Thursday, September 8, 2016

Quick Bites: Join the Foraging Movement From Your Living Room

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 12:18 PM

No, by that headline we don’t mean you’ll be foraging for lost peanuts and spilled M&Ms hiding in your couch cushions. We’re talking about using your laptop to access (specifically, to buy) foods from the great outdoors that have already been foraged for you.

Foraging is perhaps the most grassroots method of obtaining sustenance. (In fact, it’s literally related to grass roots—or amaranth roots, or purslane roots… Ugh, please forgive us the gratuitous word play.)

You already know all about it if you read the Weekly’s recent review of John Slattery’s new book Southwest Foraging, which illustrates what foraging means in the Sonoran desert, detailing where to find certain desert plants and how you—yes, you—can collect grains, cacti, seeds and weeds and to make tasty treats in your own kitchen.

But maybe you don’t want to find them, grind them, or frankly do anything except eat them. And that’s OK! Participating in this most primordial of food movements doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get out there with your gardening gloves, tongs, spade or what-have-you to obtain your own plant ingredients. Such a situation shouldn’t bar you from partaking in foods gathered from your own backyard (we mean it figuratively this time)—and you should partake of them, because they’re often the healthiest choice, not to mention the most sustainable.

If you lack the time (or energy—admit it) to forage for yourself, we give you permission to forgo Slattery’s book… because he also has an online business. Through Desert Tortoise Botanicals, he sells the stuff he gathers and/or makes with the our lovely desert’s floral bounty.
Lots of his shop’s products are medicinal, not edible—tinctures, salves, et cetera. But many are both salutary and savory, like his chaga chai tea, “Sonoran cocoa” (made with mesquite meal), wild oregano honey or prickly pear juice.

All Desert Tortoise Botanical products are described in detail on the website (ingredients, uses, medicinal properties), and all are quite affordable (Sonoran Sleep Tea, $9; Fire Cider, $13.50).
Of course, if you do want to forage for yourself, you can buy Slattery’s book at Desert Tortoise Botanicals, too.