Foraged Meals

Every farmer or gardener has to contend with weeds. Yes, they are very annoying, and even organic purists are sometimes tempted to resort to chemical solutions. Sometimes when dealing with a really annoying situation, you have to change your perspective and see the positive. Instead of getting pissed every time we have to weed buckwheat sprouts and dandelions out of the beds, Carly and I see it as an opportunity to harvest lunch.

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Dandelions started flowering about a week ago. Here's Carly harvesting the flowers for fritters.
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Buckwheat sprouts are popping up among the onions we planted. Anthony planted buckwheat as a cover crop last Fall. (Un)Fortunately, some a volunteering this Spring.

ImageAfter finishing a few morning projects on the farm, we gathered some sprouts and dandelions for lunch: dandelion fritters and sandwiches with buckwheat sprouts. The sprouts are easy: just pull up enough for two sandwiches, wash them, snip off the roots if they are still attached…they’re ready to eat.

For dandelion fritters, you just want the flowers, not the stems. Rinse them by dipping them in a bowl of water, then air dry them on a paper towel.

To make the batter: 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup flour. (Add more flour if the batter is too runny. You want it to stick to the flowers.)

Dandelions ready to fritter!

Heat oil in a shallow pan. We used olive oil, but you should really use an oil with a higher smoke point: coconut, peanut, or a combination of butter and olive oil.

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Fritter master.

Dip dandelion flowers in the batter. Use a fork to lift them out, so that excess batter will drip off. Then add them to the oil. (Make sure the oil is hot enough. The fritters should start to sizzle immediately. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the fritters will just absorb oil instead of frying.)

Flip after a few minutes.

Fritter until beautiful golden brown…

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Lay finished fritters on paper towel to absorb oil. Enjoy with honey (for a sweet treat) or with salt (for a savory one.)

Dandelion fritters make an excellent appetizer, because they aid digestion. The slightly bitter taste (caused by a few compounds with really long names) stimulate the liver and gallbladder. Dandelions are also very nutritious, containing lots of vitamins and minerals. For more info on this, read here. Too bad they are only available for a short amount of time in the spring…

The finished product:

Dandelion fritters with a honey dip.

Dandelion Fritters and an Egg Salad Sandwich: Egg Salad (hardboiled egg plus Carly’s cilantro pesto), canned whole tomato (sliced), sharp cheddar, buckwheat sprouts, mayonnaise…all on multigrain sourdough bread. Damn.

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