Wild Things and a Savory Onion Bread Recipe!

RosaMultiflora640For some time I have been trying to identify and catalog many of the naturally useful and ornamental plants here.  Though I haven’t been able to focus on this activity as much as I would like, there has been an abundance of wild things growing this year which has made identification easier.

Free Wild Roses

One plant in particular caught my eye (or rather my nose by its fragrance!) – a wild flowering shrub that usually only grows behind the house at the wood line.  This year it was painted across the landscape in beautiful white, fragrant drifts.  It had tiny, jagged “spearmint” leaves ending in a pointed tip with pretty little white flowers in bunches of 5 petals each.  I learned yesterday that this is a wild rose and its name is Rosa Multiflora!  What a wonderful thing to have roses for free!

There are various purple, white and yellow wild flowers I have yet to identify. And to start the spring, there are always the beautiful and cunning patches of violets dotting the hilly places.

Wild Things to Eat

The small burdock patch this year has become abundant due to the run off from the Duck pen which leads downhill to their area.  Clover is growing everywhere on the drive, much to the hen’s and duck’s delight.  It’s an especially tasty feed supplement for them.  Lemon balm is spreading over the drive as well and has already been used in some sun tea and will be used in a later bread recipe.

The wild blackberry patch promises to produce enough berries this year to make some nice desserts or even some jam or  Victorian blackberry jam cake which also uses the lemon balm leaves, the violets and thee blackberries as cake decoration.VictorianBlackberryJam And while I haven’t had much luck getting my new set of herbs to germinate this year, there is wild oregano growing everywhere on its own.

Wild Oregano

Wild oregano has a very spicy smell, quite similar to its domesticated cousin.  I’ve used it in a few things in place of regular oregano but I had never thought to use it raw in a salad or even a bread.

When things get tight (and they do from time to time ) on a homestead, you start looking around for food that’s already there and waiting for you – you just haven’t thought hard enough about how you can use it….yet.

While researching the uses of wild oregano I learned that it is of course, highly nutritional, can be used as a spice in foods, can be eaten raw as an addition to a lettuce salad, or as a salad on its own.  It is a highly enjoyed by the Lebanese people this way.  I’m hoping to have some as part of an herb salad this Memorial Day as well as using it in another bread recipe, this time as a savory bread with onions…

Wild Oregano and Vidalia Onion bread

1 tablespoon butter, plus more to grease the loaf pan
1 small vidalia onion, finely diced (a yellow onion can be used)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (slightly heaping) teaspoon minced fresh wild oregano, plus a few sprigs more for topping if desired
¾ cup milk, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
2 duck eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F; grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with butter.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add the onion and saute until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and wild oregano in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk together the milk, olive oil (or melted butter), and eggs in a large bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just to combine; stir in the onion last.  Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes and a toothpick test comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes in the pan, then remove the bread from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

One Response to “Wild Things and a Savory Onion Bread Recipe!”
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  1. […] freezing lemon balm (as I have already done with my wild oregano) is a great way to bring some of spring back into winter.  And it’s very easy to […]

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