Saturday, February 24, 2018

Urban homesteading cookbook makes foraging an option

May 13, 2015 by Rebecca Davies, contributing writer


The Urban Homesteading Cookbook: Forage, Farm, Ferment and Feast for a Better World
By Michelle Catherine Nelson
(Douglas & McIntyre)

In efforts to help the environment and to be healthier, buying organic and locally sourced food is now a priority for many people. But it can be expensive. Michelle Catherine Nelson brings a free alternative to shopping at the grocery store for city-dwellers and country-livers alike in The Urban Homesteading Cookbook.

Here, the recipes are afterthoughts; the real lessons lie in Nelson’s comprehensible and detailed guide to many different aspects of eating off the land. She reassures weary consumers that although foraging, fermenting, and keeping micro livestock like quail on your deck is hard work, the rewards are bountiful.

Even if you’re not the type of person to collect crickets to make your own insect flour, the book opens readers’ eyes to the food that lives in the woods and along the shores. For example, fiddleheads, crab, mushrooms, deer, dandelions, and fruits are all plentiful in the Victoria area, and Nelson provides simple recipes and preservation techniques to enjoy them year-round. The book is filled with rustic photography that shows the author’s respect for ethical and local food.

As a long-time cook and forager, I found this book to be a thorough beginner’s guide to the endless world of what nature has to offer. People are so used to shopping for their food that they don’t take the time to look out their own back window and see the healthy, accessible edibles at their doorsteps.

All it takes is the proper tools, an open mind, and a little knowledge and guidance to enjoy the nourishment nature presents to us.

So where to start from this particular cookbook? I recommend the Sesame Seaweed Salad foraged from local beaches, brewing your own kombucha, and adding some Tree Tip Syrup into your coffee.

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