22
Sep
11

Wild food

My friend Krista was telling me enthusiastically about a course she took recently; they had been learning about edible wild plants and how to use them. I was out on a nature walk today with mum, my sister Terhi and her dog, and I remembered about the birch leaf crisps… So after a quick call* to Krista, I collected some birch leaves, rowan tree leaves and nettle leaves. Of course, it’s well into autumn here (albeit warmer than usual), and the optimal time for gathering is in the spring, when the leaves are fresh. Nevertheless, I figured you could get an idea of what works and if the results are yummy, we can make some in the spring.

I forgot to take the “Before” photos, and the “After” shot doesn’t look very delicious:

The leaves are quickly fried in oil — really quickly! I think I let them in the oil for a little bit too long, so the taste was a bit burned. I know I definitely over-salted them. It’s also a good idea to place them on a paper towel or something of the like to remove some of the excess oil.

I used two types of birch leaves, but I can’t tell the individual names. The ones with velvety (and a little rounder) leaves tasted a little “bready” (or is that flour-ly?), but not bad. The sleeker (shape and texture) leaves were about the same, maybe a bit drier.

Rowan tree leaves had a slightly bitter aftertaste, but they weren’t too bad either. Maybe something for people who like vinegar…

Nettle leaves were definitely the tastiest of the bunch, possibly because they had more moisture than the others.

I can definitely see why fresh spring leaves would be better than autumn leaves even though I tried to pick ones as fresh as possible. I’ll definitely try this again come spring!

*About half an hour, which counts as a quick call when talking with her. :D 

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