Wild Eating Challenge Conclusion
After just over three weeks, I've decided to end my wild/gardened food experiment. It wasn't for any lack of food or blandness; over the past three weeks I've had the opportunities to try a number of foods I might not have thought of, tasted delicious delicacies and used wild foods in ways that I'd never expected. I've had the opportunity to dine on barbecued snapping turtle, and been able to make burdock roots into something quite like kettle cooked chips, after which I dipped them in autumn olive ketchup. I even had sorbet for desert one night, with all wild ingredients (and garnish, too).
The reason for stopping now is completely social: my network of friends and family do not, for the most part, eat a lot of wild food. Many are willing, but don't partake often. More importantly, many of our traditions are, at this time, built on certain foods. Barbecue season is coming up, and many gatherings revolve around burgers, hotdogs, and delicious delicious marinated steak. I won't lie and say that temptation isn't a factor. But most of all I don't want this to get in the way of me and my community, and I don't want it to interfere with my usual observation of the reciprocal nature of hospitality. In case you didn't notice, I'm really into the whole community thing. Some of my friends have been super hospitable and been great aid to my wild eating while I stay with them (shout out to Greg and Dena!). But just this weekend alone, I have planned four gatherings at which eating non-wild food is the focus.
My promise to everyone who reads the blog, or was at all interested, is that I'll continue to eat a lot of wild food, and post discoveries, observations, and recipes here. I'll still make it clear how great and possible wild eating is. And I'll help you figure this all out.
And I'm bound to get some great recipes that include wild food now, as I'm ordering some crayfish traps. Being able to mix wild and non-wild ingredients will certainly add to my repetoire; this weekend I intend to make some venison lumpia, maybe with a bit of mustard greens inside.
Dig up a burdock root. This involves a lot of digging around the base of the plant, and in my experience it means an ever-widening, ever-deepening hole until you can easily pull the root out. Don't tug too hard, especially early on, because you'll just end up breaking it and losing most of the root.
Wash the root thoroughly, unless you like gritty dirt in your food. You can peel away the outer skin, but I don't recommend it. I don't think it tastes bad or anything, and it's highly nutritious.
Slice the root as thinly as possible perpendicular to the length of the root to severe the long fibers. Leaving the long fibers intact will just make it hard to chew. This can be hard, but practice makes it easier.
Throw your chips in a pan full of your favorite cooking oil, already heated. If your favorite cooking oil is soy or corn, get a new favorite cooking oil.
Fry until crispy. Salt to liking, preferably with raw sea salt.