Have you seen our posts for the Forage Connections classes? Well, we’re expanding our
offerings! After two successful classes, the first on wild spices and the second on early spring experiments, we’ve decided to make these a permanent part of our curriculum.
Want to see a list of what we’ll offer? That’s the coolest part: each class is curated and unique. One of the hardest parts of learning something new is getting enough repetition to make something stick, so each Forage Connection class will be introducing some new items along with reviewing others that you may already be familiar with.
For example, the “Bring Wild Spring to Your Table” class hosted at Blade & Spade Apothecary in Lancaster, PA had five different stations.
Viola sororia, the unscented violet found everywhere, had three jars of sugar blended with violet flowers. The ratios were different as was the use of wet vs. dry violets. There were two versions of violet syrup: one with lemon juice and one without. There was also a container of candied, unboiled lemon rinds with hibiscus and aji amarillo pepper.
Flower pickled, & dried. Students got to taste 3 seasonal flowers preserved in vinegars such as strawberry apple cider & rice wine with cardamom. Japanese Magnolia three ways: petals in simple syrup, dried petals, & fermented, dried petals.
Dips were the next stop. One dip, the sunflower “hummus”, was made with chickweed. There was a recipe for chimichurri along with fresh examples of bee balm, giant chickweed, dandelion greens, and a “horseradish” sauce made with garlic mustard roots.
The greens and shoots table had a series of 5 plain steamed greens and 2 steamed shoots. There was also a control for greens tasting, spinach, and controls for shoots were green beans and okra.
Mushrooms introduced were wood ears cook in plain oil with no salt to understand the texture, and mini chanterelles were prepared both plain in oil and cooked with a small amount of flowered hot honey. There were specimens of each in their dried form and rehydrated to touch and examine along with information about other seasonal mushrooms.
We discussed what to expect when foraging at this time of the year, a few components of safety, and we talked about what they were inspired to try out. Some people found items they absolutely did not like, and others were surprised at how good some unsung heroes of wild foods can be.
To explore the stations students were broken into small groups of 2 or 3, and they were encouraged to ask questions of each other. Nobody was in the group they came with, and the explorations of flavor were incredible. A little exposure to someone else’s viewpoint was such an important part of the class, and we’re excited to see more connections made on a personal level.
Keep an eye out for Crew Members’ emails. We’ll be rolling out a new series of May and June classes soon!