#TWKatHome Family Fridays
Turn your Outdoor Scavenger Hunt into Dinner
Ben Fertig, TWK Contributor
At TasteWise Kids, we know that parents have so much going on between work or looking for work, taking care of kids and getting a healthy meal into everyone’s belly. Getting outdoors into nature can be a major relief to the cabin fever the pandemic has caused. It can also feel like one more thing you “have to do”. Here is one way to make it fun and ends with a quick and easy meal on the table.
Take a walk around your neighborhood with your kids for a scavenger hunt and look for some garlic mustard. It’s an edible plant that tends to grow in untended wooded or shady areas. Garlic mustard is actually an invasive plant that was intentionally introduced for food and medicine. And it pops up just about everywhere.
As you explore, encourage kids to use all their senses to explore. Look at the shape of the leaves, compare the colors of the flower, leaves and roots. Feel the texture of the leaves, both on the top and the bottom. Listen to the stalk or roots snap when they break. Smell fresh plant. Taste the spiciness of the roots.
Be Careful Where You Pick!
Whenever foraging, make sure you have permission to pluck the plants. Also, make sure the area is not sprayed. Look for single stalk plants about one to two feet tall with leaves that are solidly green. To harvest simply pull it out of the ground! It’s that easy. The entire plant is edible. The roots are spicy, a bit like horseradish. Be sure to thoroughly wash before eating.
Time to get Cooking
Here’s one delicious and versatile recipe for garlic mustard pesto which can be used on pasta, grilled chicken or even in a salad. I love this recipe because its quick and easy and hard for me to get wrong. The hardest part is not collecting too much to start with!
Don’t worry, if you don’t forage, you can still make this recipe. You can substitute another green (think arugula, spinach, kales or a combination) instead of the garlic mustard greens. To add in nature in a different way, head to a local farmers market (yes they are open!) and talk to a local farmer about how he or she grew the greens they have to offer.
Garlic Mustard Pesto
- 1 cup washed and drained garlic mustard leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put everything into a food processor and process until smooth. Make sure everything gets chopped up finely.
- Remove from processor and put into serving or storage container.
Adjust the recipe to your child’s tastes and have fun with modifying it. Some like to add Parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds or walnuts. My son likes to add pine nuts on top of the finished pesto as a garnish. When I make this with my daughter, she likes to add in a pinch of wasabi paste before processing to add a little heat. Have fun experimenting!
Looking for other, simple recipes that feature in season fruit and vegetables? Check out some other recipes provided by TasteWise Kids.
Let us know about your adventures! Post your photos and tell us about your experiences foraging on social media with #TasteWiseKids.