Friday, May 6, 2011

Where The Wild Foods Are

Don your nettle-proof gloves, grab a scissors and grocery bag and head for the green hills grocery! Here’s a tasty romp in the Northwest woods to gather delicious wild greens. Best of all—sustainably. “Foraging with Jennifer Hahn” is a short video, 2 ½ minutes. Videographer, Mark Mulligan, of "The Herald,” Everett, WA did the "shooting of the rooting."  

It’s a nibble of spring. If you want to learn how to forage sustainably for wild greens, seaweed, or mushrooms, take a class with Jennifer--a seasoned forager! Check Events above. This spring/summer Jennifer offers: sea veggie foraging by sea kayak (, Seaweed Cuisine (

“Personal foraging class,” anyone? Set up a private class with Jennifer. If dates don’t jive with your schedule, arrange a two-hour sustainable wild foraging class for eight pals--$25 each. How about wild greens, seaweeds or mushrooms? Or a wild feast cooking class, after our baskets or kayak decks are brimming?

Meanwhile, tuck in your dinner napkin and imbibe in "WHERE THE WILD FOODS ARE”. Award-winning writer, Jackson Holtz (author of “Fly, Colton, Fly: The True Story of the Barefoot Bandit”) begins: 

Jennifer Hahn sees more than the forest for the trees. She sees dinner. From ferns come fiddleheads. From trees, sap for syrup or blossoms for a fritter. From the forest floor, delicate mushrooms and lemon-flavored wood sorrel….”
After two hours of woods and wetland exploring, with baskets brimming, Jackson and I returned to my kitchen for après foraging fun. We blanched nettles and lady fern fiddleheads, diced wood sorrel, turned roasted dandelion roots into buttery coffee-flavored ice cream, and fluffed wild and farm greens with pickled red onions and shallot-walnut-vinaigrette.
Here's the menu of chef recipes—all found in PACIFIC FEAST--that inspired our wild table:

Oysters with Wood Sorrel Sauce
by Chef Jerry Traunfeld, Poppy, Seattle

Shepherd’s Salad of Wild & Farm Greens
 by Chef Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland

Nettle Hazelnut Pesto
 by Chef Greg Higgins, Higgins Restaurant & Bar, Portland

Roasted Dandelion Root Ice Cream
 by The Herbfarm Founder Ron Zimmerman, The Herbfarm, Woodinville, WA

Pick Lady Fern fiddleheads that are tightly coiled and less than six inches (one hand height). Rub gently to remove "brown scale-like fur" under tap water. Simmer naked Lady Fern fiddleheads for a few minutes before serving. Heating destroys the fern's thiaminase--an enzyme that reduces our body's essential store of VitaminB.

ENJOY the spring greens. While you’re at it, remember to promote: preservation through the palate. Let’s pick as if there is a tomorrow. Forage and eat sustainably. Let’s anchor this vision: our great great great great grandchildren munching the wild flavors of fiddleheads, too.

May we find the earth delicious for a long time!  


  1. These are exotic herbs and spices. Similar to the East Indies spice trade from India. I remember catering bristol showcasing entrees from the oriental countries with their respective authentic flavors.

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