Foraging With Food Allergies

Today, Eli went foraging in the woods with his book club and it’s a super big deal. Eli has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and has a lot of food allergies. We don’t do potluck dinners or attend a lot of birthday parties, and we certainly do not go foraging in the woods. But we are reading My Side of the Mountain, and we are stepping outside of our comfort zone.

I use “we” because as a mom, the thought of accidental exposure terrifies me. The thought of him having a flare keeps me up at night. So today, we went foraging and it was great. He ate foods that were safe and he is ok. We’re ok. This book club has stretched us in a good way. We have grown as mother and son. I am so proud of him. Sam was brave. Eli was brave. So I must be brave.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…WE WENT FORAGING!!

We collected garlic mustard. It is an invasive species that is out of control in our local parks. We started by identifying the plant’s leaves which have “teeth like” edges. Once we found them, we pulled them out by the root to prevent them from coming back. It is important to gather them in the spring because it prevents them from flowering, and they tend to taste better.

Once we gathered enough garlic mustard, we headed back to the nature center where we separated the plants from the roots and washed them. We found some chives growing nearby, so we grabbed those as well. Then we were ready to make our pesto.

Here’s our recipe. We omitted Parmesan cheese and substituted the traditional pine nuts with sesame seeds. I can’t wait to make this again!


Garlic Mustard Pesto

  • 1 cup garlic mustard (rinsed well)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T  chives
  • 2 T  sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

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