Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sweet Saturday -- eating wild

Seems like all of my Sweet Saturday posts have been flower/garden/outdoors related.  Guess at this time of year the outdoors really pulls and all of the growing and blossoming and greening is what's energizing me. 

One of the goals of moving to the country and cultivating a small farm is to live more sustainably.  We planted a crop of garlic last fall and have been tending seedlings, collecting seed potatoes and onion sets for this year's garden and planting fruit trees.  We're also anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby chicks and ducklings.  Right now we can't yet sustain ourselves.  We did, though, begin to harvest some edibles that are growing wild on our property.  First, an herbalist friend came over to help us with harvesting some nettles.




They are growing EVERYWHERE here.  In the gardens and the meadows.




I had my first run-in with them last fall when I was cleaning out the area under the lilac tree.  I discovered that they're called stinging nettles for a reason!  But we found out that they're incredibly nutritious (and lose the sting when cooked or dried).  We wore gloves to harvest them and set some up to dry.  I made lunch with some, sauteing them with onions, garlic and olive oil then adding a bit of water and covering the pan.  Seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and served over a mix of grains (rice would work, too), they were really delicious.  My mom also added some to a soup she made... yummy!

The next harvest was of asparagus growing wild beneath the lilac tree.  I'd noticed the ferny growth last fall and remembered to look this spring. 




I used a recipe in the wonderful cookbook The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper (the first recipe I tried from it... I just enjoyed reading the book).  Onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and asparagus pieces cooked under the broiler until slightly browned and then eggs cracked into the pan and cooked a bit longer.  The eggs took a little longer to cook than the recipe suggested, but the resulting meal eaten with chunks of homemade bread (made by a local baker friend) was delicious.  I'm imagining next year's asparagus eaten with eggs from our own chickens!

18 comments:

  1. mmmm. ymuuy asparagus. How cool to be able to eat right from your very own garden. we have so many deer and rabbits where i live it's so hard to do that. I have always wanted to though - good for you. Love the Splendid Table, too!
    have a great saturday! xo

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  2. Sounds absolutely delicious, so fresh and healthy!

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  3. definitely sweet...and delicious and fresh...yummety yum! We're over run with nettles here too..tend to dry them and use as a tea with honey. So many good things going on in the stingy nettles :)
    Lovely to see you made it back for ppf....those fuschias are gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing your sketchbook full of text :)x

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  4. interesting to learn about eating nettles. And your asparagus looks amazing. thanks for sharing. nice post.

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  5. must be nice to grow your own food. I imagine there is more freedom than the city.

    have a lovely day.

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  6. Anne,

    I'm so glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I love the garden shots!

    I look forward to your posts.

    Take care,
    Brian

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  7. How wonderful, it will be so cool when you can fully sustain yourself, what a fanatsic goal! So COOL!

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  8. I think that lilac tree is spreading magic! Just reading your recipes is making me hungry. ;)

    Thanks for your sweet comment on My Blog!

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  9. I didn't know you could eat nettles! May have to try it out...

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  10. It's so nice coming over to visit Anne! your photos are so pretty and inspiring :) your asparagus looks sooo good!! one of my favorite soups is cream of asparagus:)

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  11. I have made nettle soup before and nettles are also great for making plant food! Fancy finding wild aparagus. You are so lucky! Asparagus is really expensive to buy in the UK. I can't wait to see your chickens when you get them!

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  12. It all sounds fantastic! I keep promising to cook nettles as my garden is over-run with them too, but nettle tea is as much as I've tried so far. Wild asparagus - wow! And yes, you can't beat fresh eggs from your own hens. Whenever my girls have a lull in laying, it's the height of indignity to have to buy 'shop' eggs!

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  13. oh there is nothing better than home grown goodness....what do you do with nettles???? I am so intrigued!!!! That Asparagus looks amazing....my Father in Law grew tons of this and he and I used to be the only ones to eat it....Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary of his death....so I miss him....

    Have a wonderful day!!! and thank you for participating in Sweet Saturdays!!!!

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  14. We have a lot of nettles in our back yard but I'm not sure if I dare!
    have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver's book on her year of living self sufficiently?

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  15. Hi Anne,
    I've been trying to post comments on your blog, but Blogger hasn't allowed it! Hope this one works!
    Last spring I went on a cooking trip to Tuscany. Local women living on organic farms taught us their methods of cooking with their own herbs and spices. And I distinctly remember them using nettles, which I had never heard of!!

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  16. Dearest sweet anne, i am really enjoying your gardening fun! Yummie asparagus and garlic...how awesome for we cannot grow them here because of the weather. My papa has a little vegie garden too and it's always such fun helping harvest it. Home grown vegies and herbs are the best. Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

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  17. I love love wild edibles, great post!

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  18. Is that what that plant is!!! We have it growing here too and I got stung by it last summer. It was very painful and lasted for three days. I thought they were the beginning of wild strawberry plants, as they have similar looking leaves. Oweee. :-(

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