Kevin Feinstein

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since May 03, 2015
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Recent posts by Kevin Feinstein

Here in The Bay Area and northern California, I have bulk gathered the following over the years:

wild plums
pine pollen
candy cap mushrooms
bay nuts
thistle stems
wild artichokes/cardoons
3 years ago
Most nutritious greens I know of:

stinging nettles (prefer cool weather)
moringa (must have hot weather to grow)
longevity spinach (Gynura procumbens -- needs warm weather)
Egyptian spinach (also known as jute -- needs hot weather)

some other candidates are:

cilantro (not just an herb, I eat these like greens)
minutina (very cold tolerant)
kale and collards

amaranth greens and purslane absolutely loaded with oxalates and would not make a very effective green to be eaten as a large part of the diet.

3 years ago
I would plant in containers filled with high quality potting soil. Growing under trees, especially in a hot desert like climate where you are should be great, it's the soil and roots that are the issue.  I grow nearly all my own greens and herbs in containers alone on concrete, largely in the shade of hedge trees and the house.

In my experience, the chicken poop doesn't fall through the mesh, so I abandoned attempts like this a long time ago. Also, worms won't be happy with that much fresh manure, can even kill them.

3 years ago
I agree that you should try avoid getting it in the first place, but what you do have I personally would try growing something that can feed on it really quickly like grasses or greens or something. Then I would use them to fuel your system in their biological form (cut grasses, etc.)  

3 years ago
Have you thought about Gynura procumbens (Longevity spinach.) Nice looking foliage and tasty and nutritious. It grows great for me!

4 years ago
How do you keep the wildlife from consuming your secret food garden?

5 years ago

Rose Pinder wrote:

There is debate about miner's lettuce, not sure if there is a really good scientific research done on it's edibility. I know that I don't eat too much of it. A salad of it is fine, as well as a side of cooked greens on my plate. I do however, sense physically that there is something to the reports of it being toxic or high oxalates in very large doses, so I don't recommend making green smoothie after green smoothie of miner's lettuce. Many wild plants are like this, it's something that I can sort of taste or sense now. Oxalates are also intensified in plants when the weather is really hot, dry, or some other stressor in the plant. I can hardly eat my chard growing in the middle of the summer for this reason. Wild plants, because they often are growing in harsher environments than in our tended garden, often do the same thing.

That might explain why feral rabbits don't eat miner's lettuce (but we are talking about Claytonia perfoliata right?). What are you meaning by very large doses? I think smoothies can be problematic for wild foods because you lose the taste and triggers that come from chewing (loss of benefit, and more likely to have side effects).

I agree with you about smoothies and wild food. One of the things about wild food is that often there are tons and tons of something available that is edible, but it cannot be eaten in any quantity. Oxalis (sour grass) is an example. It grows here as a noxious weed everywhere, but you can only eat a few leaves (too sour but also because of the high amount of oxalic acid.) I see lots of edible weeds out there and although I like to eat them in small quantities and medicinally, my giant green smoothies are made of kale and lettuce, not chickweed and dock leaves. Although I do include many wild foods in my green smoothies, but only small amounts. I might put in one dock leaf, one stalk of cleavers, a few dandelion greens, etc.

I just find that the foraging world often lists plants as either edible or not, not really putting any context into what type of quantity or balance they should be in the diet.

There are some exceptions, for sure, so I guess you could call them super edible wild foods. Here are some that I like to eat in fairly large quantities: stinging nettles, pine pollen, thistles, acorn meal, wild onions, blackberries, huckleberries, persimmons, . . .
5 years ago
About bitters, wild food, and poison . . .

In my new book, Practically Wild, I tried to mention something that comes up in my foraging classes quite often. That is, if it tastes poisonous or toxic, it usually is. The inverse of this is NOT TRUE at all - if it tastes edible it is edible -- This is likely to get you killed. However, most poisonous things do taste poisonous. For instance, if you find something you think is a wild plum or cherry, and it is bitter (not to be confused with sour) you should spit it out, you probably have misidentified and it is likely poisonous.

So on to things like dandelion greens . . . They are bitter, yes. This bitter is very good for you, yes. However, in nature, things like dandelions are the EXCEPTION to the rule above. Most bitter tasting things are toxic or poisonous. Even dandelion greens have alkaloids in them that make the bitter taste, and too much of them is not a good idea. (not going to kill you or anything, but eating too much of that bitter is not going to make you feel good.)

This exception of dandelions often poses a problem to the beginning wild plant foragers -- I know this happened to me as dandelion was my first wild food I consumed. It erroneously makes one think that wild food must taste bitter/bad. It leads the beginning forager to make themselves eat bitter plants that might contain toxins as they think that wild food should taste bitter. That is why I do not recommend starting with dandelions and similar bitter foods.

5 years ago
Acorns have a shell that should be easy to crack open. That is step 1. Some acorns species have an additional husk or skin, others do not. I like to stick to the ones that do not if I can, but otherwise I think you are on your own as far as how to remove the husk (peel) from the type acorns you have. The larger the acorn, the easier they are to work with. Lucky for me here, I have the Valley Oak (Q. lobata.) There is an art to lightly roasting the acorns that makes the husk easier to remove, you might try that. Don't cook them at a high temp though, again it's an art I would say. Otherwise, you might try a knife, I know that I have actually peeled them with fingernails in the past. So whatever works.

5 years ago