Some of you may already know that fig leaves are edible, I didn't and thought I'd share with those who also didn't know. Fig trees are dropping their leaves about now but if you still have some on the tree you may want to pick, wash and dry some for tea and cooking. I've used the leaves fresh and dried for tea and prefer it dried and my sister in law also cooks the leaves (she says the smaller ones are more tender) in soups and stews. I haven't done this yet but plan to. There is more information on the internet about using fig leaves, this is just one source. I also read that they can be stacked, rolled into a bundle, cooked and canned. One more source of readily available food for the home gardener.
Judy, something I intended to try this year but had not was pickling them as grape leaves for stuffing. Some old sources indicated stuffed 'fig' leaves rather than grape was the norm - don't know how accurate this is but since they are edible it would make sense to put something in or on them. Had not thought about tea or added to soups and stews. If you have recipes you might post them on the gourmet group. :-)
Judy, I appreciate the info. I want to try lamb or beef stuffed fig leaves on the grill.
Catherine I see a cookbook idea. I think it would be great to have a collection of recipes with edible ingredients you find in Phoenix or Arizona. Then have a section how to grow herbs and vegtables to go with the recipes. I like to pick a spaghetti squash from the garden, throw it on the grill. It's great with butter, salt and pepper on it. It could not be easier.
Grace, I actually wrote two books one on growing edibles in the desert and one on using herbs and spices for flavoring first (before salt and fats).
There are some books out there on using farmers market ingredients.
Here's a thought - what if we asked all VPA members to submit a recipe for something they have grown, and the VPA admin people can publish and sell the book for some income? :-) whadayathink?
Grace, the stuffed fig leaves sound good and I hope you'll let us know how they turn out.
I think a cookbook is a good idea and found a lot of edibles that we can grow here that I was unaware of. Canna lilys are widely cultivated for their starchy roots and I believe are the source of arrowroot and the young shoots are edible as are immature sunflower seed heads that can be steamed and eaten. I have seeds for devils claw that grows wild in the desert and produces pods similar to okra so they'll go into my desert landscaped front yard this spring.
Judy and Catherine,
I think the VPA native edibles cookbook is a great idea. I can't wait to cook up some sunflower hearts. Devil's claw looks like it would be neat for crafting. Maybe using these plants for crafting can be part of the book also.
The cookbook idea will help me focus. I committed myself to writing some articles specific to our Historical Coronado Neighborhood. I thought I would focus on DIY, gardening, crafts and cooking.
Do you know any businesses that do edible landscaping in Phoenix?
Grace, do you mean landscaping contractors who specialize in edibles? I believe the Garden Guy's business does that, and also there is a gal, have to find her info or card (she might be a member here) who helps homeowners with edible landscaping, and off and on I have done consulting for that purpose (but I'm slowing down :-)
Yes I was talking about contractors that specialize in edibles? I also need to make my yard dog and cat friendly. Hehe, I don't want the animals pooping in the vegtables. I was thinking of planting a border around the gardens that the animals can't cross. I also want to free up some space so the animals can run. I would like to make some stucco raised beds
You may want to check into Cyndi Ruehl's business, she teaches classes on edible desert plants and her business may be what you're looking for.
Great link, I like the pictures they have given me a lot of ideas and some direction. I am new to gardening in the desert and I really don't know what I am doing.
When you first set up the garden, Grace, you can do a funny looking but effective deterrent particularly with the cats to keep them out of the bed. Purchase a large quantity of cheap plastic forks, "plant" tines up to the 'shoulder' of the fork about every 4-6 inches apart. The first time kitty's paw hits the tines they will retreat, with no real harm done to them. I read the tip years ago and tried it in a modified baby pool bed - no more problem :-) By the way Smiling Dog is a great company, I have done lectures with them.
Judy, I just got around to looking up the info on edible Canna (new edible to me :-). Wiki has some info on it.
I have a Tropicanna, in checking it out, it is a hybrid. I'm curious now as to whether all are considered the 'agriculture' group. Love to find new edibles that do well here in the desert.
The hybrid question is something I hadn't considered and would be good to know and thanks for the links. I had also read that immature sunflower heads can also be eaten steamed as you would artichoke, probably a lot of "forage" food out there, just need to know what they are.