Tired of maple syrup? Make fig syrup. You can use fresh or fried figs, wild or store-bought.
A selection of recipes for snacks and desserts featuring wild edible plants. You'll find baked goods, ice creams, cookies and cakes, all using wild nuts and berries.
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Ice Creams and Ices
I love making ice cream with wild ingredients, and, where something creamy isn't appropriate, ices and sorbets.
Booze and Brewing
Infused liqueurs, wild beers and wines, even wild champagnes are big favorites. It's an important way to preserve the aromas and flavors of many wild foods.
Some of my most popular recipes are elderberry wine, elderflower liqueur - and elderflower champagne - as well as spruce tip beer, and my all time favorite wild brew, a red ale fermented on wild juniper yeast I call Junipine.
Cookies and Cakes
I am not a natural baker, but I do have a few recipes for baked goods I am happy with, mostly cookies and simple cakes. Especially cookies.
The pretty picture at the top of this page is of my pine nut cookies, and some of my other popular baked goods include persimmon bread, huckleberry muffins, butternut cookies and anise cookies made with wild fennel seeds.
One of the most versatile things you can do with a wild fruit or aromatic herb is to make a simple syrup with it. This brings out the flavor of the fruit, and is shelf stable.
My most popular wild syrup is prickly pear syrup, but I also make a mean spruce tip syrup, that also works with pine or fir, a simple blackberry syrup, and an intriguing fig syrup that is great on ice cream or pancakes.
I love ice creams. They are my main weakness when it comes to sweets, and I specialize in weird ice creams — herbs like yerba buena and fruits like this elderberry ice cream. Elderberries live in most states, and are ripe from June to September, depending on where you live. Only use ripe berries, as
Blackberry panna cotta is a joy of summer, and can be made in several different ways that I’ll go through here. A traditional blackberry panna cotta would actually be a vanilla panna cotta with blackberry syrup and fresh or macerated blackberries on top, as in the picture. I prefer to infuse the blackberries in the
Making your own elderflower liqueur is a way to remember that moment when spring becomes summer, even in the depths of winter. Elderflowers are the color of butter and smell sweet and just a bit spicy. Their beauty fades fast, however. You will need to pick them before noon, as the aroma fades once the
Angelica is a giant herb that grows wild all over the cooler areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Candying its hollow stems is a great way to enjoy angelica or lovage.
Manzanita berries are ripening all over California right now, but few know that they are not only edible, but are well worth your time to collect. The secret? Grind the dry, apple-like berries to make a sort of manzanita sugar.
It’s huckleberry season here in the West. And while my favorite way to eat hucks is in a bowl with cream, I also love huckleberry muffins. My version has a bit of a tang to it from sour cream.
Mint ice cream is pretty common, but usually it’s made with mint extract. But if you make your ice cream by infusing the mint leaves into the cream overnight, you get a much stronger, more herby mint flavor you will not forget.