The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,882 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,641 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Forage for Food Merit Badge, I started paying attention to my feet. That’s right, my need-a-pedi-stat feet, in my new Spring sandals. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Because up until now, I have been committing plant-icide. And not just on weeds, no, no! I’ve been guilty as charged for the heinous murders of FOOD.
Yes, food. Now, color me innocent (a violet or pale pink, I believe) but I really had no idea how many plants can be nibbled, munched, cooked, and snacked upon. In fact – get this – it’s easier and smarter to learn which plants cannot be eaten, and go from there. When I started out earning this badge, I had my handy-dandy sticky note/memo pad at the ready. I thought that would be appropriate and perfect for my short list of a handful of edible plants. Wrong. Turns out I needed page after page of full size paper to keep a running tally.
I love it when I’m wrong!
Now, to pare it down a little from Tolstoy length, I stuck to ones that grew in my native area and that I could pronounce and spell and that I had a good chance of finding. I was like a plant detective. And I couldn’t believe how tasty and filling these were. I mean, sure, I was expecting a few herbs, maybe a pretty flower to toss onto a salad, but I am not kidding you: you could have a whole dinner party for lumberjacks with these amazing things.
Okay, maybe vegetarian lumberjacks, but still.
Or you could B.R.Y.O.W.G. (Bring Your Own Wild Game).
Want to take a peek at my list thus far?
Brown’s Peony (Note to self: who was Brown anyway?)
Wild Garlic (come to mama, sweet thing, come to mama)
Spring Beauty (incidentally, my high school nickname)
Arrow Leaved Balsamroot
I gathered what I could, rinsed them lovingly, and began my feast. I stir-fried my Stinging Nettle, tubers, Cattail Sprouts, and mushrooms, with my wild ginger and garlic. Hallelujah, let the hymns of deliciousness waft through the air with the scent of my kitchen right about now!
I combined the greens into the loveliest salad you ever did see, and topped it with fresh sunflower seeds and a sprinkling of violets for color (and taste).
I sipped on fresh tea made from several of my herbs from my windowsill garden, and mint. Slurp!
Add how did I top off my evening of foraged yumminess? I’m so glad you asked …
Homemade Dandelion Wine
Pick one gallon of flawless, still wet with dew, dandelion blossoms. Cover with boiling water and a cheesecloth and allow to steep for three days. Squeeze out all the juice from the flowers, and discard.
Pour the liquid into a big pot and add:
3 lbs sugar (Raw and organic is nice, but you could try honey. Whatever floats your sweet boat.)
4 lemons and 4 oranges, all chopped up (we’re talking seeds, peels, everything).
Boil. Then add 2 tablespoons of yeast. Cover with cheesecloth and let sit for about 2-3 weeks (or until the lumberjacks arrive). Filter through cheesecloth and pour into pretty bottles.