Saturday, April 30, 2016

Let's Make Dandelion Tea Cake

Originally called "Dandelion Bread," I changed the name of the recipe to Dandelion Tea Cake, because this is much more cake-like than bread-like (think Zucchini Bread.)

The original recipe is from the Food Storage and Survival Blog.

I altered it a bit to make it gluten-free, dairy-free and practically oil-free.

First you'll need to gather a lot of dandelion flowers, which shouldn't be too hard this time of year! Then pinch off the green underpart and toss the yellow petals into a bowl. It's ok if there is a bit of green here and there, but the greens are bitter, so the more you can remove the better.

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour (I ground buckwheat grouts in a coffee grinder)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dandelion petals
  • 1 mashed banana with drizzle olive oil (I used in place of 1/4 c veg oil)
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup cashew milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients, including dandelion petals, into bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, then combine with dry ingredients.
  4. Pour into oiled loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, then turn down heat to 350 and bake 20 more minutes.
Delicious served warm with tea. I boiled the extra dandelion flowers (greens and all) into a tea, to which I added a little honey.
I ate it plain, but it is also good topped with honey or butter.

Tea Time!!!
Happy Foraging!
~ Melissa Sokulski
Food Under Foot

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Juicing Japanese Knotweed

Today we found another big patch of Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum, or Fallopia japonica) in our neighborhood, and we decided to try juicing it!

Here is a closer picture of the shoot coming up out of the ground. You'll notice the many joints (poly = many, gonum = knees) along the stalk.

We stripped the heart shaped leaves from the stalk, which is the part we wanted to juice. The stalk is mottled, or speckled with red, and hollow:

The stalks can be peeled, which is definitely recommended if you are eating it raw, or even preparing it by steaming. The outer part is very stringy and tough.

Since we were putting them though a juicer, though, we did not peel all the stalks. Here they are in the sink being washed:

Here is Ella juicing them:

The result was a vibrant green tart tasting juice. It would have been fine to drink on it's own, but we added some juiced apples. Though the apples we added were red (gala, I believe) the result tasted exactly like juice from Granny Smiths - very delicious!

Japanese Knotweed contains resveratrol, which is a beneficial nutrient for the heart and brain. Resveratrol is what makes drinking red wine beneficial, though there is more resveratrol in Japanese Knotweed than red wine. The resveratrol supplements are usually made using Japanese Knotweed. The concentration is highest in the roots, but is still present in the stalk.

People have also begun using Japanese Knotweed as prevention and/or treatment for Lyme's disease. For more information on this check out Stephen Herrod Buhner's book Healing Lyme, which you can find, along with other information about Japanese Knotweed and Lyme disease, at his website, Buhner Healing Lyme.

Now is the time to harvest Japanese Knotweed, if you are interested in steaming, munching on, or juicing the stalks! Best to get them as young shoots, before they become tough and woody, which will be in about a month.


~ Melissa Sokulski

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Making Dandelion Wine

It's that time of year again! Dandelion flowers popping over playgrounds, yards, and hillsides! Find your favorite patch that is far from car traffic, spraying and fertilizing and pick those blossoms. If you want to make wine from them, here is another "vintage" post from the old blog, giving step-by-step instructions of how we did it.

The wine itself turned out very sweet, but also delicious! It will be ready to drink on the Winter Solstice - yum!

We are in the process of making dandelion wine! Or should I say...the wine is made, it just needs to ferment some more before we cork it and let it rest until winter solstice.
I read quite a few recipes for how to make dandelion wine, and solicited your favorites. I combined them together to do what I did.

  • 1 gallon dandelion flower heads (I kept the green "collars" on, I read to do it both ways (pulling the yellow petals off of the green necks and just using the petals...I used the whole thing.)
  • 1 gallon water (I was going to use more but it turned out both my largest pot and largest crock could only hold a gallon, so that's what I used.)
  • 3 lbs sugar (organic sugar cane is what I used.)
  • 1 packet yeast (photo below)
  • 2 organic oranges, with rinds peeled and saved, the orange sliced (photos below)
  • 1 organic lemon, with rinds peeled and saved, lemon sliced (photo below)
  • handful of organic raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves


Boil a gallon of water and pour over the dandelion blossoms. Cover loosely and let tea steep for 2 days.

