Saturday, February 11, 2012

Looks like Celery, Eats like a Potato?

I'm  a little stuck on foraging.  That workshop i went to last week made an impact on me, and i have a lot of foraging interest to work out before i can talk about other things too much.

Like for example, i haven't told you yet, that while i was at said workshop last week, my husband went to the store and bought me a CAR.  Yeah,  I haven't even told you that yet.

So, back to foraging.

One of the most intriguing parks of the Edible Weeds Nature Walk that i told you about last week, was the part about the Dwarf Palmetto.  A plant that grows profusely in my little wet woods, and one which i have considered to be a weed.  Rumor has it that some misguided migratory birds must have accidentally pooped  Dwarf Palmetto seeds in our forests some hundreds of years ago, and that's why we have tiny wannabe Palm Trees growing in the middle of the Piney Woods.

Well, to my delight, Merriwether (you know, the edible weeds guy) told us that the tap-root-ish part of this thing is a wonderful source of starchy calories, and it "looks like celery and eats like a potato."  Or at least that's the way i remember it.

So this past week, i got inspired in the middle of my day that i was going to dig up some Palmetto Root and see what's up with this potato celery business.  I raced (at all the normal speeds i usually race home, but with greater purpose) home after work, changed my clothes, and found a shovel as fast as i could.  Before i started digging, i pulled up the Dwarf Palmetto entry on Merriwether's website, and then i started digging.

Here are the Palmetto's,

Here are their root balls.

Here is what was left after i peeled back all the fronds, etc., according to Merriwether's instructions.

Then i peeled a little more.

He said it would be a little sweeter if i roasted it a bit, so i put it in the oven for a few minutes.

I think i missed something.  That's nothing like a celery or a potato.  And it wasn't edible.  

BUT, like Edison or Bell, or some scientist who failed a lot before doing something that would change American life for the forseeable future, i will press on.  Perhaps, with the Palmetto, i'll just wait for the berries in the Spring.

Today, in a less effort-laden experiment in foraging, i went outside and clipped some dandelion-ish family weeds to add to my salad.  Not too bad.  And while i was out there, i remembered that some of our lettuce plants from last year's mostly failed garden, had started growing, and those were delicious!


  1. I haven't tried the dwarf palm or any palm for that matter but did find this:
    Recipe for Taal-holelke (Boiled Swamp Cabbage) The following recipe comes from the Seminole Tribe of Native Floridians.
    Cut out the heart of the cabbage palm. Strip off the outer hard tough fronds to reach the actual white heart. This is the most tender part and should be cut into 1/2-inch strips or cubes. Cook slowly in very little water for 20-30 minutes, adding two tablespoons of cane syrup or sugar and salt to taste. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. (Swamp cabbage appears on your grocery shelves as "Hearts of Palm.") The page I found it on was this:

  2. Sweet! Thank you, Fishingmap!!


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