Looking out my studio window the other day I spotted some lush weeds over in the vacant yard next door and knowing that the people last there didn’t spray I headed over to check it out.
There was a nice little bunch of both mint (Mentha sp.) and Sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) but best of all there was a huge patch of Lambs quarters (Chenopodium album) I was wrapped I have found little bits n pieces here n there before but never this much so it is a great chance to experiment with processing.
I want to dry this for when I hit the road shortly and I wanted to see which way works the best, I stripped the leaves off half and left the other half whole branches to dry obviously the easier option, I dry my nettles and mint on the branches and then crush the leaves off the stems and this works well but it doesn’t work well with all greens so I’m experimenting and I thought it would be of interest to you guys too. 🙂
In the picture below hopefully you can see all my goodies ready to dry, it is hard to get a good picture up there sorry.
Well I found the best way was definitely taking the leaves of the main stems as they dried heaps quicker than the others left on stem, the others still dried but the quicker the better I recon. I’m not sure if the plants loose nutrition the long the drying time but the quicker I can move things on the better because I have limited space up there and I always have something drying it doesn’t really get used as an art studio much any more! oh by the way I use a pedestal fan in my little upstairs studio which is nice and hot, below you can see the dried leaves on my bamboo basket.
I crushed these up and put it all through a sieve to remove any left over stems and then I put it into a clean dry jar for later use.
Just this evening I accidently put it in with my dried crushed sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) thats what you get for not labeling things straight away….. they all look the same but it’s no biggie just a lesson if you want to keep things separate!
I hope this helps with your foraged food processing in the future, every little bit of knowledge helps I think it may seem simple but you could waste a hole bunch of this if you did it wrong it’s not so nice yellow.
Just a quicky, wanted to share my recipe for this Possum stew mmmmmmmmm everything in this stew was foraged or grown by me the only things payed for was the salt, pepper and oil!
I browned the Brush Tailed possum in oil then I added dried wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) , Hawthorn sauce (Crataegus sp.) mixed with water to cover, I simmered this until the meat was tender.
I then fried red spring onions, baby carrots, stringless & butter beans, baby potatoes, squash, salt & pepper in oil until just tender, I added this and a big heap of silver beet, sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) and nettles (Urtica sp.) to the meat I simmered this for several minute then I hoed in Yummmmm 🙂 sorry no picture as I’m sure you are sick of stew pictures and I don’t have time and energy tonight 🙂
I have to share this recipe it is fantastic!!
Ok this makes about 1 liter of liquid-
- 1/2 cup home made fruit vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 1 table spoon of sea salt
- 1 table spoon chilly flacks
- 1 teaspoon of ground Tasmanian Pepper leaves (Tasmannia lanceolata )
- 1/2 ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- however many cucumbers fit into your jar
Put all the salt and spices into bowl and pour 1/2 the water (Hot!!) over them to release aromas and stir until salt is dissolved. Then cool add rest of water and vinegars, you could boil this if you are worried about impurities but my vinegars are alive so I don’t, pour this yummy liquid over your cucumbers that you have shoved lovingly of course in a big jar I let mine sit on counter for a week or so then put in the fridge.
Now I know not everyone will be able to get a hold of Tassie Pepper leaves it isn’t as available as the pepper berries yet so if you can get the berries use them this will of course change the flavor to mine here but I’m sure would still be fantastic, I don’t have any to play with unfortunately and I know they would make the liquid a vivid pink too they would look pretty special.
Well enjoy 🙂
Just a quick share today, I made soy milk yesterday I don’t really use soy milk much anymore and wont when living on the road but I had a heap of soy beans left that I want to use from when I did make a lot of milk, tofu, soy sauce and tempeh and I have a bit of black tea that I only really like with milk so thought I would make milk and use up the tea before I leave.
Soy milk is easy to make and taste so good, I just boiled bean until tender this takes hours and if you were to make it a lot fire would be the most economical way to cook them, I’m a bit over my pressure cooker for soy bean because no matter how well I de-husk the beans my cooker has explosion a few times and it is NOT NICE! Any way once tender munch up with blender/food processor or stick blender add water to cover boil again for about 20 minute and strain, you can re soak it again boil and strain to get second lot of milk to mix with the first lot obviously the first lot is creamy and strong mixing it with the second lot thins it out, you can also use the left over mash called Okara for cooking.
Well that it, now I’m going to go have a nice cup of tea 🙂