Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wild Edibles

My friend Shannon and I went on a Wild Edibles Hike over at the Watershed Nature Reserve in Pennington yesterday morning. The guide's name was Jeff and he is such an experienced and knowledgeable naturist! He told us about so many different things that we encountered on the trail yesterday from plants to insects (along with his experiments in eating them) and the animals we encountered along the way. He has been associated with the Watershed for over 20 years. If I had to be stuck in the wilderness with someone, it'd be this guy for sure!

I'd say there were about ten people in the group. This was organized by the Princeton Adult School program which is also where I attended the Africa lecture series that just ended last week. If any of you are looking for some additional outside educational enrichment, I cannot recommend PAS enough. They don't have anything in the summer but they will be back full throttle in the fall. The lecture series will be touching on modern day events in the various countries that were explored by Marco Polo. I'm so there! The Africa lectures were delivered by Princeton professors on campus and I took so much away from them. They were bargain priced at about $90 for 9 lectures. I'll make a note when registration starts for the fall because I know several people who are interested.

The hike itself was fun and very informative. It lasted about 4 hours with lots of stopping and talking about various species of plants. We had to navigate through some pretty swampy areas and my shoes are coated in mud! After a while, I didn't mind the fact that my socks were soaked and squishy. He identified various seeds, blossoms, roots and leaves that we could pick right up and eat. We did too! A few were bitter but most of them were very good! I've been interested in learning more about wild edibles for about a year and a half now (ever since reading Wild Fermentation) and so I was delighted when I saw this walk in the PAS catalogue. It was really worth the $35. The last thing he helped us to identify was a definite crowning moment. Wild leeks, also known as ramps. I LOVE leeks. I am excited because I could readily identify them if I were to spot a patch now. Shannon and I picked several of these gems and then she cooked them up for us last night for dinner. She used this recipe from Molto Mario. It was awesome.

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