If you are willing to spend a little extra time, and do a little research, you can easily get half of your food for free. Today we were on a mission. Our mission was to gather a wild salad. We ended up coming home with a salad, a side, and and herbal tea.
The base for our salad was dandelion greens, field mustard greens, and garlic mustard.
The field mustard has the best, most mild flavor and the texture is similar to cabbage. My personal favorite part is the unopened flower pods. It is everywhere in Kentucky right now. We have seen entire fields completely full of it. The garlic mustard, on the other hand, is NOT my favorite. I have tried it several times raw and I just hate it. I thought I’d give it one last try; but in the future, I will not be adding it to my salad. If anyone knows any good recipes using garlic mustard let me know! It is so abundant and invasive, I want to learn to like it! Dandelion greens are bitter but I think they are quite good. Kind of an acquired taste
We topped the salad with wild violets, wild onion tops, and cattail shoots. The cattail shoots taste a lot like cucumbers, just be sure to forage them from a clean source. (They tend to grow in some seriously nasty places)
To pick cattail shoots, just grab the shoots at the base and pull slowly, the tender white shoots should pop right out. Wash thoroughly and peel off the outer later.
Here is the finished salad in all it’s glory:
A delicious, beautiful salad, 100% organic and 100% free!
We also gathered some curly dock for a side dish.
I just chopped and sautéed the leaves in butter with wild onions and some not-so-wild garlic, then stirred in some parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper before serving. It was delicious. As long as dock is available, I will never pay for greens. (and for the record, the salmon was also wild caught…by some commercial fisherman.)
We also found a patch of lemon balm. Lemon balm is very easy to identify because it has a very unique lemon smell. Robbie thinks it smells like lemon furniture polish. I, on the other hand, think it smells exactly like those chalky, old fashioned lemon hard candy sticks. (Does anyone know what I’m talking about??)
We brewed a tea of the fresh leaves. It is believed that lemon balm can relieve insomnia. I’m not sure if it’s the lemon balm or the long day of foraging, but I don’t think I’ll have any trouble sleeping tonight.