|Rocky Mountain Juniper Berries in spring.|
I crushed up a handful and sprinkled it atop a quiche we brought with us for lunch, and a fine compliment it was. But even better was one, yes one lonely berry, bruised and dropped inside a bottle of sparkling water. A more refreshing drink is hard to find. Fynn just ate th' berries raw, one after another. Here he is now popping one into his mouth.
|Fynn eating juniper berries|
Without waiting to solve that mystery, we kept on exploring. Following a mostly dry, at this time of year, creekbed led us to some new growth of cow parsnip.
|Cow Parsnip, early spring growth|
|Cow Parsnip seeds and stalks.|
Not far from th' parsnip we started getting tangled up in briars. Good news when you know that means mountain raspberries in th' summer. Here's a close up of a cane from last year, and then a whole hillside covered in canes. We'll make sure to save some for th' bears.
|lots of raspberry canes.|
Beth gathered some needles for pine needle tea. High in vitamins C and A, this tea is also an expectorant and decongestant, good for preventing and fighting colds. Brew th' needles fresh, and cut off th' sheath at th' base, as this gets pretty sharp tasting if brewed. Here's Beth harvesting some needles, and a cup of brewing tea as well, which we enjoyed as soon as we got home. I added some to a pot of green tea, just a bit, to make a nice Rocky Mountain Green blend.
|Beth harvesting pine needles|
|Pine needle tea|
Th' next day we went out to find some curly dock for dinner. Sadly, most of th' field where we've found so much food, as well as wild honey (which we have not harvested, and now won't be able to) was now torn up in preparation for who knows what. Probably more houses. But there was still a small portion left, and we did find quite a bit of dock.
|Rumex Crispus, early spring|
You know what dock is right? It's th' plant that makes th' big rust colored seed stalks that you see in th' fields from late summer till spring.
|dock seeds, and owl feather|
|Curly Dock greens, raw|
But th' cream of th' crop, literally, came tonight when we made dock "saag paneer".
|dock "saag paneer"|
I took three cloves of garlic, chopped up not big or small, and about a tenth of an onion, sauteed these up with some butter and olive oil and chili powder. When they got good and brown, i added finely diced dock leaves and a small bit of water and simmered this for about fifteen minutes. Then i added some curri powder, chopped provolone cheese and half and half, till it looked about th' consistency of what i've eaten at th' restaurants. This i simmered on low for about twenty minutes, till it got good and thick, and voila! It really was fabulous.
While we were hunting dock, we found another treat. Do you know what this is?
That's right, it's th' purple mustard, or musk mustard. This plant can cover whole fields, and you often smell it while going about town. It smells kinda like a dirty dish rag, which sounds gross, but when you know it's a flower, it's an absolutely enchanting aroma. These make great field snacks, and a wonderful addition to salads.
|purple "musk" mustard.|
And here it is on a nice lunch salad.
|salad with mustard greens|
|Caughtcha red handed!|