Every year around this time I write a column laying out my goals for wild food foraging in the coming year. This year I plan to expand that a little to not only include foraging, but recipes and crafts to try.
Drop me a line if you know anything about any of this.
• Thistle pickles: Last year I finally sampled the tender inner stem of a thistle and found, much to my excitement, that they tasted great. This year I plan to make pickles; however, I have to find a pickle recipe that will not turn them to mush. If anyone has a pickle recipe for tender veggies, let me know.
• Greens: I'm also planning to try to "put up" several greens, including lambs quarter and nettles. The nettles make a very pleasant soup. Having finally made a venison ham this past year I decided that a nettle soup with venison ham would be the next logical step. If you have an abundance of lambs quarter, nettles or purslane, call and I'll take it off your hands.
• Caviar: As it turns out, you can make caviar from the eggs of many fish, including perch and pike, both of which are apparently enjoyed in other countries. I must admit I'm a little squeamish about this one, but if I am lucky enough to catch the right fish this winter (that's when the eggs are ripe) I'll have to give it a try. Apparently it is as easy as soaking eggs in brine. If anyone has ever done this, or would like to experiment also, get in touch.
• Homemade cheese: Possibly the biggest goal I have this next year will be homemade cheese. Between the venison summer sausage, fruit paste and liver pate recipes I have shared with you readers recently, it is probably no surprise I also want to make my own cheese for spreads and cheese and cracker trays. If I have any readers who have delved into the world of homemade cheese in the past, I'd welcome any input.
• Clay: In the non-food realm, I am also going to be on the lookout for clay in the coming year. I could almost harvest enough clay for a large brick works out of my own yard, but I'm afraid digging it up would make my driveway impassable. I know some other sources, but if my readers know of a place where clay tends to boil up out of the ground, I'd love to come harvest some. I guess I might need advice on firing clay in a way that doesn't risk damage to someone's kiln too.
• Crayfish: I have made plans every year to harvest crayfish to make a popcorn shrimp substitute, but it seems I never get around to doing it either because of time limitations, weather or general business. I will have to try, try again this year.