What I Learned About Eating Paleo from the Steemit Culinary Challenge - Another Winter Weed Salad - 15 wild plants - with foraging ID quizsteemCreated with Sketch.

in food •  3 years ago  (edited)

The first wild weed salad I foraged for last week's Culinary Challenge was not acceptable, due to one single ingredient. What was it? Come in to my post to find out!

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This post is defintely not a complaint. This post is to highlight what I learned about eating Paleo. I got two great weed salads out of my efforts. My second salad got 5th place and I'm really happy about that. The other entries were all great and every one is a winner in my view.

I appreciate that the guest judge, @kiwideb, made a separate post to review each entry. And @englishtchrivy was dedicated in reviewing each entry to make sure it fit the challenge's requirements.

A Starting Point - Weeds Are Good Paleo Food

I eat a lot of weeds, as some of you know well. I can forage a salad from my yard faster than eating out or going to the grocery store. I figured a wild weed salad must be Paleo, in the tradition of foragers throughout time. And, weed salads fit our contemporary lives well -- lots of fiber and nutrients, without a lot of calories. The Culinary Challenge Rules said that vegetables are paleo, so I was surely good to go with all my weeds!

Here are the weeds I put into my salad. You can test your identification skills by comparing the number of each plant with the numbered plant species list that is at the end of this post.

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A Question - What Paleo Food Can I Put On My Salad?

Once I gathered all my greens, what would I put on top of them? I added homegrown walnuts for protein. And homemade raisins from my homegrown grapes. I thought these crops take so little care that they represent food that people across the ages have had access to. The Culinary Challenge rules said nuts and fruits were OK.

Because all these wild greens are so flavorful, I like to keep my salads simple, without a strong dressing. I like a simple oil and vinegar dressing, especially with Balsamic Vinegar. This fall, I also made a weed salad topped with Wild Shaggy Parasol Mushrooms soaked in a mix of olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and liquid smoke.

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Are all of these ingredients paleo food?

The Culinary Challenge rules said that olive oil qualified as a paleo food, but not any grains. So that rules out the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. And while paleo people surely cooked a lot of their food on open fires where smoke from wood fires flavored their food, nobody can pretend that liquid smoke, sometimes called Wood Vinegar, is a natural product. But what about the Balsamic Vinegar?


An Answer - Not All Balsamic Vinegar Is Paleo

The Culinary Challenge Rules did not address vinegar at all, as OK or not. So I consulted a few different paleo diet websites: Paleo Magazine, the Caveman Diet Blog, and the Paleo Porn Blog. All of them said that vinegars, as fermented products and not products of industrial processes, are fine for paleo diets.

So I made my salad -- and it was delicious! If you have not made your own wild weed salad, with a lot of different kinds of tasty weeds, I really encourage you to learn your edible weeds and enjoy this great food. These salads are great!

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But there's a catch that I discovered. One of the key ideas of the Paleo Culinary Challenge was to not use food containing non-food additives, like chemical preservatives. I didn't look closely at the ingredients in my Balsamic Vinegar. I figured since it was "of Modeno", it must be "the good stuff". If I had looked closer, I would have seen that this particular Balsamic Vinegar contained caramel coloring and potassium metabisulfite. Neither of those is strictly paleo, because they are additives.

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A Lesson - If A Food is Processed At All, Look At The Ingredients

I rely on my homestead for a lot of my food. I eat pretty simply. I don't use many processed foods. But I never thought so much about Balsamic Vinegar. Fortunately, I had an alternative that did qualify as Paleo for the Culinary Challenge.

Earlier in the year, I had make my own version of Balsamic Vinegar, from apple cider, honey, peppercorns, and the tender springtime needles of Spruce Trees. And that apple cider was simply fermented apples and water, with no preservatives at all. You can see how I made it, in this video that I made for my YouTube channel:

So the very next day, I picked more weeds and made another big salad with walnuts and raisins. And I used my Wild Spruce Tree Balsamic Vinegar for my entry into the Culinary Challenge.

