Day 1 – The Beginning

Today I started the 30 More Days Living Off The Land.

These daily posts will contain only the basics of the days activities. A complete version will be written at the end of the 30 days, along with extra videos.

I made a morning introduction video.

<video to be placed here after editing>

I then proceeded to gather foods from around my land.

Today were some very basic and common plants.

VIOLETS

Violets are easily recognized by many people. But many people are not aware of the food source in their yard. The official name is Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia). It is not only edible it is also high in vitamin A and C. It is native to the Eastern US has been used medicinally for various illnesses such as colds, coughs and sore throats.

It is not bitter, like so many wild plants are. It can be eaten raw or added to other prepared foods. Both the flowers and leaves are edible.

I gathered them today and plan on eating them uncooked, mixed in a simple salad.

Common Blue Violets

I am 6′ 2″ and just over 200 lbs. The amount of violets in the picture will not fill me up. This just for display. I will be picking much more for my meals today.

The next item on the menu is even more common and recognizable than the violet.

DANDELION

The dandelion is the bane of purist groundskeepers.

The common name is a corruption of the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth. This refers the sharp toothed leaves.

Lion’s tooth

I am gathering several parts. In fact I just collect the entire plant. The only unusable part is the extremely bitter flower stem. Even this could be eaten but I wouldn’t recommend it.

The most obvious and easily gathered part is the flower.

Once again, be sure to remove the entire stem.

Next, the leaves are collected. The younger the leaves, the less bitter they are. Note I said less bitter. To me, at least the leaves are always somewhat bitter. As a child my father used to make a simple gravy with vinegar, flour, milk and sometimes bacon. This gravy did a good job of making the leaves palatable. I believe my father got the recipe from his childhood Amish neighbors.

Dandelion leaves

now on to my favorite part of the Dandelion. Called the crown. This is at the base of the leaves and stem. It the part between the leaves and the root. I like it because it can be stirred fried or sautéed and is somewhat crunchy and very little bitterness.

Dandelion crown with the leaves a root cut away
Dandelion crowns

Finally the last part that I never use. The root.

Dandelion roots

I am told the roots can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute. I don’t care for regular coffee so I am not looking for a substitute. Coffee smells like the northbound end of a southbound skunk to me. But that may just be my senses. Feel free to try it.

GARLIC MUSTARD

On to a plant that is never a main course for me. I usually use Garlic Mustard as a condiment or flavor enhancer.

Garlic Mustard

As it’s name implies Garlic Mustard has a garlic flavor. And it is one of the many members of the mustard family. I add it to soups or salads.

It is best to use the first year leaves. They grow low to the ground and have better flavor. The second year they grow tall and go to seed.

Small first year Garlic Mustard leaves at the top left. Large second year on the right

WINTERCRESS

And finally, one of my least favorite, but always available spring plants. Wintercress is often the first plant you will see in the spring. And as it’s name implies it is often found shooting up through the snow in late winter. Which is probably why it has the common name Yellow Rocket.

Wintercress or Yellow Rocket

I find Wintercress to bitter with no flavor I like. But I eat it when available. It reminds me of arugula. Another domestic vegetable I don’t care for.

The tops before the yellow flowers come out are somewhat like broccoli. Not in flavor, just in looks.

So here is a plate with all of today’s plants.

Main meal – Day 1

Again, this is not the actual meals. Just the ingredients. I will prepare them to make them more enjoyable. During this 30 days I will cover some of the recipes for these plants. I will be eating them regularly while adding many more for variety.

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