Pick or give the flick? Mow or grow? Spray or sauté?
What we define as food often lies in the eye of the beholder, restricted how we've been socialised to eat a very limited number of plant species usually based on what supermarket giants stock their shelves with. But there is a whole world out there that can be harnessed if you educate yourself and go about it safely.
I recommend The Weed Forager’s Handbook: A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland (foreword by Costa Georgiadis) from as well as Diego Bonetto's highly informative edible weed foraging walks and the Wild Food Map app plant descriptions, which I helped to compile.
This is one of my prime foraging spots and only a few doors down from home so I know it is safe. There are up to ten different edible species on this lawn and I love it when my neighbour doesn't mow it for a while so I can have my fill.
This is Dock. It's a weed. You can eat it. It has a beautiful lemony flavour. Pick it, it's rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamins A and C. Better yet, it costs nothing!
I'm using it in a delicious Asian inspired salad tonight.
Delish and nutrish! Almost everything in this salad is a 'reject' ingredient. Rescuing 'reject' food is the hippest thing (after foraging!) that the cool kids on the block are doing these days. Does that mean we rebel against it cause it's become chic? Hell no. Any promotion of these millennia old culinary and sustainable practices is wonderful I reckon! Rescued foods are things like 'ugly veges'... or 'knobbly fruits'. Produce that would have usually been tossed so that every item could look perfect and uniform on the supermarket shelf. Well even supermarkets are getting on board and selling imperfect produce, which is great for farmers who don't have to toss their harvest, and great for consumers because it's usually discounted. Yay!
Wild Dock and Green Papaya Asian Inspired Salad-
Shredded green papaya (gifted from a colleague's tree, mouldy spots on skin were cut out)
Shredded spray free carrots (knobbly-looking bits n bobs from Orange Grove Market, don't be afraid of imperfect looking roots!)
Wild foraged dock leaves, finely chopped
Celery leaves, finely chopped
Coriander leaves and stems, roughly chopped
Dressing (1/3 acid : 2/3 fat ratio)-
Sesame oil, several 'glugs'
Juice of two lemons (I literally found a pile of slightly past it lemons dumped on the side of the street. They were still good, so I took 'em home!)
Grated turmeric and ginger root (I strained this out of my kombucha - waste nothing)
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
Tblsp raw honey
Drizzle of coconut aminos OR Red Boat fish sauce OR tamari
Sesame seeds (activate by soaking overnight)
Mix dressing ingredients and toss thoroughly with salad ingredients. Served with tinned wild pacific red salmon, skin on (omega 3s), bones in (calcium), topped in extra grated ginger/turmeric from the dressing.
Tastes divine and is super light.