Untame Your Life!

Yuccatash Wild Food Challenge RyanIsHungry.com Mesquite, It Ain't Just for Barbeque Everything Sauce Quinoa 'n Yucca with Chef Bob Wild Living with Sunny: episode 1 Fried Black Sage Leaves Mariposa Lily Tubers California Sagebrush Roasted Chicken Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally Acorn Black Walnut Bread Elderblow Fritters Wild Mustard Vinegar Smilax Bamboo Stirfry The Woods and Fields are a Table Always Spread NC Wild Food Weekend III North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend II North Carolina Wild Foods Weekend Food Preservation Sticky Monkey Flower Tea Wild Fennel Fritters Wild Fennel Eco-tourism Wild Radish Back to My Rock Fermented Curly Dock Greens Miner's Lettuce Wisteria Cheesecake Horehound Candy Local Food Challenge documentary Mint Gone Wild Eat Watercress and Get Wit Nettle Soup Political Will If You Can't Beat 'em Eat 'em Oxalis Cooler Luvin' Potatoes Wild Foods Revealed Changing of US Hardiness Zones Toyon Fruit Leather Sow Thistle Lasagna Sam Thayer Price on Northern Spirit Radio Traveling the Wild Food Road Interview with Patty West Interview with Gary Paul Nabhan Magic Toyon Balls Happy Valentine's Day! Wild Hollywood Healthfood Curly Dock Seed Crackers Christopher Nyerges' Wild Food Outing Wild Soba Noodles California buckwheat chapati Welcome California Sagebrush Tea Cowgirl Face Cream Buckwheat Buzz I Have a Dream


Tuesday July 10, 2007 in
sunny savage wild food plants

Here’s a play on the very American dish…succotash. In the video below you’ll see how to harvest and process the Yucca whipplei seedpods. Be sure that you are harvesting VERY young seedpods, and that you boil the seeds until all of the soapy taste has been removed. We then head to the kitchen with Chef Bob, where he adds a new twist to this old favorite.


2 c yucca seeds
2 c corn, shaved off the cob
2 c kidney or lima beans
4 T yellow onion, finely chopped
1 T butter
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
salt & hot pepper powder mix to taste

Use only VERY young yucca seedpods. Broil the whole seedpods for 20 minutes. Cut them open and scoop out seeds. Boil seeds in at least 2 changes of water, or until soapy taste is removed. Rinse them in cold water. Saute onions in butter until translucent. Add corn and broth and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then mix in yucca seeds and pre-cooked beans, salt & hot pepper mix, and heat thoroughly. Serves 6.

Wild Food Challenge

Saturday July 7, 2007 in
sunny wild food plants

(Photo taken from wildmanwildfood.co.uk)

Today is 7/7/07! It’s fun to look at numbers, as they are especially infused into our modern-day lives. The number 7 is oftentimes associated with investigation, analysis and keen observation. Fergus Drennan of Wild Man Wild Food is definitely embodying the spirit of that number in this, his 7th day, of eating only wild foods. Fergus has taken on this Wild Food Challenge for one month, as a preliminary study, for a one-year Wild Food Challenge he hopes to begin later in the year.

He’s subjected himself to medical tests prior to the Challenge, and is taking it while doing the gruelling work of writing a book. You can read daily accounts of his Wild Food Challenge, which includes the search for a wild seed coffee and the making of wild food flours, by clicking here. Fergus lives in England, and is tired of pondering whether a person can live by wild foods alone. Susan Campbell, in a paper ‘The Hunting and Gathering of Wild Foods: What’s the point? An Historical Survey’ (a paper delivered at Oxford and reprinted in Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2004), states that, “….nor have I yet met anyone who could convince me that modern man could subsist on wild food alone, legally or illegally, the year round, in a northern climate.”

Fergus is attempting to answer this, and instead of simply ‘subsisting’, he wants, “... to live fully, to be nothing less than a whole man, to transcend the everyday, to feel the struggle of the impossible and know that it can be surpassed.” Here, here to readjusting Ms. Campbell’s paradigm. Send email support letters to Fergus the Forager at:


Tuesday July 3, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

(photo taken from RyanIsHungry.com)

Ryanne Hodson and Jay Dedman are weavers. They take fibers and weave them together, creating webs of infinite possibilities. In today’s world that translates to fiber-optics, hardware and software, and the world wide web. Since 2004 these creative folks have been on the frontlines of the videoblogging world, helping to blast open the channels of independent media. They recently visited me in Topanga Canyon to talk about wild foods. They’ve posted two video’s of our interview on their website RyanIsHungry.com. Their website is dedicated to documenting the green movement and I feel honored to be included. Click here to view the first 8 minute video, and click here to see the second shorter video.

Do you have a good idea for a videoblog/show, but can’t get the funds to purchase equipment or implement some necessary step for your show? Ryanne and Jay are co-founders of HaveMoneyWillVlog.com, a group of promoters who might be able to help you obtain the funding you need. They are also Co-Founders of Freevlog.org (free video tutorials on setting up your own videoblog) and NODE101 (open source collaborative effort to teach videoblogging around the world). Ryanne is a Co-Author of and Jay is a Co-Author of . Here are the resources, now you need to start spinning your own web.

