Great news! It’s been a while since I posted, but there are a slew of recipes that you’ll be seeing added over the next few days. As few things in life turn out perfectly the first time, I have been refining the previous recipes and trying a few new ones, side dishes mostly. Most have been successful, but more on that later. Great news, you ask? Yes! I’ve just signed up to get certified as a solar panel installer. This means that for the next eight months, I’ll be working toward completing the necessary coursework and study hours for the National certification exam, and hopefully getting some practical experience working with panels along the way. You might be asking why this should interest you in any way… well, since I love to share, and since writing about things helps me to learn, I mean really LEARN things, I’ll be keeping a sort of study diary on this site. So if you’re wondering where to start on that whole “watts vs. volts” issue, or if you need a little brush up on your high school physics or electronics (and who doesn’t?), keep checking back often to see if I’ve covered the topic here. I’ll be using the SEI’s textbook on photovoltaic installation and repair, which is pretty much the best on out there as far as I can tell. Class starts Wednesday, so more about that then!
In the meantime, I’ve been reading a lot about urban foraging. It’s a huge topic with relatively few available references. But starting with Christopher Nyerges’ excellent Wild Foods and Useful Plants guides and also covering specific guides to my local SoCal area, I’ve been out every morning hunting for food. And it’s everywhere! Did you know that most of the plants in your garden, never mind those that professional landscapers use in public places, are edible in one way or another? Geraniums, pansies, daylilies, lavender, nasturtium, chrysanthemums, marigolds, roses and more all make tasty snacks alone or blended into recipes. You can even replace some of the gourmet items in your pantry with wild alternatives, adding an exotic flair to your cooking. For example, nasturtium seeds make an excellent caper substitute when pickled, and you can make jellies straight from your yard instead of store-bought marmalades.
If you’d like to find out more about the plants of your area, I’d highly recommend you check out a book that specializes in your area and start looking for wild foods every time you go out the front door. I have to admit that though I’d never even noticed what was edible before, now I’m finding myself distracted trying to walk down any street, looking at the possibilities. And the fruit you pick is SO much sweeter than the one you buy, even if just in principle. The book I just finished Edible and Useful Plants of California (can’t remember off-hand who wrote it) also included many great anecdotes about the Native American food and medicinal uses of various plants. When moving away from reliance on the grid, you’d do well to know a bit about the native flora of your community. And I hardly need to spell out its importance after grid-crash, except to point out that it will be the few months following immediate aid and before people’s sowed crops mature that will be hardest for individuals to survive. If you know about edible plants, then you can sit happily munching on your neighbors’ lawns while they sit inside their houses panicking. You might even get an “I told you so” out between bites. How’s that for sweet justice! Until next time, happy foraging!