Right now we’re loving that camping has gone gourmet—foods that were once off limits in the wild are now making their way into the campfire circle little by little, but what about the other way around? Couldn’t we use a little bit of wilderness at the dinner table? It’s not stovetop s’mores we’re after, but earthy, fresh-from-the-land meals that prove you can take the camper out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the camper.
Here’s a list of a few recognizable and edible plants you may stumble upon while exploring America’s Sate Parks, and some delish dishes you can prepare with them once you get home. Give ‘em a try and let us know what you think!
Those of us living or traveling in the American Southwest are no strangers to prickly pear cacti, but what some of us may not know is that beneath that spiny outer pad lies a rich, pink fruit whose juice is a culinary treasure. Prickly Pear Butter sweetens the deal at breakfast time when paired with fresh-baked scones, for a meal that is as adventurous as it is tasty.
This next one may seem a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many campers don’t take advantage of the berry picking opportunities offered by many state parks. From currants to gooseberries, wild berries are an easy way to liven up a dull meal, so just plunk a few in your pail and try not to devour them before you make it home! Toss them with some nuts and greens for a Wild Berry Salad that is rich in flavor and antioxidants.
We wept a little when we discovered this next recipe for Dandelion Muffins, thinking about all the little, yellow, and apparently tasty, weeds we‘ve tossed into economy-sized trashed bags as we weeded the garden. Turns out that all these years we could have been snacking on these golden blooms rather than cursing their name as the villain of the flowerbed.
We like to think of this next plant as the potato of the wild. Deceptively delicious, the cattail has a tuber-like bulb and starchy pollen that make this wetland inhabitant versatile in the kitchen. Check out this recipe for Cattail Flower Griddle Cakes for a subtle, yet satisfying, snack fresh from Mother Nature.
Wild flowers become shockingly domesticated with this recipe for Wild Rose Cupcakes. Add a splash of color to the table with fragrant cakes that combine refreshing floral flavors with classic lemon-poppy seed cakes.
Note: While Pocket Ranger encourages foraging, please check with park authorities before removing anything from the land. When given the go-ahead be sure to positively identify plants before picking or consuming plants to prevent illness or any other bodily harm.