A Forest Forage Blog
As I arrived in Israel for my 10 day quarantine, I was asking myself the whole way how I would be able to continue with updates to the blog without access to a forest or natural area during the course of the mandatory Corona-Virus quarantine. (My whole family has consistently tested negative.)
As I walked into my Father-in-Law’s front garden. I was reminded of the Wood Sorrels and Garden Nasturtium that grows wild every spring. After coming from the just now awakening Midwest of the US, I was now assaulted by the variety of color and lush growth of the Mediterranean coast.
There are many species of Wood Sorrell all around the world, too many to list. Varieties of wood sorrel have been culturally used for thousands of years. Wood Sorrel can be easily identified by the “fake shamrock” shape of its leaves. The flowers can vary from yellow to red and pink. In addition to being used as a green, candied tuber and tea, a chemical from Oxalis is extracted to make a simple cleaning substance “lemon salt”. This wild edible is great for a long walk in the forest because chewing the base of the stem gives a sweet/sour taste that is refreshing. This abundant wood sorrel is one of the ingredients in the below veggie patty recipe.
Garden Nasturtium is another ground dweller that is plentiful, yet semi-cultivated. As a distant relative of the watercress, the leaves and flowers are edible, with the young leaves being choice. The flowers are a beautiful addition to any salad to add color and texture. Garden Nasturtium grows prolifically when cultivated and can fill a garden with a season of flowers and flavors. In the below recipe, Garden Nastutrium is the bulk of the veggie patty.
So now to the recipe. These veggie patties were waiting for me when I arrived at my in-laws in Israel. They are based on the two ingredients above with a few other additions. These are fried patties that go well on a sandwich or as a vegetarian meat alternative.
1.Collect and clean your wood sorrel and garden nasturtium. Prepare your ingredients by removing leaves and flowers from stems. 2. Wash the prepared ingredients for a second time and place them into a food processor. You should place around 500 grams of greens into the food processor. 3. Next add two eggs. (For the vegans among us, please use chickpea flour or tapioca flour instead of eggs and add more water) 4. Add 1 cup of flour. 5. Process the mix. 6. When the mix is well processed, remove from the food processor and place into a bowl. 7. Heat a skillet with your choice vegetable oil. 8. Carefully form a patty shape with your hands or a spoon. (I like to scoop the patty with a spoon the size that I want the patty and scrape off excess batter. 9. Place the formed batter into the hot oil. 10. Fry until corners are brown and flip. 11. Fry until golden brown.
This welcoming dish was wonderful to eat after getting off a long flight. This flavor and the texture has a strong feeling of home for me. Making this kind of a dish just confirms that we can forage almost anywhere by just opening our eyes.
As soon as I get out of quarantine, I am hoping to get to some natural areas here in the Middle East and I hope to even find some kind of mushroom variety!