Monday, September 23, 2013

Foraging Towards Heaven

There  is no future out of the abyss that we've created for ourselves as a populace. That being said, sometimes we can find kernels of hope that can erratically burst with life in the otherwise doomed wasteland we call society. One of these that I was most blessed to find was in a book entitled, "Backyard Foraging", by Ellen Zachos. This very engaging annal documents 64+ plants that can be harvested, prepared and eaten by us humans. This women is a saint and I would gladly do most anything she requested.


This is because much of my Boston experience has revolved around the act of muttering vehemently at the flora that is present as if it could even listen. TThis is due in part to the immense amount of invasive and especially non-native invasive species of plant that inhabit the Urban Wilds. The Norway MapleJapanese Barberryswallow wort and Purple Loose Strife really do as much to crush our hopes and dreams for the future as they horde space, water and resources away from vegetation that would actually give something ecologically. Don't get me started on the Japanese Knotweed which could probably grow on top of your X-box console as it is that adept. These plants are hell on earth yet and in many ways we've lost any semblance of control over them.

The joy of Dr. Zachos' (I don't know if she officially holds a doctorate but I will certainly regard her that way!) book is that it guides you through the realization that  much of these horrid weeds are edible! Not only are there many edible plants out there, but many are healthy and sometimes delicious! For example...
Milkweed  - Many edible parts.
Dandelions - many edible parts (come forth sometime and we can brew some dandelion wine!)
Sassafras leavesDay Lily flowers, Garlic MustardRose Hips = edible, edible, edible, succulent!

And yes, the Knotweed is edible too. We're thus able strike back in a way that can help us be stewards of our environment and of our bellies. Some of the choice edibles one has to be considerate of. We shant' eat too many huckleberries for there might not be enough for everyone. You might also think, that a meal of just plants isn't the greatest. However only plants is what ultra-Runner Scott Jurek eats and that man has run hundreds of miles at a  time! Can you argue with that?
You Can't Argue With That
Somewhat related (though mostly not at all), this book can remind us of the works of the angry scientist Gary Taubes. This man, I believes, spends a lot of time writing to espouse an Atkins type diet saying that refined carbohydrates are what make us fat. It would be important, from Taubes perspective, that any of our carbs that we consume come from vegetation that is harder for our body to digest. This would prevent the insulin spikes that cause our cells to horde their fat rather than burn it. You can eat the squirrels too, but certainly don't refine any damn wheat into flour. Taubes will get you!


I now enjoy my runs now interspersed with foraging romps through the patches of Knotweed. I try to crush much of it (don't worry it's a futile effort and there will plenty of the damn weed to go around) as I wade through it's satanic groves. I look for ripe shoots that I can feast upon as I become satiated on their slightly lemony flavor and the sense that I am giving out at least a tiny fraction of the justice that they deserve as a species. This gives me at least an grain of hope. Make sure one only forages from plants at least 100 feet from roads!
What if we could all join together in foraging? We could all ignore the reams of products that the industrial food complex like to regurgitate upon us. The Spinach I like at the Shop and Stop costs me at least $3.00! I could forage my own salad and in fact the dandelion leaves are healthier! If we could all forage somewhat we could both do a small amount to help dismantle the machine that looms over us all and help maybe stem the overwhelming flood of invasive plants and their utter wrathfulness upon our fertile land.

The Machine

Thank you and god bless america.