Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 2010 Baltimore Foodmakers Foraging Potluck

April 2010 Baltimore Foodmakers potluck at Jerusalem Mill in Gunpowder Falls.

The topic for this month's potluck was Edible Foraging. Michelle Gienow was our guide, and she brought along a few people from the Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills group to share their expertise as well.

We had the potluck before embarking on our two hour walk. And it was a lovely potluck as always! I brought homemade sourdough and nettle tea (thanks to Michelle for showing me where to find the nettles last year!)

Pictured here: Elaine's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Michelle's roasted asparagus and hard cider, Brian's savory Steel-Cut Oats with Onion

The kids always have fun (and adults can play too!)

Jerusalem Mills re-enactor

We started finding edible plants even before we got into the woods. There were way too many plants to list here. We found tree buds you can eat, vine shoots, root bulbs, early leaves, seeds, and more. In the interest of keeping this short, I'll just list a few highlights.

Did you know you can eat the green seeds inside these maple seed pods?

Boiled in salted water like edamame, these would be quite nice. And they are abundant as well.

The roots of these plants seriously smelled and tasted exactly like ginger.

And the #1 highlight of all:

This lion's mane mushroom that Hue, one of the primitive skills experts, found in this tree hollow. The holes are from hungry Baltimore Foodmakers taking bits of the mushroom to eat. I was worried about taking it, but Michelle told me that once a mushroom appears, it will just rot away unless we picked it.

The mushroom was very sweet and mild tasting. I don't eat a lot of seafood, but the other foodmakers confirmed that the mushroom had a wonderful similarity to lobster meat. Michelle's post has a better description of cooking the mushroom (Brian made his like crabcakes and scallops!).

Once we made our way through the woods, we reached Flying Plow Farm.

The Flying Plow folks are new to Maryland and Baltimore Foodmakers. They are still looking for CSA members! If you're interested in visiting the beautiful and historic Gunpowder Falls/Jerusalem Mill and also support local agriculture, please check them out. http://www.flyingplowfarm.com/join-our-csa.html

A sneak peak of some of the farm:

We had a nice quiet walk back through the woods.

And then just as we were about to reach the parking lot, we reached a large part of the ground that was shot through with wild peppermint. Yessss.

Wow, I didn't think we would ever be able to beat last year's morel hunting and wild weed walk at Cromwell Valley, but Baltimore Foodmakers just keeps on knocking them out of the park.

Last year's find:

Feel free to join up: www.foodmake.org

As always, please remember that good foraging etiquette requires considering the ecosystem. Feel free to take all of an invasive species like kudzu or japanese knotwood, but please do not take native plants from inside a state park. Make sure to leave enough of a non-invasive species for the animals to eat and for the plant to grow back next year. Please do not eat anything you have foraged unless you are CERTAIN you know the plant species. I hereby do not claim responsibility for your foraging experiments.

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