According to Wikipedia when it comes to edible plants the most important part of the plant is the seeds followed by the roots. As we are out foraging this is an important part of the plant that we need to pay attention to. Cereals are a huge part of our diet and that means these grass seeds should not be ignored but instead we should find a way to harvest them.
Seeds can be eaten in different ways. The most common ways we eat seeds are as cereals and bread. By cereals I don’t mean cheerios and other similar processed foods. I’m talking about the way we originally ate cereals before we started ruining all our grains. Think 6 grain cereal mix, oatmeal, grits and cracked wheat. That is what I am talking about when I mention cereals. Incidentally, rice also falls into this category. Many grass seeds if not all can be eaten after being boiled like you would with rice. You can eat them as a cereal cracked or whole.
The other way we eat cereals or grass grains is as flour. We dry and grind these seeds into flour and then mix them to make bread. This has also been done since the beginning of man. Think about the many varieties of breads available. Some have whole seeds in them while others will use the seed as flour.
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of using grass seed in our diet is the collection of the seed. Many grass seeds are very small and therefore difficult to harvest. If we are going to use them as part of our diet then we need to find a way to collect the seeds efficiently so they can be used. These seeds can be eaten when green or dried but like wheat they wil usually be easier to harvest when dry. Hulling the seed is one of the steps we have to figure out and this can often be done through a process of simply rubbing the seeds against a surface that will break the hull and chaff away from the seed.
It’s getting hot and sadly that means the blue mustard is past it’s prime. My favorite wild green will not be available until next spring unless I get creative and grow it myself sheltered from the heat. the good news is there are new plants coming up. Purslane loves the heat and I noticed the other day that I have some coming up in my garden. I was more thrilled to see it than my wife. For some reason she still thinks it is a weed. She just hasn’t learned these things I have about the bounties around us.
There is so much available for us to enjoy and supplement our diet and purslane is one that provides some very good nutrition. Many don’t know that this common weed offers more omega 3 than many fish and other meat items. It’s a phenomenal resource! Not only is it high in omega 3 but it is free and it provides it the way God intended. Why not take advantage of this wonderful wild edible?
I’ve had quite a bit of interest in doing another tour for education on wild edibles. I have decided to start doing them again. I will charge a small fee for them each time but it will not be anything you can’t afford. I hope you and your friends will join us as we come together to find these wild plants and learn. More importantly I hope you will use that knowledge and continue to use the plants in your daily lives and find out more about wild edibles.
I really believe this knowledge is valuable and can help a lot of people. If you know what can be eaten in the wild and what cannot then you will be a lot better off if ever lost in the wild for any reason. Come check it out and learn a bit about wild edibles this year. Just think about those stories you hear about people getting lost in the woods or at Boys camp. What difference would it make if they knew which plants they could eat. The food is all around them in most of those cases.
What’s in season in the way of Wild edibles? Well, through the summer months wild spinach is one fo the best and most readily available. Some of you know it as goose foot and some as lamb’s quarter but the reality is what we have here is a wild spinach that rivals the value you get from that stuff in the grocery store. I love the flavor of this one and I love that it is easy to find and identify. Unfortunately the season for blue mustard has past with the onset fo summer heat which means I have to look for new wilds to eat.
How far do I have to go to find it?
Well for me it’s in the garden and likely it is for you too. It’s just a matter of whether you recognize it as valuable or not. I have pulled plenty of it up this year as weeds just like the rest of you but I am more selective with what I pull. for example, on the way home from church the other day I stopped to pick some for dinner that night and since we had recent rains I got a handfull with dirt, roots and all. This handfull is now growing happily in my garden box and I have already harvested from it multiple times including for breakfast today.
So if it is growing in the garden and being cultivated now is it still wild spinach? Perhaps that is a tree in the forest type of question. All I know is I love it and it’s delicious. I do have a few plants that grew right where they seeded from the wild in the corner of my garden as well.
I’ll get some more pictures of this one for those of you interested. This is an easy edible to identify and a tasty one that is easy to add to recipes since it is just spinach.