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I met a writing goal last week. 6000+ words before my weekend began. I don’t want to get behind because if I let too much time pass that little canoe could easily sink with excuses!

Here I go with another camp story.
Several years ago I attended a Wilderness Survival Basic Skills Week up in Maine,  in April.  Chilly but sunny we slept in a tepee, cooked our own food and learned various skills. Four women arrived fully prepared with suitcases and camp gear but   no or improper knives. First lesson, have the right knife and keep the knife with you at all times. Folks who love this stuff know the wild so well they might challenge themselves leaving for the wild forests with only the clothes on their backs, a good pair of hiking boots, a knife in their pocket and nothing else. The two men who were our instructors for the week were very patient with us and had a great sense of humor.

One of the highlights of  the week for me was the wild food meal we prepared before we headed out the next day to the deep mountains of Maine to put our skills to use.

1. Roasted dandelion root tea: We drank a lot of roasted dandelion root tea. First thing in the morning a pot brewed. Deep chocolate brown, bitter rich beverage got the day going. We added that to our evening wild food meal. Dandelion roots are typically gathered after the first frost in fall. Roots are easy to dig, washed and then chopped into small pieces and left to dry. Once dry, they are placed into a coffee grinder to get a coarse ground and then put on a cookie sheet in a fine layer. They are left on a low oven till roasted

2. Dandelion buds: Its easy to find dandelion buds in early spring before or when the first flowers appear. The leaves rise up in a rosette pattern. Moving leaves aside one can easily see the buds and pick them. Back in the kitchen, we sauteed an onion, a little garlic in olive oil. Once the onions looked clear we added the buds and let them gently steam. In a few minutes they were ready to serve. Delicious though a little bitter that the oil and onions complimented.

3. Cress was easy to find in the fields around the school grounds. Crisp greens, picked before dinner and added to our salad were simply good. No chemicals were found at this school. We knew what we were picking and the freshness cannot be compared to store bought lettuces. We added fresh dandelion greens and flowers to our salad too. The secret to blending all the flavors and textures is to use these foods in small amounts and chop up into small pieces. My wild salads at home included romaine or a decent bib lettuce which helped the palate get used to the delectable “weeds” added in.

I have to say our wild food dinner was feast. Simple fare mostly gathered from the wild nourished us. Of course the company was great and humor added the right spice to our evening.

Got any stories? Would enjoy hearing from you. This week I will feature another aspect of gardening with a tour of Michael Judd’s edible landscaping.

Enjoy your day. Judith



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