This past Sunday, I attended my third wild edible plants class. I am so glad I signed up for this series…I really look forward to the class each month, and I always come away feeling excited and inspired.
This month, our main focus was on plants in the rose family. I had no idea Rosaceae was so diverse: it includes everything from wild and cultivated roses to raspberries and strawberries to stone fruits (including apricots, cherries, and plums). Dainty cinquefoil flowers (edible) and showy spirea shrubs (not edible, as far as I know) are also in the rose family.
For part of each class, we meander around my friend Halyna’s beautiful homestead while she points out and tells us about the edible plants all around us. I also gaze at her beautiful animals :)
Then, we go back to Halyna’s kitchen and she shows us how to prepare the plants in a variety of ways. We sip tea replete with fresh herbs and pepper Halyna with all sorts of questions about what she’s making. Halyna’s lovely mother lives nearby and often joins us: they are both a wealth of knowledge about medicinal plants. In our kitchen session this time, we feasted on cattails slathered with butter, cooked milkweed flowers drenched in a fabulous herbal vinagrette, and elderflower fritters drizzled with rose honey. Halyna’s family is Ukrainian, so she also showed us how to make uncooked preserved rose petals that are traditionally used to fill doughnuts in the Ukraine at Christmastime.
To make this recipe, you start with 2 cups of freshly picked, tightly packed rose petals. Use the most fragrant (and definitely unsprayed) rose petals you can find. We used pink rose petals when we made this at Halyna’s house; I’ve used red ones here.