You know those dandelions you have growing in your yard? Those are edible.
That’s right. You can toss them in a salad and chow down. If you haven’t sprayed them with some sort of noxious weed killer, that is.
And the purslane spreading across the ground? No only does it taste great — reminiscent of spinach or watercress — it’s loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Just use it the way you would spinach, in anything from a stir-fry to a smoothie.
These are just two examples of easy foraging that Georgia Pellegrini addresses in her new book, “Modern Pioneering: More than 150 Recipes, Projects and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life” (Clarkson Potter, $24). The Austin-based author, whose earlier books “Girl Hunter” and “Food Heroes” have earned her a dedicated following, doesn’t believe in waste. That may seem anathema to a world in which too many things are made to disposed of, but she doesn’t want to play by someone else’s rules.
Instead of throwing out that empty lip balm tube you may have finished, why not make your own and refill it? Pellegrini teaches you how to do that and much more in her book and on her website, GeorgiaPellegrini.com.
“”I want people to get back to the land, even if the land is a patio,” she said in a recent telephone interview. So, the skills she offers are universal, regardless of your situation. You may not have a backyard in which to grow herbs, but you can create an herb garden easily using flower pots.
Every coffee lover ends up with leftover coffee grounds, for example. Don’t pitch them. Turned them into a body scrub, Pellegrini says.
These tips have not only sold books, but they have driven more than 2 million visits a month to her website. She’s also been featured on numerous TV programs, including “Iron Chef America,” “The Today Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“This is not a hard-core foraging book,” she said, adding that was more of a roadmap on how to change your life so that it’s simpler and yet more rewarding.
She describes “Modern Pioneer” as featuring a 50/50 breakdown of recipes for food and recipes for living. Often the items she calls for can be found in your pantry, she says.
“People seem to be really excited,” she said of the response the book is generating. “They like the variety — gardening, home cooking, do-it-yourself stuff. It’s all useful information.”
Here are two recipes of Pellegrini’s from her website: