This weekend while canning I came across this podcast about plants you should grow if you want to live off your land. It comes from "The Survival Podcast by Jack Spirko. I plan to listen to it a few times a year and think about which forest plants I want to move into our yard to make it easier to collect nutrition from the land we live on.
In Tennessee, wild raspberries taste much sweeter than the blackberries to come in July. They tend to grow right by one another and locals often call any wild growing berry that is black a "blackberry" but don't be fooled. These little treasures have a short season and are well worth fighting the poison ivy and chiggers over.
After the first sets of berries start to arrive, it is a good idea to take along a tupperware on evening country walks and collect what is ready. What can;t be eaten fresh preserves well in the freezer.
This year, it took about two weeks from the first glimmers of wild raspberry goodness to a yield that would support the baking of a pie.
A quart of wild raspberries is where you start for seasonal summer pie.
Confession: If you know you will be adding some sugar and baking it in a crust, you can harvest some not less ripe, tart berries. These go well in a pie, keeping it from being sickly sweet.
Thanks to the modern world, my favorite berry pie recipe is housed online. It has all the elements a busy hobby-farmer needs: simple ingredients that are on hand, no weird pre-cooking undulations to make a filling, a presentation that is pleasing and highlights the flavor of the fruit without the need for trendy cooking channel flair.
The 1-2 process is like all pies: Make a crust, pour in the filling.
Don't forget the ventilation if you want to avoid a marvelous pie explosion.
Always remember to poke your fork through the crust a few times to ensure that air pockets can boil out, keeping your pie from exploding
The key to any pie is getting the crust right, and keeping the edges from burning. After wasting tons of foil crafting my own each time we make a pie, I discovered this $8-10 option on Amazon. Yesterday was the first test of this new device and it worked! A simple, reusable option that is not made from silicone, is easy to wash, reduces the amount of foil headed from my home to the landfill, and will ultimately save me a bit of money that would have gone to yet another kitchen consumable.
Unlike cake which responds will to the toothpick test, the best way to know your berry pie is done is a visual test. Is it bubbling happily both on the edges and in the middle? Is the crust golden brown? Then - success. The early summer/late spring wild raspberry goody is a great way to get vitamin K and C and provides some hard-t-absorb magnesium to boot!
Only a week or two left in the season for wild raspberries in our area. Happy hunting!
Spring is filled with wild mustard flowers around these parts. As is our custom, we learn about 1-2 new edible plants per year. Usually this happens when I notice one, reach out to friends to ask if it is edible, then dive in to do research. It is as if the edible plants speak to me while I am tiptoeing through the tulips...
At first, we thought the leaves looked like kale.They also tasted kale-like. After some poking around, and a quick question to Purple Maize Farms, we learned that this delectable plant has several uses:
1) The flowers are yummy on a salad and make it look pretty
2) The leaves can be stewed like mustard greens. Oh wait - it's wild mustard so they ARE mustard greens.
3) Guess what you get if you dry and grind the seeds? You got it, mustard powder, the base of one of my favorite condiments.
Nutritionally speaking, this plant is high in vitamin K and folic acid, two things that seem to run low in our diet at this time of year after two months of mostly canned veggies.
Get the flowers while you can, but avoid the roadside ditch ones. Those have a little too much oil dust on them.