Tag Archives: watercress

Fall P.E.M.U. recipes…


We had great weather for a great class this past Saturday. Some people are interested in foraging for survival purposes, some for medicinal, and some for culinary. At BigPig Outdoors we try to cater to all the crowds, so we forage and cook over the fire and also dine on stuff I bring from the house.

Among the many plants from the field, we harvested hackberries, groundnut beans and tubers, jerusalem artichokes, hog peanuts, muscadines, wild grapes, black walnuts, cattail, watercress, and hickory nuts. We soothed fire ant bites with plant medicine, made cordage in the cattail swamp, tasted ground cherries, played with pitch glue, and crushed an iPhone.

Hickory nut milk simmering on the fire…


From the kitchen we ate autumn olive fruit leather, papaw bread, persimmon bread, autumn olive juice, and beautyberry jelly. You may have missed the class, but you don’t have to miss the recipes..


Papaw (or persimmon) bread – adapted from https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ksu-pawpaw/cooking.html#CAKES

Pawpaw Bread d
1 c. melted butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pawpaw pulp
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3 c. pecan pieces plus 16 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease two 9x4x2-inch loaf pans. Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add and beat in the pawpaw pulp and lemon juice. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and stir them into the batter. Stir in the pecans and scrape the batter into the loaf pans. Garnish each loaf with 8 pecan halves, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top corners of the loaf will burn, but that adds flavor and character.

Beautyberry jelly – https://bigpigblog.com/2013/10/02/beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-be-rry-holder/

1 ½ qts. of Beautyberries, washed and clean of green stems and leaves. Cover with 2 qts. water.Boil 20 minutes and strain to make infusion. Use 3 cups of the infusion, bring to boil, add 1 envelope Sure-Jell and 4 ½ cups sugar. Bring to second boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until foam forms. Skim off foam, pour into sterilized jars, cap.

Interested in learning more about the plants around us? Check here for upcoming class dates: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/poisonous–edible–medicinal—-useful-plants.html

Foraging season ramps up…


Ramps..spring beauties..trout lilies..toothwort..curly dock..chickweed..dandelion..redbud flowers..watercress..violets..wild onions..It is that time of year.

As my neighbor was mowing his yard, one of my buddies joked with me this afternoon as I was gathering tonight’s salad.. “Why you picking weeds when you have lettuce in the garden?

He knows why, because he is the same way, shunning regular produce if he can go gather some greens.

There is something deep inside my primitive DNA that makes foraging for “wild” salads feel natural. No pesticides, no genetic modification, and they are loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Starting this time of year, my focus shifts to my chlorophyll laden friends.

Thankfully, my hunting and gathering forays are counter-balanced by my gifted wife that loves to cook.

Tonight’s meal was fresh caught crappie, pan seared, with lemon basil butter, over sauteed ramps with shallots, on a bed of wild rice and quinoa pilaf. Chickweed, curly  dock, dandelion greens and buds, plantain, wild onions, wild lettuce, and redbud flowers, made up the “wild” salad and was topped with some crushed black walnuts.




Fresh, free food that is popping up everywhere. Stay tuned as we are finalizing the dates on our foraging classes.