Wild edibles include weeds | VailDaily.com

Wild edibles include weeds

Derek Franz
Chanterelle mushroom with fork
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

A Durango native, Katrina Blair grew up fascinated with edible plants found in the wild.

“I camped out a whole summer after high school eating mostly wild edibles,” she said.

She has since earned degrees in biology and holistic health education, authored several books and launched the Turtle Lake Refuge, a non-profit organization with a mission to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands.

“It’s important to eat wild plants,” she said. “They have a greater mineral content and are more resilient to the local conditions. They have a wild intelligence that gets passed on to us when we eat them.”

Many plants that are generally considered weeds, such as thistles, are an ideal food source, Blair said.

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“They are so available, it’s a great place to start,” she said. “Instead of spraying them with herbicide, let’s harvest and use them.”

Blair enjoys the thistle flower as gum and she eats the stems like celery. Leaves are made into a “green lemonade” and roots are use to make chai tea.

“The green lemonade and chai is so delicious, we sell out of them at every farmer’s market in Durango,” she said.

Another product Blair enjoys is dandelion ice cream.

She said she has educated many chefs about using these kinds of foods and they are generally receptive.

“They’re usually excited to have a new tool to play with,” she said.

Eagle’s Mushroom & Wine participants will likely have a chance to try some of these concoctions themselves. Blair plans to put together a salad made from wild edibles found around Eagle and she will have a “bicycle blender” to make juices and smoothies.

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