Wild Foods

Spiced Hawthorn Pear Persimmon Brandy

– Text and Photographs by Juliet Blankespoor – Bent over the moist earth, we gathered up the crimson and golden fruit into our hungry bags, chatting about life as old friends will, with meandering topics and understood nuances. Picking through the fallen leaves and occasional thorn, our bags grew plump with the fallen medicinal jewels. […]

Passionflower – Ecology, Cultivation, Botany, and Medicinal and Edible Uses

If you have been following my blog or studied with me, you know I am interested in plant relationships in all their various forms, and not just plant/human relationships. Often when I am teaching, a student will interrupt my ramblings on ecology, botany, or cultivation to ask the proverbial “But what is it used for?” […]

Cherry Chipotle Nopales Salsa and the Medicine of Prickly Pear

Ingredients: 2 medium tomatoes 2 medium sized nopales (cactus pads) * ½ sweet onion 1 cup black cherries 1/8  teaspoon sea salt 1/10 teaspoon chipotle powder 2 limes ¼ of a small bunch of cilantro (to taste) Handful of edible flowers – calendula, scarlet runner beans, and a touch of red clover are the flowers […]

Cold Season Wild Greens and Pecan Feta Wild Greens Pesto

Creasy greens Creasy greens (Barbarea verna, Brassicaceae), also known as wintercress, is a common weed in the Southeast and the pacific Northwest. Its close relative, Barbarea vulgaris, has a more widespread distribution, occurring throughout most of temperate North America. Here in the southern Appalachians, they grow side by side and I seriously doubt that many people pay attention […]

Chestnut Harvest

Chinese chestnuts (Castanea mollissima, Fagaceae) are a common yard tree in the southern Appalachians, and can easily be found this time of year, with their spiny burrs and nuts falling from the trees. The Chinese Chestnut is not affected by the chestnut blight, which has so strongly affected the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) and chinquapin […]

Lamb’s quarter

Lambs quarter is one of the most common weeds in gardens, backyards and fallow fields, following human habitation closely. If you add horse or cow manure to your garden you will have a steady supply of these tasty wild greens for most of spring and summer. Easy to recognize with its alternate, triangle-to-diamond shaped leaves […]

Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaceae) is one of our earlier wild spring greens. With a flavor slightly reminiscent of mild arugula and roasted garlic, it makes a nice addition in salads with milder wild greens like chickweed and violets. I find that its flavor doesn’t mellow when cooked, as do many other brassicas, and so […]