Going Wild

Grab your fork and head for the woods. Ready to munch on some violets? Hungry for a yellow daylily? Good news, they're in bloom and ready to be tossed in a salad or mixed in with a little cottage cheese and chive for a tasty feast. Most of us don't think about wildflowers when we think about lunch, but Ann Gruczka can change that. She's a wildflower enthusiast and volunteer at The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, which is owned by the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. On June 6, at The Rocks' 29th Annual Wildflower Festival, she and Janet Hill, owner of Sugar Hill Botanicals, will give a workshop about floral edibles. They'll take you into the woods and point out what can - and can't - be eaten. Then they'll give you recipes to make a dish with what you find on the forest floor. "One of my favorites," says Gruczka, "is the wild rose. The flowers are edible; you can put them in a salad. Then when the flowers are gone you can use the hips to make some tea." Then there's the fiddlehead fern that Gruczka likes to steam or stir fry with butter just before they bloom. The list of edibles also includes nasturtiums (great in salads or as a garnish), white clover (eat the flowers and make tea), dandelions (make wine and use as salad greens), chicory (a good substitute for coffee) and, of course, wild blueberries and strawberries (on your cereal or wherever). The workshop starts at 1 p.m. Glenn Norris of Glenn Norris Photography (see photo above and more at www.glennnorrisphotography.com) will hold a short seminar on flower photography and accompany guests on the trail to shoot some pictures. Other workshops: Decorating Lampshades with Dried Flowers and Herbal Teas. Forest Society staff and volunteers will lead walks on the 1,400-acre protected reserve's Mile Path, a hidden woodland trail from a bygone era, and talk about the natural world and the heritage of The Rock Estate, former summer home of the Glessner family.
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