Accidental Bounty

As you've all probably heard, the idea of foraging for foods offered up as part of nature's bounty is a very hot topic in the world of the modern chef. Well, actually, it's always been a very popular pastime, but it's only every so often that it comes back into the realm of current trends.

Intentional foraging for foods is certainly a time honored and well respected endeavor, but what about the accidental treasure troves we all stumble across once in a while? There may not be much skill involved, but that doesn't make it any less rewarding to all of a sudden discover something delicious when and where you least expect it.

Here's my tale of the accidental forager: For the past couple of summers I've tried to grow a patch or two of purslane in my yard. I love its succulent, crunchy, mildly tart character, and it's an extremely versatile ingredient. It's great raw in salads, or you can cook it in a variety of ways; as a vegetable component in stews; braised with bacon and garlic; or pickled in vinegar and spices. For some reason, my attempts to grow it always ended in failure, a fact made all the more painful by occasionally spotting small clumps of it poking out of the cracks in broken down sidewalks around our neighborhood. Yesterday morning I was at the park around the corner from our house with my two kids, and all of a sudden I realized that the "weeds" we were stepping all over were hundreds of patches of beautiful, plump purslane sprouting up from the woodchips around the playground equipment!

Needless to say, that trip to the park was cut short in the interest of running home to grab a shopping bag and a knife for harvesting a few pounds of my unbelievably lucky find. After a thorough washing of all the crunchy stems and succulent little leaves, I boiled up a big batch of vinegary, garlicky brine and am now the proud and hungry owner of several jars of "Baker Park Pickled Purslane". Keep your eyes on the ground; you never know what you might find down there.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits