Turn your weeds into salted dandelions good enough to eat

Ingredients for a more adventurous dinner are closer than you think! Mia Wasilevich’s new book, “Ugly Little Greens,” gives tips and recipes for plucking and cooking with wild foods.

Foraging for food has a romantic quality to it. But chef Mia Wasilevich says the little weeds people pluck from their gardens are commonplace components of the world’s natural grocery: “They are the everyday greens and unsung heroes that faithfully pop up year after year. They are not the regional or exotic finds. Rather, they are the ‘salt of the earth’ staples.”

Though foraging is, by nature, a hyper-local activity, Wasilevich has suggestions that apply to wherever your hunting and gathering occurs. Her first piece of advice? Seek out an expert in your neck of the woods. “Foraging is very much an oral tradition passed from one person to another. I feel that the connection between two people — teacher-to-student, face-to-face — creates an awareness and sense of responsibility that can’t always be duplicated from learning something online or from a book,” she says. Another important lesson: Don’t take the grandmother. Responsible harvesting ensures there will be plenty of natural greens in the wild for years to come. Try her recipe featuring a common weed in California permaculture (or green, if you’re Wasilevich): the humble dandelion.

Photo by Mia Wasilevich.