Foraging: find dinner in your backyard

Mass Appeal
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CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal)  A lot of what we weed from our lawns and gardens aren’t weeds – they are edible plants!  Felix Lufkin and Carly Leusner from Acorn Kitchen taught us what to look for in the wild and how to use our foraged food to make a massaged salad.Massaged Green Salad

Harvest a medley of hearty wild greens. Lamb’s quarters, amaranth, and sheep sorrel all work well for this dish. The raw leaves will shrink significantly, by half or more, so double or triple the amount of raw leaves based on how many servings you are hoping to make. Remove any hard stems, leaving softer, flexible petioles and coarsely chop. In a separate bowl whisk together a dressing of 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar (I used an herbal infused apple cider vinegar), 3-4 minced garlic scapes/garlic or scallions, 2 T honey, and salt and pepper to taste. You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar, if you wish. A dash of Tamari or soy sauce couldn’t hurt either. Drizzle the dressing on sparingly, massaging the greens as you go. They will begin to soften, keep massaging for 5-10 minutes! Let the greens and dressing marinate overnight or for at least a couple hours to get a texturally pleasing salad, bursting with bioavailable nutrition.

Why Forage?

(from wearewildfood.com)

Wild food is common sense food—free, abundant, and packed with nutrition!

Connection to place:

Wild foods offer an opportunity for a deeper and more meaningful connection with the land. They nourish our bodies and souls with a particular sense of place. Including them in our diet engenders a culture that celebrates and honors the land it is a part of.

Nutrient dense:Most wild foods contain nutrients several times their cultivated counterparts. Experts at surviving and thriving in their environment, they are able to draw minerals from the soil and bedrock. A serving of raw lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album) boasts three times the calcium and vitamin C as Spinach and significantly more vitamin A.  Human bodies, which have been eating wild for the past 2 million years, expect and require these foods for health.Healthy for the Planet:

Including wild food in our diet increases our ability to feed each other locally and rely less on industrial agriculture. Dietary diversity promotes biodiversity, as many of the edibles and medicines we focus on are considered invasive. Gathering them for food and medicine keeps populations in check and provides an alternative to herbicides that are known carcinogens.

Humans & Wilderness:
The human towns, roads, and farms of New England exist in and are part of a larger wild landscape. When we do cross this imaginary boundary, we fixate on our sense of separation between ourselves, civilized humans, and the wilderness.  A crucial step towards healing our cultural relationship with the wild is to remember the myriad ways the world practically and logistically supports our own lives.

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