We have food in abundance all around us. In spring, it's exciting to be able to eat fresh from the land once again. These foods can all be found in Wisconsin, and are a great way to connect back to nature, the Earth, and the bounty of the seasons. I hope you'll try some out!
Tucked away in the corner of my grandparent's hay field is a magical place. Hidden behind a thicket of brush and trees is a small clearing and in it a hidden gem of a wild apple tree. This tree is by far the best wild apple tree I've ever come across, producing large delicious apples year after year. They are the perfect apple for pies, apple crisp, and especially applesauce, which we preserve so that we can enjoy the sweet apple taste of fall even in the dark winter months.
I've mentioned it before- harvesting from Mother Nature's naturally cared for garden is amazing. I literally have to do absolutely no work in the growing process, but get to reap the benefits of delicious food. All I have to do is go outside, take what I need, thank God for the gift, and enjoy it. Score!
When I first heard about eating dandelions, I'm not going to lie, I thought it sounded disgusting. Eating weeds? Gross! Turns out they're actually not. Eaten fresh, dandelions are a kind of bitter salad vegetable with a hint of that dandelion-smell taste. It can be comparable to arugula. We chose to eat them cooked on quesadillas, and they were really quite tasty! In fact, the greens themselves were pretty much
I I love spring. Spring is a symbol for so much. It is a reminder that life continues and will get better after challenges. It represents new beginnings. It helps us to recognize how beautiful and amazing our planet is as everything becomes green and fresh once again after the winter's rest.
I've always been one to believe that God has provided us with all that we need, which is one of the reasons I'm moving towards a self-sufficient lifestyle. Our planet is filled with beauty, with food, and with all that we need to survive. We just need to figure out how it all works and works together so that we can reap the harvest.
I still have a lot to learn when it comes to foraging. My grandpa is the third generation to live on their farm homestead, and he talks about his mom's foraging here in Wisconsin and all that she gathered from Mother Nature's garden. One of the things she collected each spring was mushrooms. Mushrooms are tricky- it's hard to know which are poisonous and which aren't! My grandpa can easily differentiate between the edible mushrooms and the non-edible mushrooms, though explaining that knowledge isn't quite as easy. He says he can just tell by the smell which are edible or not, and my sniffer just isn't trained like his. I know there are edible mushrooms in our forests here, but learning how to find them is still something I need to learn to do.
Earlier this spring, C pointed out that it looked like some flowers were growing next to the chicken coop in the woods. I took a mental note of the leaves and figured I'd wait to see what they were as the spring progressed. Then one night when I was up nursing the baby, I had a revelation- they were wild leeks! I had seen these before during school forest trips with the fourth graders at my school. Otherwise known as ramps, these wild leeks are small onion-like plants are completely edible from the bulb to the leaves and taste like a combination of a green onion and garlic. They're one of the first things that can be harvested in the spring, and such an exciting treat. To have them here next to our house would be super exciting!
I started looking online for pictures to make sure what I had was actually leeks, and I could hardly wait until morning to get outside and dig a few out.
We are just wrapping up our maple syrup season here in Northcentral Wisconsin. It really is one of my favorite times of the year! It's a reminder that spring really is on its way and that the harshness of winter will be ending soon. For those of us in Wisconsin, where winter seems to last the entire year, maple syrup really is a welcome labor!
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