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Freshly Foraged 2020

It's true, I miss having my own vegetable garden.

As a plant & Earth lover, I love the practice of growing my own food! I've had a few gardens so far, ranging from container veggie gardening on my porch in Jamestown to a full sized raised bed in south Minneapolis. Some of the best food comes from home-grown fruits & veggies, seasoned with your own herbs!

If the van was any bigger, I'd be lobbying hard for a grow light or window for an herb & micro-green & sprout & lettuce garden. (But I've clearly not thought about that at all...)

That being said, the next best thing to our own garden- our own Earth! (And/or the local farmer's market.) We found these giant puffball mushrooms (yes, that's really what they're called!) in Illinois on a disc golf course this August.

I'm still new to the foraging game, so as of yet we've only eaten some of the more easily identifiable wild mushrooms such as these & chicken of the woods. ALWAYS be absolutely sure about whatever it is you are eating! Remember the old adage- "When in doubt, throw it out!"

These giant puffball mushrooms we found in Illinois at Idlewild last summer. I read & verified the identification info (& got a recipe idea!) and found that the smaller one in the photo above was a little past its prime, and had succumbed to some insect life. The one on the right was diced & split among some friends. They can be used in place of button mushrooms in recipes, compelling me to make some Italian pasta sauce from scratch. Absolutely delicious.

I picked these tangy treats right off the Preserve course in Minnesota, only about 15 miles from where I went to middle school. I'm not going to lie, this specific collection of wild berries did not make it until the next morning.

What I did do was get up a few minutes earlier than the first card the next morning & picked fresh ones for our pancakes. As my grandmother does, I make my pancakes with crispy edges and soft n' fluffy centers. The added sweetness and sharpness of the berries was the perfect summertime breakfast bite.

Note: Was too good not to repeat a few times.

While at a brand new course in Myrtle Beach (notice a trend here?) I spotted these lions mane fellas hanging out after a period of rain about 16 or so feet in the air.

We originally tried to get them by reaching out of the van but still weren't tall enough.

James attempted to knock them loose with his long arms and an umbrella, but no dice.

Eventually, we ended up using the vine in the photo to slice off that left most piece. We were left with a chunk of lion's mane mushroom so big we had plenty to split and share with friends.

Originally, I had planned to slice and sautee them with garlic and butter, but after some advice on a Facebook mushroom group, we ended up making imitation crab cakes!

They turned out surprisingly similar to the actual thing!

After thoroughly washing and slicing them, I used saltine crumbles, egg as a binder, and seasoned them with Old Bay & extra cracked black pepper. Would you like the recipe?

I'm hoping the 2021 tour season will bring even more opportunities for freshly foraged creations, I can't wait!

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