So balsamic vinegar is not necessarily a simple food. From here on out, I will look more closely at the labels of any commercial balsamic vinegar that I buy. Or maybe I will just make more from my Spruce Trees this spring!

What Do You Think?

Have you ever tried "eat Paleo"? Do you eat any wild foods? Do you like Balsamic Vinegar on your salads? Do you knew what's in your Balsamic Vinegar?

If there are any specific plants from this salad, or others that I've posted about, that you want to know more about, let me know. I'll put together a post about it.


Plant List

  1. Spearmint - Mentha spicata - it lasts from spring until deep winter
  2. Field mustard greens – Brassica rapa – leaves from fall through early summer
  3. Hedge mustard – Sisymbrium officinale - leaves from fall through early summer
  4. Wild chives - Allium schoeneprasum - leaves from fall through spring
  5. Elephant garlic - Allium ampeloprasum - leaves from fall through spring
  6. English daisy – Bellis perennis – leaves from fall through early summer
  7. Cleavers - Galium aparine - leaves late winter to late spring
  8. Bittercress - Cardamine hirsuta - leaves fall to early summer
  9. Wild arugula - Diplotaxis tenuifolia - leaves all year, except for deepest cold
  10. Narrowleaf plantain - Plantago lanceolata - leaves fall through early spring
  11. Cats-ear - Hypochaeris radicata - winter leaves are tender and mild
  12. Chickweed - Stellaria media - from fall through spring
  13. Nipplewort - Lapsana communis - leaves fall through spring
  14. Dandelion greens and flowers – Taraxacum officinale – winter leaves are tender and mild
  15. Purple deadnettle - Lamium purpureum - leaves fall through early spring

Foraging on Steemit

I write about foraging because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wilderness.

I would like Steemit to be the premier site for Foraging on the Internet! If you have any thoughts about foraging, or experiences to share, write a post and be sure to use the Foraging tag. And check out the @foraging-trail to see curated quality posts about foraging. Happy Foraging!



** Haphazard Homestead **

*** foraging, gardening, nature, simple living close to the land ***

All content is 100% Haphazard Homestead - photos and all!

I participate in Operation Translation. All my posts are available for translation under the rules listed on the linked post from @papa-pepper. Logo provided by @oepc85. Post goes 100% to Steem Power! Logo provided by @merej99

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@haphazard-hstead very good post! So you should throw your balsamic poison I mean vinegar :D

As for soy sauce, it has something to do with soya - so many GMO these days. Unless its fermented - it would kill you later on. So I'd rather stick to salt and normal vegetable or meat flavor - they already have their own tastes but the additives destroy so many people's taste buds so unless there's too much of the taste - they always say - it's blanch. Most of the time it's not - they probably have been eating synthetic food - it tweaked their taste buds.

I wish we could also read labels of ingredients of the food we eat in a resto eh?

I also learned a great lot from last week. Btw, not all Enumbers are synthetic - only those that are marked orange and red. Im near going to bed when I saw your reply.

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Nice post :) beautiful ,

thanks for sharing really interesting I might get to foraging, although I'm missing those olive oil and good vinegar right now.

Cheers! , wish more people would get to see your post :) very colorful and informative

and about operation translation? the link doesn't work , it's a first for me hearing of it .

Thanks! There are a lot of great weeds to eat out there, whatever kind of dressing you like to put on your salads.
Thanks for letting me know about the link for Operation Translation. I fixed it. The project is to let people translate my posts and post them on their own page. They can keep the earnings for their translations, if they follow the rules under the link. The goal is to make information available to people that use other languages.

Thank you ,great idea :) hope more people get on board :) I saw a steemit clone called golos for the russian crowd, I'm sure more will pop up ad having the articles here is even better in a way :) more people will converse and become bi/tri/.. lingual

You're welcome.

You extraordinary man. I captured you.

Thanks! I bet you have some of the same weeds in your area. Many of our tasty weeds were brought over from Europe when settlers came here. And now they grow wild all over the place. So, thanks, Europe! ; )

I agree with you. When spring comes, we also eat dandelion, nettle.

I'm glad to know that you enjoy some wild weeds, too. : )

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