Snowball cookies were my favorite Christmas cookie when I was growing up. My mum made them with regular walnuts, but my rendition of this classic cookie uses wild black walnuts, plus a little orange liqueur.
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.
Wintergreen ice cream. Why not? I love regular mint ice cream, and after my friend Nate and I foraged for a bunch of wintergreen berries on Cape Ann in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago, I reckoned this would be a cool way to use them… no pun intended.
A surprisingly wonderful ice cream from a surprisingly wonderful wild plant. Wild ginger grows on the forest floors of much of the United States, and, when eaten in moderation, is different – yet just as good – as the ginger you buy in the store.
Pine nuts from America’s Great Basin are among the best in the world. Combine them with some desert wildflower honey I bought in Arizona and you have one spectacular ice cream.
Black walnut season has started, and my favorite thing to do with these hard-to-crack nuts is make ice cream. My version gives you a double-dip of black walnut flavor.
Buttermilk huckleberry cake. Even with frozen huckleberries, it’s as good as it looks. And I owe it all to Heidi Swanson, whose new vegetarian cookbook made even me take notice.
A chance encounter with a mulberry tree just a few hundred yards from my home sparked me to pick what, for me, had been an unloved fruit for many years. Now I am a changed man…