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IV ETHNOBOTANY PROJECT

DIY: Cooking Channel

Blackberry Syrup

Ingredients:

2 cups blackberries

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

*Note: I threw in some blueberries as I had them on hand

The process of harvesting the blackberries to making them into a syrup was such a fun and rewarding (not to mention delicious) experience!  You can use the blackberry syrup on toast, drizzled on waffles, swirled in a drink, and much more!

Directions:

  1. Add blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and butter to pot

  2. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for two minutes

  3. Mash blackberries to a pulp with a wooden spoon (*Be careful as mixture is very hot!)

  4. Strain blackberry syrup to get rid of seeds and make smooth

  5. Transfer to container and let cool

  6. Enjoy!

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Early Summer Foraged Salad

Ingredients:

Nasturtium

Chickweed

Miner's Lettuce

Fennel

Pineapple Weed

Mustard

Sour Grass

Dandelion

Mallow

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We recommend grabbing a bowl and filling it with foraged flowers and leaves such as the list above in the spring.  We did our salad a little late in the year and it was pretty bitter.  Once you have your salad base, grab your favorite dressing and toss!

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Early Summer Foraged Stirfry

Ingredients:

Nasturtium

Wild Radish

Mustard

Oil

Salt

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We learned a lot from making this stirfry: please forage earlier in the season for all of these plants (Nasturtium, Wild Radish, Mustard) because the later you pick them, the more bitter and tough they will taste.  It looks pretty though! 

Directions: Basically, pick some edible leaves and flowers and seed pods and whatever else you want to throw in.  Heat some oil in the pan, toss in the foraged goodies, salt to taste.

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Foraged Fritters

We started out by making elderberry flower fritters, but then decided to explore for other edible plants to try in the fritter batter!  They were all delicious, but the best was definitely Hummingbird Sage.  Get creative with this one!  Grab a bunch of edible plants that you think will taste good with sweet dough.  Whip up your favorite pancake batter.  Heat up some butter or oil on a pan.  Then dip your edible plants into the batter and fry away like you would pancakes.

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Loquat & Brussel Sprout Salad

Makes 2 servings.  This recipe is from a dear friend, Marc Vukcevich!

Ingredients:

8 small/medium brussel sprouts 

1 medium shallot

6 ripe loquats

5 springs of cilantro

1.5 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp sesame seeds

0.5 tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Finely chop brussel sprouts into thin shavings

  2. Peel and finely dice a shallot

  3. From the loquats, remove any twigs or parts that harbor dust/dirt.  Cut in half lengthwise and remove the large seeds by finger, knife, or gently squeezing the fruit.  Once seeds have been removed, finely dice. *Loquat skins are not as enjoyable as the flesh and can be removed by a prick with a knife and a quick 30 second boil in hot water (process is called a blanche).  Remove from the water and let cool.  The skins should then be easy to peel.  I deemed this step unnecessary for this recipe but may be useful for others.

  4. Rough chop the cilantro

  5. Combine all ingredients into a bowl.  Put in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Let sit for a few minutes to let the salt and acid penetrate the shredded brussel sprouts and other ingredients.

  6. Adjust seasoning according to your preference and enjoy

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Loquat Jam

Ingredients:

8 cups loquats (seeded and quartered)

4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

0.5 tsp cardamom (optional)

*Note: I halved the recipe and added cinnamon instead of cardamom.

