever prepared, in any medium, wild food or otherwise. Mouth watering delicious. Almost better than sex, delicious. Yea, it was that good.

Total cost? About $1 worth of rice and 75 cents worth of salt, pepper, and olive oil. And that’s to feed three people. Otherwise, free. The bambi was donated by a friend specifically to give this dish a more ‘wild’ aspect. Thanks M! πŸ™‚

Thistles, Continued.

For those who are interested, regarding the prior unknown thistle, read on. Otherwise, the article ends here. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

When is it OK to eat an ‘unknown’ plant? When the only way that it’s unknown to you is that you don’t have it’s specifics tacked down, but in which there are no non-edible or toxic family members or toxic look-alikes. In other words, if the whole family of plants is ‘safe’, then it doesn’t really matter much, now does it?

I’m not ashamed to say I haven’t really cared enough to narrow this thistle down to a specific species. Mostly because I truly don’t care. Not even a little. It’s food. End of story. I have bull thistles in my yard (Cirsium vulgare.) This isn’t one of those. I originally thought that it could be a Cirsium edule, but those are supposed to be confined to the West Coast, and now that I’ve actually found pictures of what the leaves look like, they look nothing like Cirsium edule. Pictures of anything other than a bull thistle are very hard to come by. It could be what they call a ‘pasture thistle’, but the bottoms of the leaves aren’t silver, just kind of green and shiny. Oh well… It would be much easier to ID if it actually bloomed, but it’s kind of hard to tell when the idiot city comes along and mows them all to the ground before they have a chance to flower. (They tend to grow along the SIDES of the fields, not so much IN the fields proper, around where I live…) However, all true thistles are equally edible, and this is a true thistle. Beyond that, the specifics are strictly academic and don’t really interest me. That might be an odd statement for a forager to say, especially from one who is usually interested in the academic end of things, but it’s absolutely true.

Basically, I think we tend to over complicate things when it comes to foraging. As I’ve always said, the Indians didn’t differentiate between different edible plants of the same species unless there was a real need to do so. If it was edible, that was that. Maybe one was choice and one wasn’t, and they’d certainly have had a preference if that was the case. And they’d know if one was ‘toxic’ and to avoid that one.

But they would not have cared one whit to differentiate between thistles that were all equally edible, and in my experience, pretty much all taste quite similar.

So, who am I to do so? Unless something is going to damage me in some way, I don’t care about the useless nuances.

Let me give you a modern example:

Do you really give a rip about the differences between a Fiji, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Red or Golden Delicious apple at the store, other than perhaps the difference in taste? No, you don’t. You don’t give a rip about it’s Dead Latin hoity toity name. In fact, not one in a hundred thousand of you could tell me that apples are Malus and pears are Pyrus. You know it’s an apple, and all apples are edible, and that’s about as far as your caring goes.

Doesn’t sound so strange when you look at it from that point of view, now does it? πŸ˜‰

However, if anyone actually knows what this thistle is, I’m all ears. Or eyes, as it were.

(And I’m talking about actually KNOWS from hands on, REAL, personal knowledge and experience, not looking it up and best guessing using some friggin’ ‘key’ and saying… ‘Gee, I THINK it kind of looks like this one…)

So, if you’ve been eating this thistle, and know for sure what it is, send me a line. I suppose that finally knowing the official name for this thing would probably be better than calling it ‘unknown thistle’, as I tend to use it quite a bit, and it does grow quite prolifically around here.

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Nature Photos, Organic, Organic Gardening, Organic Meat, Plant Photos, Preparedness, Recipes, Survival, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Janos’ Plant Profiles, Part I: Spiny Sow Thistle

The full profiles will be posted to, and updated, on the Wild Cookery Forum. I have planned to do these for at least the past year, but have never quite gotten around to it. So without further ado…

Janos’ Plant Profiles, Part I: Spiny Sow Thistle

Common Plant name: Spiny Sow Thistle

Hoity Toity (Dead Latin) Name: Sonchus asper

Classification: Choice Edible Plant

Identification: This plant, a member of the Asteracea Family, has spiny, serrated leaves that curl along and around the stem of the plant. When in bloom it has yellow flowers which look dandelion-like superficially. It’s quite spiny, and prickly to the touch, and you may mistake it for an actual thistle if you aren’t familiar with the two plants. But it’s spines are softer and nowhere near as rigid as a real thistle. The spines are also part of the leaves, and not separate from it and detachable such as with an actual thistle. You can eat the smaller leaves raw without any problems. The older ones however, may be prickly enough that they need to be trimmed or cooked before consumption.

