Gardening in a small space sometimes leaves me feeling envy for the the expansive veggie gardens and fruit orchards that I seem to see on endless magazine pages and websites. My new home doesn’t have much room for a backyard garden and not a lick of room for one in the front. I have to pick and choose what I want to grow very carefully, be it things I love that are hard to find at the market, or veggies that just taste a whole lot better when picked fresh. I was just thinking about this today as I get ready to start my vegetable seeds and then I read an article in Martha Stewart Living’s March 2013 issue about professional forager, Tama Matsuoka Wong. Fascinating!
I’ve often been interested in foraging, and have certainly gone on my fair share of mushroom hunts, but this is a great way to augment my limited garden production. I love that Tama not only collects a variety of wild edibles for restaurants, but also teaches school children this skill. Tama has a new book out, Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer’s Market (Clarkson Potter, 2012), that I’ll be rushing to pick up. Particularly when I can see the range of edibles she describes.
This “glossary of greens” is described in the article as “flavors that range from sweet to savory, tart to nutty, all found in the underbrush of a New Jersey meadow.” I know many of these “weeds” well as they grow around my garden and usually just end up in the compost bin. Clockwise from top: garlic mustard, wild garlic, lavender bergamot, chickweed, mugwort, cardamine, wood sorrel, dead nettle, garlic pennycress. Center: dandelion (top), henbit (bottom).
I’m also quite intrigued by the wild greens ravioli and mugwort soup recipes that were shared. The Ravioli in particular has got my chops watering, but before I run off to forage for ingredients, I’ll share the recipe here: Wild Herb Ravioli
For the mugwort soup recipe and to read more about Tama and her fascinating world as a professional forager, pick up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. All photos from Foraged Flavor by Colin Clark and were reprinted with permission from Martha Stewart Living.
Thank you so much! I have just come indoors on a very raw and damp day with a fog so thick it would be hard to cut with a two-man saw. I was out poking through the fallen autumn leaves, trying to salvage the last of the seasons greens (as a hard frost is only days away. ) As I sat down, trying to warm up with a cup of hot tea, I was taking in all of the wonders of your herb ravioli. That started me daydreaming of the treasures that I might find next Spring on my walks. I have found wonderful spots along the river where watercress grows abundantly. When I was a tiny child, a neighbor (in her 90s) showed me how to pick it and to bring damp towels with me to keep what I pick from drying out. She made wonderful salads and topped them with pansy and dandelions. You have inspired me to forage next Spring. I will spend the Winter planning where to go. I can’t thank you enough for re-kindling memories from more than fifty years ago, and inspiring me. Thank you so much …. you are truly an inspiration.