Strain tea (reserving liquid of course! You can compost the flowers at this point) and return to the stove. Add 3 lbs of sugar, lemon and orange rinds, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil and simmer for about an hour.

Pour from pot into crock and add the sliced oranges, lemons and raisins.

Once it has cooled to body temperature, sprinkle a packet of yeast on top.

Cover with a cloth and let sit 3 days to a week (I did 3 days). When you put your ear close to it you can hear it fizzing (crackling.)

 Strain (reserving liquid!!!!). I first strained it through a colander to get the big stuff out, then strained it through two jelly bags.

Let sit another day, covered with the cloth (will let extra "stuff" settle to the bottom.)

Pour into bottles, leaving some room at the top. Cover bottles with balloon which will indicated (by inflating) that quite a bit of fermentation is still taking place. Poke a pin hole in each balloon so that it doesn't get too full and pop or fly off the bottle.

Once the balloons stop inflating, you can cork the bottles and store in a cool dark place for at least six months.

Cheers! Enjoy!!!

~ Melissa

Monday, April 25, 2016

Earth Day Wild Walks at Frick Park, 2016

photo credit: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

We had excellent weather for two amazing walks yesterday at Frick Park's Earth Day Celebration! Thanks so much to everyone who came!

We discussed so many wild edibles including:
  • Redbud (we found a white variety)

  • Garlic Mustard (pictured in top picture, white 4-petaled flowers)
  • Dandelion (yellow flower in top picture)
  • Violets

  • Burdock

  • Broad Leafed Dock
  • Cleavers
  • Deadnettles

  • Ground Ivy/Creeping Charlie
  • Chickweed

  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Plantain

Thanks everyone for coming! Hope to see you again soon!

~ Melissa

Monday, April 11, 2016


Welcome Food Under Foot Foraging Friends!!

Glad you found us at our new home on blogger/blogspot!

I'd like to thank you all for your continued support as we have been struggling with the logistics of our old wordpress blog. But as everyone knows: the cycle of life and seasons goes ever onward, and here we are, looking at a gorgeous foraging year ahead for 2016!

Morel season has begun!

Though we haven't been out looking yet they seem to be popping up all around us...after today's rain and this week's warming spell, I can't wait to get out and start looking!

Also seen:
  • garlic mustard
  • onion grass/wild chives
  • chickweed
  • deadnettles
  • nettles
  • dandelions
  • burdock greens (and roots when you dig them!)
  • young Japanese knotweed shoots
  • redbuds and just starting to bloom (the flowers are edible!)
  • Dryad's saddles mushroom should be coming out
  • coltsfoot
  • catnip
  • mullein
Hope to see you soon! Our first walks of the season will be with Frick Park on Earth Day, Sunday April 24 at 1 and 3:30 pm. Visit our events page for more information. Hope to see you there!

~ Melissa

Vintage Post: Nettles and Broccoli Quiche

Here is a vintage blog post from 2012. A delicious way to eat all the nettles that have been popping up this spring!

Recipe: Gluten-free Broccoli Nettle Quiche

ovo-lacto vegetarian: contains milk, cheese and eggs

by Melissa Sokulski

Preheat oven: 375 F

Line a pie plate with the "crust": one cup or so of cooked quinoa (you can also use brown rice, a layer of thinly sliced raw potatoes, or omit crust.) 

Spread quinoa over the bottom of pie pan.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large bunch stinging nettles
  • 1 small tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 c milk (or water, yogurt or soy milk, etc.)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow pan, steam broccoli and nettles in a little water (covered) for about 5 minutes until broccoli is bright green and nettles has completely wilted.

Remove from pan and when cooled a bit, chop nettles into small pieces and broccoli into smaller pieces.

Saute onion in oil (can add some salt) until onion is translucent. Add nettles and broccoli. Turn off heat and mix in chopped tomatoes.

In bowl: mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

Spread grated cheese on top of quinoa, add the veggies next, pour the egg mixture over top (pour slowly, allowing egg to sink in.)

Use fork to poke quiche to bottom of pie pan so that egg mixture can run all the way down, this will hold crust together. Poke all around quiche.

Bake until top is browned and egg no longer jiggles, about 45 minutes.

This quiche is delicious! I brought it to a Passover Seder (quinoa is not a true grain and can be eaten during Pesach.) Of course it is wonderful anytime.


~ Melissa Sokulski