Walking with knowledge can be a yummy journey.
I had the great pleasure to spend the day with a local Landcare group yesterday, in Glen Davis, Capertee Valley, NSW. This is folks that know their stuff, they live on the land, they manage properties of various sizes and engage with the hard task of looking after land. Many of them practice regenerative agriculture and try to change the way we engage with natural resources in this country.
I was invited to talk about weeds, but not the usual talk on how to kill them, but new/old perspectives: define what is useful, acknowledge abundance and even harvest the seasonal supply as food produce.
It was informal, fun, very open discussions, where everyone had the chance to say their bane. Luckily some troublesome invasive can actually be used as food.
And so we cooked them and tasted the possibilities. Here below some of the dishes form the long lunch.
Wild fennel (foeniculum vulgare) is abundant all the time, and a well loved ingredient in many cuisines. Excellent baked and flavoursome as a pesto
A popular appetizer using two of the most common weeds of the coast: farmers friend (bidens pilosa) and rambling dock (acetosa sagittata)
Purlsane (portulaca oleracea) is quite abundant at the moment and a few people used in their cooking. Here it is as a Tzatziki.
This salad was featuring fennel pollen (foeniculum vulgare), a highly sought after ingredient that could easily be sourced everywhere.
Purslane (portulaca oleracea) again, this time with spearmint, apples, nuts and coriander.
And of course the Greek style weeds pie, or hortopita, filled with whatever wild green is on season. This one was prepared with stinging nettle (urtica spp), fat hen (chenopodium album), celery and feta
Amaranth seeds (amaranthus spp.) sourdough. Amaranth grains are one of the oldest foods, the start of agriculture in south america, extremely nutritious and easily available in your gardens
It is prickly pear season (opuntia spp) and for the long lunch we had them raw, juiced and as sorbet!
And for sweet treats here is the classic Anzac biscuits, with Paddy’s lucerne (Sida rhombifolia)
Shortbread with wattle seed (acacia spp) Lemon myrtle ( backhousia citriodora) and amaranth flour (amaranthus).
Not all the dishes are featured here, as some got eaten before I could take the picture, a great testament that those weeds are actually tasty after all.
More will come from this, in the meantime you can enjoy some of the recipes on the Wildfood.store website.
Follow us on our journey to elevate weeds as possible food sources. It will be yummy :)