Learn about foraging and preparing seaweed Saturday

Seaweed croppedMore than 250 species of seaweed thrive in the waters along New England’s coast, and many of them are edible. Learn which ones to forage and how to prepare them Saturday, Jan.25 when Focus Yoga in East Greenwich RI presents “Our Garden Under The Sea.”

Seaweed is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Many of the species that are edible thrive in the area between the tides, so you can pick them by wearing chest waders.

Katherine Conte of Focus Yoga will explain how to use the nutrient rich plants. Her class is scheduled to run from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday; it costs $40. For more information visit her website here, or call 401-354-9112. I hope to see you there.

If you can’t make it, you can download an excellent “Field Guide to Economically Important Seaweeds of Northern New England” here. It’s fee, and contains some great recipes (including pickled seaweed, casseroles, and more) as well as foraging tips.

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‘Shroom hunters head for the woods

September is mushrooming time in southern New England, and there are plenty of activities for fungus fans throughout the area. Here’s a list we recently received from Noel Rowe:

USDA photo

USDA photo

September 14 Wild Mushroom Walk at Kimball Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown, RI. The program will go on if the weather is no worse than drizzly or light showers (we will cancel for a really wet, stormy day), so dress for the weather. Please note collecting mushrooms on Audubon refuges is prohibited.

Kimball Wildlife Refuge, 180 Sanctuary Road, Charlestown, RI; September 14, 2013;1:00-3:30 pm; Program fee: $ for an Audubon member adult, $4/member child; $12/non-member adult, $6/non-member child; Ages: 8 .

September 14 Mushrooming, Owling & Elegant Dining at the Audubon Society’s Maxwell May’s Lakeside Cottage in Coventry, RI from 3 to 8 p.m. Program Fee: $75/member, $85/non-member. Ages: 21 . Course Number: 134333-249.

Audubon naturalists Joe Metzen and Laura Carberry at the new Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge in Coventry for a special afternoon and evening of mushrooming, birding and fireside dining. Start off with a guided walk to the Mays lake front cottage and enjoy birding and mushrooming along the way. Once at the cottage, we will discuss our fungal findings and can answer any questions about wild mushrooms that you may have. Enjoy the sunset while sipping wine on the deck or paddling a canoe on picturesque Carr’s Pond. Then move inside and enjoy a delicious fireside dinner at a beautifully set table in the cottage. Enjoy your dessert with a presentation featuring one of Audubon’s live owls. Finally, end the evening with a relaxing stroll back to your vehicle with a search for owls along the way.

This program is limited to 8 people. Register early. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight. Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, 2082 Victory Highway, Coventry, RI.

September 18 Taking the Mystery Out of Mushrooming at Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge, Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Program Fee: $25/member, $30/non-member. Ages: 16 . Course Number: 054333-046.

September 21 Taking the Mystery Out of Mushrooming at Audubon’s Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Program Fee: $25/member; $30/non-member; Ages: Adult. 

September 25 , Taking the Mystery Out of Mushrooming returns to Audubon’s Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge, Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Program Fee: $25/member, $30/non-member. Ages: 16 .

September 28 14 Mushrooming, Owling & Elegant Dining – Max May’s Lakeside Cottage 3:00-8:00 pm; Program Fee: $75/member, $85/non-member. Ages: 21 . Course Number: 134333-249.

This program is limited to 8 people. Register early. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight. Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, 2082 Victory Highway, Coventry, RI. 

September 29 Denison-Pequotsepos Mushroom Day Festival In Mystic, CT. Fee: $18 per person with food, forays, talks and music. The day-long festival is a hoot, with local chefs preparing mushroom dishes.

Lambsquarter: one of nature’s most delicious greens

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Lambs quarters grow everywhere in New England

Lambsquarters grow everywhere in New England

Call it lambsquarters, white goosefoot or pigweed.

We call it supper. Chenopodium album is one of the most common weeds in New England, and one of the most delicious. It tastes like spinach, only better.

It is a member of the Chenopodiaceae or goosefoot family, so it is related to quinoa, beets and spinach.

It is high in Vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, manganese, potassium and iron.

Ancient people revered it, according to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. English writer Audrey Wynne Hatfield in How to Enjoy Your Weeds says that lambsquarters were “once the most valued vegetable for human beings and fodder for their animals.”

Lambsquarters must be cooked to reveal its incredible flavor. Raw, it is bland and its powdery leaf feels a little weird. Cook it as you would spinach. It’s great sauteed in olive oil with a little water or wine, plus salt. Add nettles to the pan for more flavor and nutrition.

Before eating any wild, foraged foods, be certain of what you have collected.