Monday, April 27, 2009

Foraging marsh marigolds

The girls love foraging in our backyard for greens and grubs (and they also quickly discovered that our new bird bath is a giant watering's so like Sarah to jump up on top of it.)

Me, I've taken to foraging in our backyard too, but just for greens. Last year, I identified the flower you see below as a creeping buttercup.

Actually, I mis-identified it, which I realized after seeing a page on Michael Warren Thomas' site which identified a whole field of similar looking flowers as marsh marigolds.

Remembering from my copy of Euell Gibbons Stalking the Healthful Herbs that marsh marigolds are edible, I did some research to make sure that they truly are marsh marigolds. After all, if I can dig them up and eat them, it feels so much more satisfying than digging them up and throwing them in the compost.

In case you're ever asked, marsh marigolds have heart shaped leaves, and creeping buttercups have leaves divided into three sections (there's a much more botanically correct way to describe that, but that's what I got after decoding the botany speak).

It took 3 changes of water to get the greens clean, and then 3 doses of pouring boiling water over them to get out the bitterness, but it was worth it. I also foraged some chives from a walk in Oatka Creek Park. They had tons of marsh marigolds as well, in case you don't happen to have any growing in your improperly drained back yard, like I do. Gibbons recommends that you just cut off the leaves, if you're foraging them in the wild.

After consulting Euell Gibbons and Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I made a fresh spring greens tart from the marigold leaves and the chives, with chevre from Lively Run, our girls' eggs, and some other random cheeses I had around.

It tasted great!

Zoe enjoyed the foraging at the park as well...jumping in the water to cool off.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting & helpful. Now I realize what I thought was Marsh Marigold is the creeping stuff. Did you find info about eating or preparing the Creeping Buttercups?

Julie said...

Hi,, I didn't find anything that you said you could eat the creeping buttercups...sorry!


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