|Wild Greens for Fritters|
One of the things we love about this time of year is that we have so many wild edible plants right outside our door. I have discovered (and invented) some delicious recipes. Fritters are one of our favorites, whether they're made with Fiddleheads, Dandelions, Wild Chives, Alaska Ginseng (Devil’s Club) or just about anything else we find in the woods or in our garden. We are especially thankful for all these wild greens because we can’t even plant our garden until the end of May.
While my husband has been away guiding for the last 7 weeks, our boys and I have been working extra hard all day. Well, the boys do get a lot of well-deserved play time at the creek. They have been such a help to me while their daddy has been away. The last couple of weeks have provided special treats of new wild plants. Lately, we’ve been stopping work an hour or so before suppertime to go for a walk and gather part of our next meal. It is incredibly satisfying to be able to do that (not to mention FUN), and I am so thankful that we live in such a place. I was brought up in a very large city, and I certainly do not take this lifestyle for granted. I know we have been blessed.
I grew up in the Deep South, where a meal was not a proper meal if it didn’t include something deep fried. Tomorrow night, I’m going to add some wild greens and Dandelions to our pizza (not fried, but I’m not complaining!) Tonight we had one of our favorite meals --- Fritters!
You can make fritters from just about anything. If you don’t have the wild plants I used this time (recipe below), use whatever edibles you have, even if they’re from the grocery store or a patio garden. Cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and many more vegetables all work just fine. Use just one, or a mixture. Add meat, if you like, or leave it out. Add other herbs and seasonings for even more variety. Careful on that. It's easy to overpower the wild greens with too many spices.
When I want a sweet fritter for breakfast, rather than a savory fritter for supper, I’ll usually stick with flowers. Dandelion or Elder flowers work great for this. Just remember to use no more than half the salt in the recipe below, and omit the pepper. You can make the batter sweet by adding a few tablespoons of honey, brown sugar, or other sweetener. You can leave out the sweetener in the batter, and serve the fritters with maple syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or whatever else you like. Or, just toss some flowers into your favorite pancake batter.
You really can’t go wrong with fritters. If you want them a little lighter, add a tablespoon of baking powder per cup of flour. If you want eggs, use them. If not, leave them out. I use powdered milk and eggs because we live in the bush and I don’t have fresh at the moment. But if you have the fresh milk and eggs to spare, use them if you like. Your fritters will turn out delicious.
(This recipe makes a LOT, so you might want to cut it in half the first time. We like to reheat the leftovers. The texture changes --- they become a little soft, more bread-like instead of crunchy, but we still enjoy them.)
4 cups of edible wild greens and flowers
1 pound of meat - optional (ground moose or beef, chopped chicken or whatever you like)
3 cups rice flour (wheat flour works well, but the flavor and texture are a little different)
2/3 cup powdered milk (or 2 to 3 cups of fresh milk)
3 Tbsp. powdered eggs (or 2 eggs)
1 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 to 3 cups water (omit if using real, liquid milk)
Oil for Frying (I like coconut oil)
Prepare wild edibles for cooking, and set aside. Preparation will depend on what you use. Today, the boys and I picked some Alaska Ginseng (Devil’s Club) buds, Lamb’s Quarter, Chickweed, Dandelion flowers, Watermelon Berry leaves and Wild Chives. I chopped the Lamb’s Quarter, Chickweed, Watermelon Berry Leaves and Chives. I removed the stems and most of the calyx (green part) from the Dandelion flowers (scissors help with this). The Alaska Ginseng buds required no preparation, but you can chop them if you prefer. A few Fiddleheads and young Fireweed shoots would have also been nice, but it was getting late and I needed to start supper. If your plants have dirt, wash before chopping. Try to avoid places where the plants are near car exhausts, and don’t use plants that have been sprayed with chemicals.
If using meat, cook it and set aside. If it is really greasy, drain and discard the fat.
Combine flour, milk powder, egg powder, salt and pepper. Stir in 2 cups of water. If it seems dry and thick, add a little more water. If your batter ends up too thin, stir in a little more flour. Stir in the meat and prepared wild plants. The batter should not be like dough, but it should not be watery, either.
In a heavy skillet, heat oil for frying. You should have about ¼ to ½ inch of oil. More won’t hurt. Drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. When the bottom is brown, turn and brown the other side. Watch to make sure they don’t burn. If you fry too slowly, they become greasy. When done, remove fritters from oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Serve with mustard, barbecue sauce, or just eat ‘em as they are. We had them with a green salad of new Watermelon Berry leaves, Chickweed, Lamb’s Quarter, Wild Chives, French Sorrel from my garden, and Wild Geranium Flowers. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the salad next time.
|Wild Edibles cooked up into Fritters|