a blog about gardening, foraging, chicken keeping, cooking my harvest, canning, preserving, living on a budget, eating on a budget, upcycling, recycling.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Ever since my family started foraging, my eyes are wide open when I walk around town.
I see wild edibles EVERYWHERE! I mean everywhere!
Have you ever come across a group of unsuspecting grasses like the ones below?
If you need a better shot of these shy guys...take a look below...
This is actually known as Foxtail Grass (Setaria) and it turns out you can eat these things too! Ok, not the plant itself...but the seeds. Think poppyseeds...
We found a bunch at the end of fall last year. When the plants start to turn yellow, you can shake them out in a bag and use them in recipes as you would poppyseeds. I first read about them in Steve Brill's book "Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not do Wild) Places". Mr Brill writes, "Foxtail grass, which grows in fields, disturbed habitats, and near the seashore throughout the United States, ripens in late summer and fall. Collect when many of the seeds are dark colored, and readily fall into your hand or bag when you lightly rub the seed head."
These grasses are also found in abundance in Canada too!
Mr Brill goes on to explain why you should have a light touch with the seed head...
"Never rub them hard, or the bristles will come off along with the ripe seeds. What happens next defies science. Physics recognizes four fundemental forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. If you eat foxtail grass seeds along with the bristles, you'll discover they overlooked a fifth force, more powerful than the rest combined: It attracts the bristles to the spaces between your teeth and holds them there until the end of time." Wildman Steve Brill cracks me up!
Wikipedia has this seed grass listed as Foxtail millet (setaria italica) and says its making a come back because it is more nutritious than rice! That being said, I couldn't find any nutritional info about it...sigh.
I had no idea these pretty, fuzzy things were actually useful!
Sadly, I found many postings about the dangers of foxtail grass seed. If you own a dog, you don't want to get anywhere near these things, as they get caught up in the animal's digestive system causing severe problems. As far as I can tell, there are no known problems for human consumption.
Hubbie decided to make muffins one day while I was at work. I came home to a proudly smiling face saying "I just made Orange Foxtail Grass Seed Muffins!" All I could say was "I'll need a shorter name for my blog post"....tee hee!
Without further ado, here is my fantastic husband's recipe for Foxy Muffins!
Orange Foxtail Grass Seed Muffins
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oil
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup water
2 cups mashed orange segments
1 tsp salt
1-1 1/2 tsp foxtail grass seeds (dark in colour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest from one orange
Mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Bake at 350 degrees C for 55 - 60 min.
Makes 15 muffins or 2 large loaves.
The results were great! I tried one just warm from the oven with butter. The foxtail grass seeds didn't add too much to the flavour, but they added a nice crunch to an otherwise soft baked good.
Since we didn't even know about this wild edible until we had almost missed its collecting season, we didn't have a ton of it around. Next fall, we'll collect a bunch more and see what other recipes we can concoct.
We had these seeds in a small ziploc bag in our pantry. It took up little to no space. Storing wild edibles means you can take your time with experimenting. You don't have to rush around and eat as much as you can while they are in season.
Something to keep in mind that when you see wild edibles in the city.
You must know what your particular town or city's position on spraying is BEFORE you start to forage.
It takes little to no time to find that info out in advance. Also because you will get sick and it will have been entirely preventable.
That being said, would you try Foxtail Grass seeds?