All posts in category “In the Wild”

  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: Five garden weeds to put on your plate

    My garden is barely a postage stamp.

    Right now, it’s mostly a barren swath of soil, home to a clematis that keeps hitting the snooze button and some early rising rhubarb that’s up but barely at ’em.
    I love it, though, for the gifts that it provides. Sure, I feel grateful when the herbs and vegetables I plant each year grow and thrive and reward me weeks and months later for what little effort I put into their upkeep.
    It’s the surprise gifts that I love more, though. The ones I don’t plant.

    The weeds.
    Yes, what other gardeners despise and work out the day’s frustrations by pulling, I take delight in letting grow. I don’t fret about these herbaceous squatters competing for sunlight and nutrients with those perennials who have seniority in my plot or any annuals who lease prime real estate for a season. The reason is simple. Most of the weeds in my tiny plot are edible, packing a health kick and more flavour than some of those invited guests we go to great lengths to make comfortable. I’m looking at you green leaf lettuce.
    Ever since the province imposed a cosmetic pesticide ban in 2008, lawns and gardens everywhere have become virtual salad bars. They’re filled with roots, leaves and blooms that had been all but banished from existence by those poison-carting tanker trucks that homeowners once hired to spray them into oblivion. And for that we should be grateful.
    As some food security advocates lobby for insect farming to feed the world, I say we should eat more weeds. Looking outside my back door, they’re plentiful and effortless to grow, so why not take advantage of what’s on offer? Here are five common garden weeds that we should be putting on our plates instead of the compost heap:
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    Category In the Garden, In the Wild

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  • Peach Tree
  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: (Almost) a Canadian love affair with ice fishing

    Ice fishing huts on Lake Erie near Fort Erie.

    The framed photo propped against the wall in my office started it all.

    The red wooden ice fishing hut against the stark backdrop of baby blue sky interrupted by the ruler-straight line of Lake Simcoe’s frozen surface was so beautiful, I had to buy it when I saw it 12 years ago at the One of a Kind craft show in Toronto.

    It also awoke in me something primordial. There was something about sitting on a frozen lake, just me, my rod and the anticipation of catching fresh fish, that led me to believe I had to go ice fishing.

    The second toe on my left foot, which regularly turns nose-wrinkling shades of purple and blue the moment it feels chilled, is the regular reminder that it was all nonsense.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Rose hip cordial reflections

    Rose Hip Cordial

    A good friend of mine once joked that she’d never worry about me going hungry should I ever find myself homeless.

    She was spurred on by my boasting of finding more wild purslane spreading over someone’s lawn or crawling out of a sidewalk crack. It’s no secret I love to forage and though I’m still learning a lot about wild edibles, I do love being able to go for a walk anywhere in this city and spotting something to eat that others pass over or write off as pesky weeds.

    Still, while the mean trails and sidewalks of St. Catharines might be no match for my stomach, homelessness is a fate that scares the hell out of me.

    I have the security of a regular pay cheque and a home that I own. I have a husband with a regular pay cheque, too. And family nearby if need be. But this week, I came face to face with dozens of people who aren’t so lucky.

    Long on my list of places to visit, San Francisco was our holiday destination this year. I have dreamed about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, standing among the redwoods, riding a cable car and eating Rice-A-Roni, where it’s apparently a treat, since I was a child. And last week was finally my chance to do it all.
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    Category In the Wild, Recipes

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  • Peach Tree
  • Weeding and Eating: The Great Purslane Giveaway returns

    My name is Tiffany and I am a weedaholic.

    There’s a reason for that, not the least of which is they taste good. But when you’re purslane, not only are you pleasing to the palette, you’re super healthy, so the benefits of dining on this garden gift are seemingly endless.

    It is the misunderstood superfood, often landing in the compost heaps of annoyed gardeners when it should be landing on dinner plates, given it has more omega-3 fatty acids than just about any other edible plant. These are fatty acids that are good for heart health.

    Antioxidants? Purslane is packed with them. Vitamin A to help keep you seeing clearly? Purslane has nearly every other leafy green vegetable beat.
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    Category In the Garden, In the Wild

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