Yes, that is going to be a continuing theme around here: Eating previously ignored plants. The more I see the more ideas I get.
I am still not really comfortable describing this interest as "foraging" - I dislike labels - but grammatically it sits well: It implies a search, a curious mind; though most of what I find I stumble upon. The sweet scent in the apartment right now comes from a bowlful of beautiful milkweed flowers that I picked in Red Hook this afternoon while heading home from the Pier 44 garden. Tomorrow morning they will be breakfast. I think. I may make simple syrup instead. What do you think? Hey, maybe I can do both, as they must be blanched, first, anyway. Imagine that! A milkweed-blossom-infused summer cocktail. Now we're cooking with gas! [See the results here]
Still, "foraging" separates the gathering and gatherers of wild and wayside foods from the shoppers for plants in groceries and farmers' markets, though the latter are steps nearer the truth of where our food comes from. We are all still eating the stems, roots, tubers, leaves, and fruit of plants. Those firm green broccoli heads are just thousands of unrealized, thwarted flowers. But the gatherer of wild foods separates them on the spot, as the plant grows, wherever that may be. Nipping the buds from the stem, snipping the fat spring stalk as it emerges, clipping the leaves from the branch - and brings them home to eat. Supper is always a surprise.
I must add that none of the day lilies you see above were harmed for the writing of this post. The buds in the salads came from Elsewhere. Nuff said. I wouldn't pick anyone's garden flowers. But please pick your own, because they are worth it.
These were quite mature buds, as you see, in full colour aleady. I sliced them lengthways and added them to a salad of Boston lettuce (butter lettuce to some), new peas, fennel and thinly sliced radish that I had wilted in salt, first. Light sherry vinegar vinaigrette. The buds are softly tender and have a distinct flavour that I cannot describe well. Young courgette (zucchini), a bit of cooked bean, something else, slightly, ever so slightly sweet. I have no idea why they are not sold by the score in supermarket clamshells and farmers' market boxes across the country. They are easy to grow and taste wonderful.
In salad No 2. I ditched the radish, but otherwise it was the same. The pea and day lily combination works especially well.
Speaking of day lilies, remember this garden?
The red roses that had been hacked to the ground, the climbing roses I said would never bloom again as a result?
As far as I can tell, these are same rose! Are they? What the bleep?! My world has been turned upside down. So, instead of leaving a perplexed note, I shall leave another one: "Eat your day lilies...and...about the roses?"
Other New York adventures with wild food:
Central Park - Japanese knotweed
Dead Horse Bay - Pokeweed
Inwood Park - Field Garlic
Prospect Park - Oyster Mushrooms
The terrace - Pigweed