The Tricky Business of Eating Found Foods
Nasturtiums are lovely, easy to grow and delicious on a salad — but don’t eat them unless you’re certain they are nasturtiums and not a toxic twin. Photo courtesy University of Connecticut​

The Tricky Business of Eating Found Foods

In spring 2020, as COVID-19 was sending city folks up here full-time to live in the country, The Lakeville Journal published its annual short article talking about the delights of finding, cooking and eating the wild leeks that are also known as “ramps.” 

This did not end well. Several people unfamiliar with the dangers of eating found foods without a guide ended up with severe gastric distress that took them to the emergency room at Sharon Hospital. Our goal at this newspaper company is not ever to poison our readers. However, spring is here again and the ramps are beginning to mature on the sides of roads and under bushes in swampy parts of our region. 

We would like to strongly encourage anyone who is interested in going out to forage for found foods in the woods, which is super fun, to please find a competent guide to take you, someone who has found and cooked and eaten wild ramps many times and has never ended up in the emergency room because of it.

The same caution applies to another unconventional food that the University of Connecticut sent an email about this week. Kaelin Smith from the university’s Home & Garden Education Center writes in this week’s nature column that gardeners might want to think about edible flowers as they prepare to plant their gardens.

Three flowers Smith recommends as beautiful and as edible are calendula, nasturtiums and squash blossoms. I’ve never tasted calendula but I can vouch for the delicious delight of eating nasturtiums and squash blossoms (usually from zucchini). These plants are also fairly easy to grow in a decent-sized garden plot. 

And an advantage you have here is that, if you buy and plant a nasturtium plant, you can feel pretty confident that you are actually eating nasturtium blossoms.

Enjoy some edible flowers this summer; but make sure you know what they are. 

Latest News

Nuvance hospital system to merge with Northwell Health

Sharon Hospital would become part of a larger regional health systems with 28 hospitals.

Yehyun Kim/CTMirror.org

Nuvance Health, which owns four hospitals in Connecticut and three in New York, will merge with Northwell Health to form a larger regional health system across two states.

Together, the companies will own 28 hospitals and more than 1,000 sites of care and employ 14,500 providers.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Creators: An interview with filmmaker Keith Boynton

Keith Boynton, left, with Aitor Mendilibar, right, the cinematographer who shot “The Haunted Forest” as well as “The Scottish Play” and “The Winter House.” In the background of is Vinny Castellini, first assistant director.

Submitted

Keith Boynton is a filmmaker who grew up in Salisbury, Connecticut. He attended Salisbury Central School, Town Hill School, and Hotchkiss. He has made numerous feature films including Seven Lovers, The Scottish Play, The Winter House, and is just wrapping up a new film, The Haunted Forest, which is a horror/slasher movie. Boynton has made numerous music videos for the band Darlingside, and for Alison Krauss. He is a poet, a playwright, and comic book art collector.

JA: This series of stories The Creators focuses on artists, their inspiration, and their creative process. Keith, what was the seed that got you started?

Keep ReadingShow less
Millerton director is an Oscar nominee

Arlo Washington in a film still from the Oscar-nominated short "The Barber of Little Rock."

Story Syndicate

John Hoffman, a Millerton resident, has been nominated for his film “The Barber of Little Rock,” which he co-directed with Christine Turner, in the Best Documentary Short Film category at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards.

Distributed by The New Yorker and produced by Story Syndicate Production in association with 59th & Prairie, Better World Projects, and Peralta Pictures, “The Barber of Little Rock” explores the efforts of Arkansas local hero Arlo Washington, who opened a barbershop at 19 years old and, with a mission to close the racial inequality gap in his community, went on to found the Washington Barber College as well as People Trust Community Federal Credit Union. Washington’s goal is aiding his primarily Black neighborhood, which has historically been underserved by more prominent banking institutions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Inside Troutbeck's kitchen

Chef Vincent Gilberti

Courtesy of Troutbeck

About growing up in Carmel, New York, Troutbeck’s executive chef Vincent Gilberti said he was fortunate to have a lot of family close by, and time together was always centered around food.

His grandparents in White Plains always made sure to have a supply of cured meats, olives, cheeses and crusty bread during their weekend visits. But it wasn’t until his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, when he was 16 that his passion for food really began. It was there that he joined the German Club, whose partnership with Johnson & Wales University first introduced him to cooking.

Keep ReadingShow less