Directions:

  1. Remove stem and bottoms of loquats.  Remove the seeds and slice into quarters (remove loquat skins if you would like)

  2. Add loquats into a pot and cover with sugar

  3. Let the loquats rest for 30 minutes until loquats have released their juice

  4. After 30 minutes, add your preferred spice and lemon juice

  5. Slowly bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes, until mixture has thickened and become amber in color

  6. At this point you can either blend, mash, or use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into your desired consistency (I used a wooden spoon to mash the mixture.  Be careful as the mixture is extremely hot)

  7. Transfer to a sterilized container and place in boiling water for 10 minutes

  8. Enjoy your jam!

I really enjoyed this recipe as it is simple and delicious!  Making fruit jams is a perfect way of enjoying your favorite fruit out of its growing season.  The jam is delicious on bread but be sure to experiment and see what other creations you can make!  I have since used the jam to make a loquat grilled cheese with basil which was extremely tasty!  Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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Nasturtium Pesto

Ingredients:

50 large nasturtium leaves or twice as many if small

0.25 cup pistachios (or favorite nut)

0.5 cup olive oil

0.5 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Recipe from Aske the Food Geek

Nasturtium is a flowering plant that has edible leaves and stems.  Nasturtium can be found on UCSB campus and in Isla Vista, particularly in the Camino Corto Open Space.  The leaves and flowers have a peppery taste that adds a great flavor to this pesto.  I really enjoyed the taste of this pesto and loved how versatile it is.  I do not enjoy the taste of basil pesto, so this is a great alternative you can enjoy!

*Note: I used almonds and vegan parmesan cheese for this recipe.  You can switch up the type of nut you want to use as this is a very versatile recipe!  I also used nasturtium flowers as I wanted to use the whole plant.

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the nasturtium flowers and leaves

  2. Add nasturtium leaves to blender and blend

  3. Add nuts after nasturtium leaves and flowers have been blended

  4. Blend completely and then add parmesan cheese and olive oil.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your preference

  5. Enjoy your finished pesto product!  I made pesto pasta with my final product, but you can also spread it on toast or use it for your salads.  There are many other uses for nasturtium pesto so go wild and enjoy!

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Natal Plum and Banana Smoothie

Grab some ripe natal plums, bananas and other fruits, as well as any other smoothie favorites (yogurt, ice cream, ice, honey, protein powder, etc.)  Throw all of that into a blender and blend.  Then enjoy!

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Natal Plum and Banana Smoothie

Grab some ripe natal plums, bananas and other fruits, as well as any other smoothie favorites (yogurt, ice cream, ice, honey, protein powder, etc.)  Throw all of that into a blender and blend.  Then enjoy!

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Plantain Insect Bite and Bee Sting Remedy

Looking for a quick, natural insect bite cure?  If you're feeling itchy from an insect bite or bee sting (and you're not overly allergic), try this:

Grab some broadleaf plantain, chew it up, and apply it to the bite/sting.  This should help reduce swelling and itchiness.  I like to keep the chewed up leaf in place with a roll of gauze.  

WARNING: If your throat is closing up or your whole body is breaking out, please go to the hospital, because this cure is only for locally affected bites and stings.

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Spring Greens Salad: Miner's Lettuce, Rosemary, & Stork's Bill

Make a tasty salad with wild greens like Miner's Lettuce.  Feel free to throw in other greens (nasturtium, chickweed, dandelion, mallow).  Season with rosemary and stork's bill and toss with a dressing of your choice.  Enjoy!

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Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2/3 cup white sugar

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp white sugar for decoration (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cream room temperature butter with white sugar until light and fluffy

  2. Stir in flour, salt, and chopped rosemary until well blended.  (The dough is very versatile and you can either roll your dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick and cut into rectangles/shape of your choice or roll the dough into a log and cut into 1/4 inch slices.  If you would like to bypass the rolling and shaping process altogether you can instead press the dough in a 9x9 baking pan and bake after resting the dough).

  3. Cover and freeze for an hour.  (Freezing the dough will make it easier to slice and will better keep its shape while baking).

  4. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

  5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place cookies 1 inch apart

  6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges

  7. Let cool and enjoy!

I really enjoyed this recipe and have made it several times since I first found it.  Shortbread cookies are personally one of my favorite cookies as they are so tasty and easy to make (if you have an electric mixer).  I thought the addition of rosemary would be odd, but the slight herbal flavor to the buttery cookie was amazing!  The cookies themselves are fragrant and sophisticated, making them a perfect gift for a loved one or to eat all by yourself.

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