Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Foraging for Food

I began my foray into foraging last night with a supper of Dandelion greens. I figured since they were very easy to safely identify and readily accessible at my house they would serve as a nice starting point. The book I have been reading, “A Foraging Vacation Edibles from Maine’s Sea and Shore” by Raquel Boehmer, explains that the genus and species name of the Dandelion is Taraxacum Officinale and that it is the most famous of Maine’s many and varied potherbs. The 117 page book is a great short read and highlights many more of Maine’s edibles including periwinkles and Sea Urchins to Chickweed and Beach Peas.

A quick search of the perimeter of my lawn yielded many Dandelion plants and for my “test” I harvested 4 specimens. Though the book suggests digging up the plants I simply gathered together the leaves and pulled. In 3 of the 4 cases this resulted in the root being ripped off the main stem and left stuck firmly in the ground. For the one root that I did manage to harvest, I am drying for a future attempt at making into tea.

After thoroughly washing the greens, I dropped them into a frying pan and added about a tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and approximately half a handful of chopped onion. I then let this concoction percolate on the stove for about 15 minutes on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turned translucent. Next the experiment was placed on a plate and after adding a splash of white vinegar down the hatch they went.

I was surprised with the richness of flavor these greens possessed, lacking any of the bitterness that I had originally expected to experience. I thought back to all of the years I mowed over this annoying and “weed” not knowing that it contained such splendid and complex flavors. Let me state that I will be mowing no more!


  1. You're the second person to mention dandelion greens this week. Now I'm REALLY interested.

    I should stop feeding dandelions to the chickens, shouldn't I? lol

  2. Now I bet your wife is thrilled that your not going to mow anymore :) I love dandilion greens sauteed the same way, and also fresh, chopped, and tossed into a spinach salad...YUM!! Just a note, they are only good in the spring! The big summer ones get woody and a little too pungant.

  3. I've never tried dandelion greens, but I'm starting to think I should. Lord knows there are enough around here.

  4. Jodie - You should really try them! I also have tried Plantains that are also a common lawn weed. Both are delicious when harvested when they are still small and tender.

  5. SAHMFM, yes I have noted that already hey are becoming increasingly bitter and I have to forage more carefully for the younger plants.

  6. Kristine, try them you will like them. Not much different than spinach.

  7. Dandelion greens are good...but don't do the sea urchin....I did it on a dare in 8th grade because our teacher said they were edible...edible yes, in that they won't kill you, tastey? not so much, I still scrape my toungue off when I think of it! :-) Look for Indian Cucumbers too! They are tastey, and don' forget your fiddle heads!


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