Small bunches of this peppery green can be found in the aisles of your local market or grocer's. But did you know you can go straight to the source and find watercress in natural springs and streams, too?
It's springtime, which to mushroom enthusiasts means morels! My local mycology club's email list has been abuzz with discussions about morel sightings and morel forays. These little honeycombed mushrooms are front page news these days in culinary circles.
Pine nuts are the edible seeds produced by pinecones. Most pine nuts are too small to make it worth the time and trouble to harvest; only a few species of pine nuts are large enough to make it worthwhile. First, they have to be extracted from the scales of the pine cones, and then the hard outer shells have to be removed. Unless you really want to forage for your own, it's probably best to just buy them already shelled at the store!
I recently realized that I've done a lot of posts on edible wild food, and with Spring coming up, I decided it would be fun to create a roundup as a definite guide for you all, so you can go out and forage for some tasty things to eat! I think everyone should experience the simple pleasure of hiking in a park or field and picking enough greens for a salad, or berries for pies and jams. Some of my favorite childhood memories are foraging for wild foods with my parents, my brother, and our dog in the North Carolina mountains.
If you live in California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, or Arizona, you might be seeing these rosy berries in backyards, parks, and farmers' markets. Did you know they're identical or very similar to the expensive pink peppercorns sold commercially?
These mushrooms, whose name means "pine" (matsu) and "mushroom" (take) grow under pine trees in Japan, parts of China, and the North American West Coast. They're also found in parts of Northern Europe. Sought-after and prized by the Japanese, these mushrooms can sell for up to $2000 per kilogram in Japan. Here in San Francisco, I found them going for $10 per pound. Their seasonal window is very short, usually from October to January.
Last weekend, armed with my Opinel mushroom knife, I drove 2 hours up Highway 1 to Salt Point State Park on the Sonoma Coast to join other members of the Mycological Society of San Francisco on the monthly Mushroom Foray that the Sonoma County Mycological Association (SOMA) hosts from September to May. Given the recent rains we had on the California coast, I was excited to start rooting through the woods for fungal treasures. The weather was perfect - clear skies and sunny, and not too cold.
Q: I have a GREAT problem - 20 pounds of morel mushrooms. We went hunting for them in Montana and dried them; so far we've fried them up, had them in cream sauce over elk steaks, and diced in eggs.
I don't cook with any other mushrooms, though, so am stumped with what to do with all of these now. Even though we have so many, I don't want to go wasting them on random internet recipes — I trust the readers of this site, so would love some suggestions!