Seriously, I would never expect to survive on found food alone, but I can't resist going out and beating the bushes now and then.
During my Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge week I saw a quail under a bush, but I wasn't sure how to catch it (and would it be legal?). I know there are deer, hares and wild turkeys in the woods behind my house, but the same questions apply.
Well, so much for free, local fauna (and lucky you, Bambi).
Flora, on the other hand, I can catch. Still not certain if I was violating any ordinances by going out and catching some, but I did it anyway. Weeds (dandelion, miner's lettuce) are probably fair game but swiping tender, young grape leaves off the vine at my local Basque eatery might be a no-no if I didn't ask first. (I asked. A-OK.)
I didn't know who to ask about the pickleweed in the picture, though. It grows in a salt marsh, and salt marshes in California tend to be all tree-huggy and protected. So I snuck it, on the sly. A few quick slashes, a couple furtive stashes, and I had my sack of salicornia, aka glasswort, samphire, or in a marketer's idea of charming sellability, "seabeans." Around my neighborhood, it's known colloquially as pickleweed, and I like that.
I like pickleweed, too. It's crunchy, tender, juicy, and kind of salty. You can eat it raw, although historically it was pickled. (I pickled some last year, but this year I felt much braver and just snacked on the fresh spikes.)
Cranky's idea for using them in a dish was a play on food words: Three Bean Salad. We cooked, separately, two kinds of dried local beans (one from a Napa boutique, and a much cheaper one from the Sacramento Valley), and stirred them into a handful cut-up seabeans. The dressing was local olive oil, homemade local cider vinegar, a pinch of local habanero powder. No salt needed.
Cost for two servings (and there were leftovers): $2.25.