Juvenile Plant Photos

Here are some little guys:

Sonchus asper - Young Juvenile

Sonchus asper – Young Juvenile

Sonchus asper - Juvenile

Sonchus asper – Juvenile

Sonchus asper Juvenile comparison

Sonchus asper Juvenile comparison

Sonchus asper - Juvenile plant in nature

Sonchus asper – Juvenile plant in nature

Flowering Plant Photos

(Pictures to be added when in season)

Plant in Seed Photos

(Pictures to be added when in season)

Uses: You nom it of course! The leaves, buds, flowers, new shoots, and upper part of stem are all edible. Young and tender here is much better than old, tough, and rank. Especially on latex exuding plants. The leaves can be eaten at any time equally well, though younger is typically more tender and less bitter. I like to get the flower buds before they open and use the top section of the plant as kind of a ‘sonchusparagus’ I’ve also cooked and eaten small roots before along with the greens, but can’t officially recommend that as I haven’t been able to find any reference material on it’s use.

Nutrition: Sonchus asper are quite rich in Fiber, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese. Equal to, or more so than most common domesticated vegetables.*

Preparation: Typically I’ll boil these, no matter what part it is, for 15 minutes or so, drain, and then use like any other foundational green. In fact one of the spring delicacies my family looks forward to every year is fresh spiny sow thistle greens mixed with wild garlic greens and mushrooms over rice. It’s a seasonal spring treat that everyone raves about.

Preparation Photos

Sonchus asper and Dandelion leaves

Sonchus asper and Dandelion leaves

Wild Greens Noodle Medley - Two kinds of sonchus, dandelions, wild garlic, chicory, plantain, thistle, dock, and sprinkled with ox-eye daisy petals

Wild Greens Noodle Medley – Two kinds of sonchus, dandelions, wild garlic, chicory, plantain, thistle, dock, and sprinkled with ox-eye daisy petals

Cautions:

There are some unreliable sources that classify this plant as a ‘Noxious Weed’. That’s fair enough, as I classify those sources as pretty darn noxious myself.

I’m sure it’s possible to get a rash from this plant. Maybe even a severe one if you’re that one in a million who has such an allergic reaction. But let’s interject some reality here. Will it likely happen to you? Probably not. You’ll probably be struck dead with a micrometeorite first, or hit by lightning. I collect these barehanded, and even eat them raw from time to time. Guess what? Nothing happens. If someone has issues, they are probably also allergic to other ‘milky’ latex exuding plants, such as dandelions and wild lettuce. I highly doubt most are allergic to this plant in particular.

But that doesn’t mean that one in a zillion people won’t be affected by something like this, so use caution.

There’s the token safety disclaimer. Use caution when picking if you are allergic to other latex exuding plants. Some people are allergic to peanuts too. For the rest of us, it’s a fantastic nutrient dense wild food.

The vast majority of all people will find this plant to be delicious and nutritious.

References:

* Dr. John Kallas, PhD, β€œEdible Wild Plants” – Pps 358 – 359.

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Green, Janos' Plant Profiles, Nature, Nature Photos, Organic, Organic Gardening, Reclaimed Edibles, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tulsa, the City of Government Ninnies

http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/gardener-sues-city-tulsa-cutting-down-her-edible-garden.html

Another article, this time from treehugger.com in regards to Denise vs the City of Tulsa, OK.

These governmental types still haven’t figured out how all of this backfires on them time, and time, and time again.

As much as I hate to say it, all of this may have been a good thing. Thousands of people worldwide are now tuned into this, and Denise will be meeting wonderful people WORLDWIDE who support her in her endeavors. Thanks big government! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜›

Categories: Civil Disobedience, Food Health, Organic, Organic Gardening, Social Unrest, US News | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Petty Tyrants in MO try to obliterate yet another fully lawful front yard garden.

http://www.naturalnews.com/036218_home_gardens_food_freedom_zoning_laws.html

(NaturalNews) The city of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, is trying to intimidate local resident Karl Tricamo into removing his organic, front-yard produce garden for what it says are numerous violations of local zoning laws. However, Ferguson’s zoning laws do not, in fact, prohibit the type of garden Tricamo cultivates in any way, which means the city is illegally harassing him without reason or justification.

