In his chapter on dandelions, the late Euell Gibbons, famous forager and author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus, waxes nostalgic about a better day when the dandelion was appreciated as the valuable source of food, medicine, (and yes, fortune-telling) that it is.
“Did you ever see a child who did not enjoy blowing the fuzz-winged seeds from the hoary seed balls of the dandelion?” Euell asks, after stating his case about the dandelion’s many tonic uses. And yet, “Every garden-supply house offers for sale a veritable arsenal of diggers, devices, and deadly poisons all designed to help exterminate this useful and essentially beautiful little plant which has so immensely benefitted the human race.”
Reading Stalking the Wild Asparagus as a teenager, I had always wanted to but never tried any of the dandelion’s useful parts–the flowers, young greens, and supposedly the roots. So the other day Gregg and I picked 1/2 a small Ziploc bag full of newly-opening flowers, dipped them in wheat flour batter, and deep-fried them.
After the excitement of the pennycress earlier today, Gregg and I decided to hike up above the treeline and look for another wild edible plant–stonecrop.
Stonecrop is one I’ve had my eye on in Cattail Bob’s guide, Best Tasting Wild Plants of Colorado. It is a succulent so we were excited about the prospect of it being juicy.
Anyway, the search brought us to some beautiful vistas in the high country. We found the stonecrop above treeline but then once we knew what it looked like we were able to pick it out lower down on our way back.
Upon tasting it, Gregg declared, “This is my favorite wild edible plant.”
“Your favorite in Colorado,” I corrected him, thinking of the delicious lemony wild sorrel we put in our stuffed clams last summer in Vermont.
“No,” he corrected me back. “Stonecrop is my favorite wild edible plant in the whole world.”
It’s confirmed–we’ve got pennycress growing! It’s all over the place in the yard and next to the driveway. Why is this so exciting? Because pennycress is a wild edible plant, and I’m really into wild edible plants.
Pennycress, which is part of the mustard family, has young leaves that can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked in soups, and apparently in the fall the seeds can also be harvested and eaten.
I was really hoping to find something wild and edible near the house (above 11,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies) in addition to the strawberries, which, like other berries, are only available in the fall.
After getting out Cattail Bob Seebeck’s outstanding guide, Best-Tasting Wild Plants of Colorado, last week from the Fairplay library (which I also love, by the way), I identified a plant I thought might be pennycress.
I’ve always wanted to keep a list of the books that I’ve read, so now I’m going to do it here on the blog. These are in chronological order to the best of my ability. This is a work in progress as I am certain to have missed more than a couple in recent history, nevermind the long-term work it’s going to take to excavate the books I knew from my more distant past.
After some consideration I’ve decided to do this twofold.
- First is the list of books, posted in this entry. I am only including books that I finished.
- Next I am going to track down my comments for however-many of these books I have in my journal, and post them as separate blog entries according to the approximate date in which I finished reading them. Future book commentaries, then, will be future blog posts.
Part of me is hoping that if I start to keep a bibliography of my life it will help to inform and direct my future writing.