Tag Archives: wild edibles

Days of May

May brings morning rain on rosa multiflora.

And morning light on made beds.

May brings awakening wild food.

And blooming forest floors.

The colorful copper birch leaves emerge.

Violets come into view.

May is when we gather the petals.

Simple syrup will sweeten drinks for weeks to come.

May brings soft breezes through open windows.

And May brings wishes.

Happy May!

 

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Acorn Waffles

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The three of us picked acorns last fall under the thinning leaves of a red oak. We made sure to leave behind the ones with holes, cracks or stains.

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We placed them on a tray in a single layer by the woodstove to dry. And even though we were careful with our selection, a few wiggly acorn weevil larvae still found their way home with us. We looked through the acorns on the trays for holes and threw out the ones that the larvae had wiggled out of. After a couple days of drying we processed a few cups for pancakes and cookies. We stored the remainder in a bucket for later use.

Properly dried acorns can be stored for years.

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About a week ago, we started on another batch.

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We use a slab of wood and a stone to crack them open.

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We check each one for quality, even though we did a great job when collecting, we still find a couple of the nut meats with sign of weevil infestation.

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Using a hand crank mill, we ground down the nuts.

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This is what one pass through will give you. We grind it at least 2x for a finer flour.

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Then we wait. We soak the ground acorns in cold water to leach out the tannin, changing the water morning and night, until it no longer tastes bitter or astringent. The chaff will float to the top and can be poured out. The finer the grind, the faster the leach. This batch took nine days.

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This morning, we placed the leached acorn flour in a towel over a strainer.

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And working in small batches, we wrung out as much moisture as possible.

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We will keep the acorn flour in the refrigerator since we will be using it over the next few days.

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Acorn imparts a nutty flavor and a great texture to waffles. They are light and airy.

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Acorns are nutrient dense, containing complete protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Acorn Waffles

  • Servings: Makes 5 waffles
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup acorn flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons oil of your choice

Preheat waffle maker.

Whisk flours with baking powder, salt and sugar. Add milk, egg and oil and whisk just until incorporated. Lumps are okay.

Pour about a half cup of batter onto waffle iron (amount is dependent on your waffle iron).

Cook until done. Enjoy with pure maple syrup or peanut butter and bananas.

For more information on acorn processing, check out Arthur Haines’ website: http://www.arthurhaines.com/

Black Birch Tea

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Have you ever gone out into your backyard and picked raspberries to add to your morning pancakes or plucked fresh basil leaves from your garden for homemade pasta sauce?  What a wonderful feeling it is to be self-reliant. Nature is the ultimate grocery store.

Black Birch (or sweet birch) trees can be found in forests from Maine to Georgia. American Indians brewed tea from the branches for stomachaches, lung ailments and fever. The essential oil (methyl salicylate) was commercially distilled from the bark and used for rheumatism, gout and bladder infections. It is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic. Have a toothache? Chew on a twig until the fibers start to break up and then spit out.

Smooth bark and distinctive horizontal pores make the Black Birch easy to identify.

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Scratching the twig of a Black Birch reveals a strong wintergreen scent.

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When you find a good specimen that you have positively identified and it is not in a compromised area (i.e. roadside or waste places), please prune lightly. In all foraging activities, take no more than you need and no more than a fifth of the plant to insure the health and survival of the species.

  • Cut or break the twigs up into small pieces and place into a jar.
  • Boil some water and let it cool slightly.
  • Pour the cooled water over twigs and steep.

The longer you steep it the stronger the flavor will be. It is great as an iced tea.

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