Foraging makes me think of going into the woods to gather ingredients, shooting a deer with a bow and arrow, and then cooking everything over an open fire. That is not me. Cooking over an open fire sounds nice, but I like the grill. I am not a camper, and I am not a hunter. AT ALL.
So when I think about foraging I don’t personally feel like I fit. But if you think about it, foraging happens all around us, and it doesn’t necessarily look like a person in the woods hunting for food. In our modern world, someone has to find the best ingredients and products and then put them on a grocery shelf.
I grew up with a pecan tree, which was fitting because we lived on Pecan Avenue. I would go to the backyard and pick up the pecans that had fallen, and that became my snack for the day. The older I got the less appealing it was to go into the backyard and pick up pecans. It was boring and felt like a chore. I remember my mom picking them up and I sat in a chair wondering why she was doing that when we could go to the store and purchase shelled pecans. She would shell them and use them in baked goods, or wash them off and give them to people. She was proud and felt at ease knowing where the pecans came from.
I have realized that someone has gone out to forage food for me to eat, so I can be blessed with the convenience of a grocery store. What I have learned over the years is that we have abused the foraging process and no longer feel the need to participate in this practice.This realization makes me thankful for the unseen person and makes me want to relearn to forage for my food.
Foraging is an art. It takes time to find something, maybe it is in the woods, or maybe it is at your local farmers market. But it is necessary. When you forage for your food, you understand what you like, what works for your body, and you learn to connect what you eat back to the land.
- ½ C. Olive Oil
- 1 Whole Small Cooking Pumpkin
- 1 Onion
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 C. Carrots
- 1 C. Chopped Celery
- 1 Hot Pepper (seeds left in)
- ½ tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
- 3 C. Vegetable Stock [link to recipe]
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Cayenne
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 Bunch of Chopped Cilantro
- 1 Cup Yogurt
- Preheat your oven to 375℉. Skin and cut your pumpkin half and deseed it (you can save them to roast). Chop it into cubes. Coat with ¼ C. olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. In an oven safe casserole dish, bake the pumpkin for 35-40 min, fork tender.
- While that is roasting, prep and chop all of the other vegetables. When you are dealing with the pepper, coat your hand with coconut oil before chopping to help prevent any burn. Heat a stockpot over med-high heat, add the olive oil. Allow to heat for 1 min. Add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Saute them for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. Add all of the spices. Then add the cooked pumpkin and cover with the stock.
- Bring to a boil, and then cover the soup and bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 25 minutes. Laddle into a bowl and top with yogurt and cilantro.