Mesquite, It Ain't Just for Barbeque

Monday July 2, 2007 in
sunny johnson wild food plants

That’s right, you might recognize the mesquite name for your favorite barbeque products, but this little tree ain’t just for barbeque! It’s a leguminous plant, fixing much-needed nitrogen into desert soils, and providing delicious pods. It’s similar to the carob in that it’s really the sweet flesh surrounding the seeds that you’re after. That said, you can grind the whole pods with seeds and all for a delicious and healthy flour. Pictured above are 3 native mesquites to the Sonoran desert; on the left are the pods of honey mesquite (Prosopsis glandulosa), in the center screwbean mesquite (Prosopsis pubescens), and on the right are the velvet mesquite pods (Prosopsis velutina).

This video highlights Brad Lancaster’s work as a master mesquite harvester, and author of 2 volumes of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands. Brad is an amazing guy, permaculture enthusiast, and great educator in the Tucson area. He helps run Desert Harvesters, a grassroots organization which promotes, celebrates, and enhances, local food security and production by encouraging the planting of indigenous, food-bearing shade trees. They educate the public on how to harvest and process mesquite pods, and hold mesquite milling events. Be sure to check out the calendar of events on their website www.desertharvesters.org... I’d love to make it for their 5th Annual Mesquite Milling Fiesta and Mesquite Pancake Breakfast on November 17th!

Tohono O'odham Saguaro Camp

Sunday July 1, 2007 in

Join Stella Tucker for a glimpse into her saguaro cactus fruit camp. This Tohono O’odham woman harvests these amazing fruits, the way of her grandmothers before her, and shares much of that bounty with her fellow community members. Thanks to her and her family for allowing me to film, as well as keeping the traditions alive and sharing them with a larger audience.

In this video Stella teaches us how to make saguaro cactus fruit syrup step-by-step, and discusses how to make a jam as well. The syrup can be purchased in small amounts through a great Tucson-based organization called Native Seed/SEARCH. This group preserves the crop seeds that connects Native American cultures to their lands. Tohono O’odham Community Action, located on the reservation, is another group doing good work. They’re dedicated to cultural revitalization, with traditional food systems having a major emphasis.

Saguaro Cactus Fruits

Wednesday June 27, 2007 in

If you live in the good ‘ol US of A then you know the saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea). You might not know its name, but virtually every postcard, TV image, or other mass media image of the desert includes this stately being. They are a backbone plant of the Sonoran desert ecosystem, and are having a great fruit-producing year. If you live in southeastern California, southern Arizona, northern Sonora or Baja I would encourage you to get out there and harvest these amazing fruits…you won’t regret it.

This video highlights how to harvest the fruits and how to dry them for long-term storage. As an aside, my favorite way to eat them is when they have already fallen to the ground and are dried out. In the video we also visit the Saguaro Country Nursery for some easy pickin’, views from Lorrie Joanne Scott on the state of saguaro’s in AZ, and a brief view of some other foods available in the 111° Sonoran desert heat right now.

Wild Blackberry Leaf Tea

Thursday June 21, 2007 in

Happy Summer Solstice! The plants are absorbing an amazing amount of solar energy right now, and it’s a great time to take advantage of their ability to turn that energy into food. I encourage you to grab a bag and head out to pick the always abundant wild blackberry leaves. This video highlights identification, harvesting and preparation of a blackberry leaf herbal infusion. It’s tea time, and what goes better with your herbal tea than a cookie. Here’s the recipe for the cookies in the video. My oven runs hot, so play around with the temperature of your own oven and enjoy.

Rosemary Agave Nectar Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c agave nectar
1 T lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t wild spicebush berries ground, or nutmeg
1 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Cream the butter and sugar with mixer until smooth. Beat in egg, agave nectar, lemon juice, lemon zest and mix well. Slowly mix in dry ingredients…don’t overmix. Turn oven to 300 and drop cookies onto greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes. Yields 2 dozen cookies.

Making Friction Fire

Wednesday June 20, 2007 in

You’ve gone out and harvested all this great wild food…now how are you going to cook it up? In this video, firemaster Delmar Lathers shows us how to gather all the natural materials you need to make fire. He has used over 20 different woods in this area of southern California to make friction fire, including wild tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) as a hearth and mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) as a drill. In this video he highlights using an alder hearth, horseweed drill, and mugwort fire extender. Delmar has been teaching at Primitive Skills gatherings around the country for many years. If you are interested in learning more about primitive skills check out the Rabbitstick Rendezvous links page.

Wild Food Workshop in Topanga Canyon

Tuesday June 19, 2007 in

Here’s a little video taken at last Saturday’s Wild Food Workshop here in Topanga Canyon, CA. It was a really fun class and we managed to gather quite a few wild foods to incorporate into our feast. Some wild foods and useful plants that we found on our hike: wild mustard flowering tops, malva greens and cheeses, ice plants, blackberry new growth tops, sticky monkey flower, elderflowers, sow thistle greens, wild lettuce, ceanothus berries for soap and more.

Wild Food School

Monday June 18, 2007 in

Imagine it, the first formal Wild Food School, at least that I know about, in picturesque Lostwithiel, Cornwall ENGLAND. They are offering a variety of courses including 2-day, 1-day, 1/2-day, distance learning, and even an instructor training course through the seasons. Run by Marcus Harrison, author of the Johnny Jumbalaya Wild Food Cookbook Series, the school will be a hub for folks in the northern temperate regions of Europe.

In combination with all the great chefs who are bringing wild foods to the greater consciousness of Britons, and Ray Mears’ TV work highlighting wild foods and bushcraft survival…I’d say Great Britain is moving in a positive direction sharing its wild food knowledge with the masses.