Read the full story above.

-My commentary-

This will continue until people stand up to this crap. The city is using outright lies and deception to mess with people who have done nothing wrong.

Does anyone stop to wonder WHY they are messing with people’s gardens of all things?

It boils down to people being selectively targeted who are self sufficient, and made an ‘example’ of.

When confronted, a city worker will often cite that they are ‘just doing their job’. Well, you know what, that BS excuse didn’t work at the Nuremburg trials, and it doesn’t work here. Just following orders or just doing your job doesn’t cut it. And often they aren’t ‘just doing their job’. They get off on the power they have to destroy innocent people’s lives, and it is time we reclaimed our power to say no to these morons who are trying to destroy our health, wealth, and livelihoods!

I’d also like to note that in this day and age EVERYONE needs to have a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary and know the difference between the terms ‘legal’ and ‘lawful’.Β  It is that little difference that makes all the difference when dealing with things like this. An ‘Act’ (also called a ‘Statute’) or an ‘Ordinance’ is NOT law. Failure to distinguish between Statute and Law on the part of government employees is coequal to fraud, and they need to be held accountable on this.

Categories: Civil Disobedience, Food Health, Organic, Organic Gardening, Social Unrest, US News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

To Denise Morrison of Tulsa, Oklahoma

To Denise Morrison,

Stand firm, you are doing the right thing, and many people recognize your struggle as their own, or something which may yet happen to them. Or which may have already happened to them.

I’ve dealt with similar situations for years now. Not with the city, but with my neighbors themselves. They all know what we grow and eat wild plants as the mainstay of our diet, and not a week goes by when one of them doesn’t comment something along the lines of β€œWhy are you picking those darn weeds?”

This year alone, my overly ‘helpful’ neighbors have trespassed onto my property, both front and BACK yards, and have razed my food to the ground with their commercial mowers.

Both of the individuals who did this are older, retired fellows who THINK they are ‘helping’ us by cutting down the ‘weeds’. The problem is they can’t tell their dandelion from their daucus carota.

I’ve spoken with the neighbors about leaving our property alone, and it does no good.

People get it in their head that they can trespass and do whatever they want to make your property conform to THEIR own notions of how it should be. And be it some abusive fool employed by the government, or some overzealous neighbor, (and sometimes they are one in the same…), the end result is the same. Destruction of your natural food supply.

People need to fight this tooth and nail at every level, as the intrusion is only getting worse.

And for that fellow that keeps ignorantly citing ‘legal’ ability of the city government, may I kindly suggest they inform themselves of the difference between what the words ‘legal’ and ‘lawful’ mean. Blacks Law Dictionary is a good source for this. An ‘ordinance’ isn’t law, and the very foundation of this nation can be summed up in two words: PROPERTY RIGHTS.

All the best!

~Janos, at Wild Cookery! Visit the Wild Cookery blog at:Β  https://wildcookery.wordpress.com

Categories: Civil Disobedience, Food Health, Organic, Organic Gardening, Preparedness, Social Unrest, US News | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Woman Sues Idiots Who Cut Down Her Edible Garden!

 

Full story: http://www.newson6.com/story/18802728/woman-sues-city-of-tulsa-for-cutting-down-her-edible-garden

Short story: http://www.infowars.com/woman-sues-city-of-tulsa-for-cutting-down-her-edible-garden/

Heck yeah! This is exactly what we need to see. More people using the corrupt and invasive system against itself.

This is a particular hot button for me as I’ve had my food cut down TWICE this year by ‘helpful’ neighbors.

It got to the point where I finally took an axe and dropped a dead pine tree across my main wild greens area in my back yard to keep these overly helpful neighbors from screwing with my dandelions, dock, plantain, thistle, sonchus, lactuca, black raspberries, and other plants that grow there.

Below is a pic I took today and what I did to keep the ‘helpful’ neighbors at bay. Try running your commercial mower over THAT, sparky! πŸ˜›

Categories: Civil Disobedience, Food Health, Organic, Organic Gardening, Social Unrest, US News, Wild | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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