A Discussion : Implementing Wild Food into Daily Life
The spice of life. How we can use our forest friends to encourage a diversity in our kitchens through taste. This is an idea. I would like to explore how YOU see this new habit being integrated into YOUR daily life. We all know the wild food movement is happening. Many people are striving to live from the land. As we get to know our wild weedy friends better this will only continue to blossom. There are cook books, blogs, activists and more all working toward this integration. What I do not see, is how individuals are being encouraged to implement these new ways of living.
Coming from my perspective this is completely attainable. I’ve had wild plants in my life for 14 years. They have been a part of my spice cabinet and pantry. While others stock mine, AND my clients’ medicine chests. This wild food gathering, is a habit for me. With each seasonal shift I automatically go into harvest mode. Or processing. Each season holds a different action with wild food and medicine. I fit into the seasons this way. BUT this is my life & work. It is the work of all the bloggers, foragers & chefs who are working toward wild food. Is it your habit? Do you want to have this habit? Or do you see yourself working with an herbalist, forager, or chef to crate with your values in mind?
Patterns of Season
Let me give you a picture as an example.. Right now, it is Winter. This time of year I spend writing, researching and gathering more information to solidify my knowledge of herbs. I make tea multiple times per day. Made from plants that I foraged & grew the season before. Tea blends are different every time I pour a cup. When it comes time to cook dinner. I have many wild herbs & spices to choose from. But this is a part of my daily ritual. My seasonal habits. All of this weaving together to create my wild food and medicine connection. The discussion I am looking for through this writing is to know how you see it sitting in your life. What would you need to support the implementation of wild plants into your daily life. What are your current habits that already support this?
The familiarity of herbs is already vast. Sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and even black pepper. Most of us have a salt & pepper shaker on our table. What do we generally think of when we sprinkle our pepper on our food? Zesty! Sneezy! Spicy! What about it’s physiological purpose on our plate? What if we started to shift our thoughts to these places? Would the solidification of connection make this bond stronger? Like how Black Pepper assists the body in assimilation of nutrients. Even deeper, how some VERY specific compounds of plants NEED Black Pepper to be effective in a medicinal action. Is this starting to connect? It’s not just a spicy flavor that sits on our table every day.
With this realization, more come effortlessly. Considering we already have wild in our lives through our familiar herbs. German thyme grows wildly in the mountains of Germany and down throughout Eastern Europe. We cook with it many times throughout the year. This spice known as thyme has many connections to food & medicine. A prime expectorant for the lungs, this action helps to relieve mucus buildup. The essential oils in thyme act as antimicrobials to assist in clearing mucus buildup of bacterium. This assisting in fighting infection that can fester. Maybe if we went to our spice racks and looked at the ingredients of food as medicine. Does this begin to shift the perspective of a cook to be in similar line as herbalist? Doesn’t this also help to bridge a gap of wild food being familiar?
Food As Medicine…
Is this an attainable possibility? Our food being our medicine and vice versa…? Living human here who LIVES this every day! This all started with a new idea. Then being able to apply said new idea to what we already have an existence. These wild goodies aren’t so wild when we see them in our every day life. Does this not allow us to bring these compounds into our daily lives more efficiently? More smoothly? I think that this application of realization could be massive to implementing foraged goodies into the kitchen. I could go over flavor profiles with you all day long. I believe that the intrigue would be there. BUT what about following that intrigue? THIS is what I am looking for!
A few Flavor Profiles…
A dream would be to see you growing Cow Parsnip in a shady nook of your garden. Adding wild, native plants to your space. This brings the wild food into the familiar. The seed of Cow Parsnip is the most beautiful nutty, savory flavor I have ever experienced. And in one seed head, we can harvest the family supply of this spice for a year.
Osha is another favorite by far in the medicinal herb realm. I guess that would make sense, considering Osha root is the reason that I moved to Wyoming! When we harvest the root of Osha the first frost has already touched down. The leaves have begun to turn yellow. The seed heads have already thrown themselves to the wind. I have started to take the green leaves and process them to be dried for my spice rack. This year we added some seed into the leaf mixture. Creating an Osha blend of spice. It is beautiful. Osha is very much like fermented licorice and butterscotch. Not quite Anise flavor but something sweet and spicy in that genre of taste. We’ve added this blend to many dishes… and the complexity it brings is magical.
Adding the Wild into the Usual…
We use these two herbs, along with others. Adding them to oregano, lemon pepper, sea salt & garlic. Doesn’t that sound perfectly familiar? This blend goes very well with beef dishes, game & even fish. And it’s beautiful. Those wild additions brought something magical to the other common spices. You can sense the forest as you go through dinner. Feeling your digestion move. It is truly an amazing experience.
I look forward to exploring this with you all more. Recipes are coming. As well as more discussion. It would be great and amazing to see some questions. Comments. Concerns and the like in the comments on the blog. Can we come together here? I look forward to reading, answering questions & getting our fires roaring for Wild Food!
CLICK here to Download the Forest Spice Rack PDF I made to GET YOU STARTED!
Green, nature made blessings to you all,