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02 Jul 2022

Healthy Living: Make a meal of it and go foraging

Healthy Living:  Make a meal of it and go foraging

Wild plants, mushrooms, lichens, algae and seaweeds are commonly found to be higher in nutrients than cultivated varieties

IN THESE uncertain times the only thing we can control is what we put into our bodies. I have brought it to your attention many times that the more diverse our microbiome, the healthier we are. To get that diversity we need to eat a great diversity of plant foods high in nutrients. Wild plants, mushrooms, lichens, algae and seaweeds are commonly found to be higher in nutrients than cultivated varieties and contain unique compounds not found in other foods.
Lucky for us, there are people passionate about wild plants and they forage for us;
Avery and Edward from Thalli Foods (www.thallifoods.ie).
This husband-and-wife team gather and preserve wild plants; all the wonderful offerings of the Wild Atlantic coast and bring them to our markets and interested restaurants. Edward will co-host a foraging weekend from June 11-12, with a fellow forager and friend, Olwyn Williams. On the Saturday you could explore inland terrain of the Kylebrack area and the wild edible plants thereof before returning to The Happy Pig Hostel, to further explore the gathered ingredients. On the Sunday you can gather together much coastal bounty before traveling back to Edward’s kitchen in Miltown Malbay to play with some of what you collect. The whole weekend will be centred around wild food, there will be plenty of foraging of inland plants, coastal plants, and seaweeds. Light bites and lunch will be provided. You can reserve your place via eventbrite.com or call Olwyn on 087-9047553.
Seaweeds are abundant around our coasts and Edward gave me some great tips for preparing them: “We generally use different ones for different recipes. Dulse, Gutweed and Laver we tend to gently toast in the oven until we can crumble them and then we use them as a seasoning for practically anything.
They’re good on pizza, with pasta, mixed into salad or with rice dishes. Even for cheese on toast. Avery makes a delicious peanut-miso-ginger dressing with toasted nori (for salad, soba noodles, or potatoes!).
“Obviously, seaweeds really lend themselves to dishes with fish, but they are also excellent with most meats and vegetables. With bladderwrack, we have taken to cooking that with beans.
“After the beans have been soaked, we simply add a handful of bladder wrack to the beans when we start to cook them.
“After one or two hours of cooking, the rich mineral flavour is imparted into the beans. We also tend to keep all the liquid instead of straining off so we just add more flavours to the beans and use the whole thing like a soup or reduce it down further to get more dry and sticky beans. This can also be done with kombu or sweet kombu as well and it works beautifully.”
I highly recommend you experiment with these wild and wonderful foods that grow so abundantly in this beautiful country, enriching your dishes and your microbiome – for free! I hope to see some of you at the foraging weekend!
For more see online.

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