Oct 112011

In good times or bad our island community can benefit from the bountiful supply of wild food

waiting to be harvested: wild greens, berries, sea vegetables, mushrooms, trees and sea animals can supplement and enrich our diets.

A couple of weeks ago, writer and teacher Jennifer Hahn spoke to a packed house at The Grange about her new book Pacific Feast subtitled A Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine.

I bought Pacific Feast and read it and honestly have to report that I enjoyed the talk and Ms Hahn’s energetic personality more than the book which was aimed too much at the “foodie” market with lots of recipes you could use to dazzle your foodie friends.

Her message, however, is very clear: there’s lots of food out there waiting to be eaten from nettles to clams, from maple blossoms to Turkish towel (that reddish searsuckered seaweed you find on the beach).

Pacific Feast will broaden your horizons when it comes to wild food. For example, she does provide details on how to harvest, store and prepare all of our edible seaweeds with caveats on sustainability. And though many of us have eaten all the local wild berries, experimented with nettles, collected mushrooms, clammed and crabbed, few of us have sugared a maple or made use of the ubiquitous seaweed.

Along with the book a pocket foraging guide was available which I hope represented the book Ms. Hahn really wanted to write. The photos are small and the print is smaller but it provides the essential information contained in Pacific Feast and will be a handy reminder for me to try: 1) Making rose hip jam, 2) Eat some young Oregon grape leaves, 3) Add more edible weeds to our salads, 4) Try sugaring, 5) Experiment with sea vegetables.


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