Today I would like to share a couple of my favorite recipes, using foods that my family and I foraged. These are all great introductory recipes for those who may be new to foraging or may not have much experience cooking delicious wild foods. These are recipes for comfort foods that my family and I love, using wild ingredients. Wild foods give the food extra nutritional value as well as a unique taste.
First I will talk about some of the ingredients and then I will follow with the recipes.
The first wild food ingredient I will talk about are acorns from a Red Oak tree. I wrote a post on processing these, using the boiling method, which you can view here. Since I used the boiling method, the resulting flour is best used when mixed equal parts with another whole grain flour such as whole wheat because the boiling removes much of the gluten from the acorns, and so on their own they do not hold together well in baked goods. Acorn flour is high in vitamins and minerals and is a great staple to have on hand.
Here are acorns from the Burr Oak tree, which is a type of White Oak. Usually White Oaks are lower in tannins than red oaks. Tannin or tannic acid is the substance in raw acorns that makes them unpalatable. Because of the lower tannin content, I decided to use the cold soak method for these. I will write a post in the near future detailing the process I used. Like the Red Oak acorns, these acorns are also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. When you use the cold soak method, most of the gluten remains in the acorns; thus, the flour made this way works well in recipes where acorns are the main flour.
Lichen is somewhat similar to mushrooms in flavor and nutrition. There are over 20,000 types of lichen, and only two know to be poisonous, so they are a much safer introductory food than mushrooms for entry level foragers. An easy rule of thumb to remember is AVOID yellow lichen. It is simple to process it, but a bit time consuming. I will make sure to do a post about the processing process, but basically, after you take it off the tree, you clean it of bark and debris, and then boil it in several changes of water. Most people recommend using a pinch of hardwood ash or bicarbonate of soda during this process. Ultimately you end up with a semi-gelatinous liquid which we freeze in ice cube trays, so we can use just as much as we need. We find it a delicious, earthy and healthy addition to many foods, especially soups and stews.
These were gathered wild, on pristine land about an hour North West of Dallas. While they are more readily available commercially, the wild versions as usual are more nutritious than the cultivated varieties. These are great sources of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
And now for the recipes:
1lb of meat, cut into bite sized pieces
Bone, meat or vegetable broth to cover
2 TBSP or more of tallow or vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2-4 TBSP prepared lichen
2lbs of veggies of your choice cut into uniformly sized pieces (potatoes, carrots, peas, etc…)
2 TBSP flour or cornstarch (optional to thicken)
sea salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder to taste
Brown meat in oil in a skillet until seared, then pour in broth to cover. Mix in onion, garlic and celery and simmer for 1-2 hours or until meat is tender. Add veggies, lichen and seasonings and simmer until veggies are tender and cooked – time will vary depending on veggies. If desired, mix flour or cornstarch with cool water, and then add to the stew until thickened to your liking. Serve with acorn biscuits.
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 cup acorn flour (we like the flavor of boiled red oak acorn flour, but cold processed acorn flour works, too)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
6 TBSP coconut oil
¾ cup nut milk, herbal infusion or water
Mix dry ingredients, then add oil and mix by hand until crumbly and uniform. Add liquid and mix until just mixed – do not over mix. Form 6-8 biscuits on a cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot with stew or honey.
ACORN AND WILD PECAN BROWNIES
3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup cold processed acorn flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup wild harvested pecans
Melt together over hot water chocolate and butter. Beat in eggs and sugar. Sift together and stir in flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix in pecans. Spread in well-greased 8 inch square pan. Bake until top has a dull crust, and a slight imprint is left on top when touched lightly.
Hope you enjoy some of these recipes, let me know what you think in the comments! There are so many great ways to use wild foods, what are some of your favorites? Don’t forget to subscribe and get posts delivered to your inbox each week. Please share the post if you enjoyed!