A trip over Kebler pass is nothing short of amazing—from summer to fall, the views stretch from craggy peaks, to rolling forests of aspen (the biggest grove of aspens in the state, and possibly one of the largest organisms in the world).
Whether you’re on way to or from Paonia, Hotchkiss or Carbondale, or just going for a hike, you should probably take your Mountain States Foraging book and some containers, baskets or the extra fabric of your dress—in the summer and fall months, this place abounds with goodies.
Take, for example, the serviceberries and stinging nettle seeds Briana found while spending the day in the woods. Serviceberries are similar to blueberries, but with a touch of almond (and larger than the blueberries you’ll find in these parts). Uses for stinging nettle seeds, can be found in Mountain States Foraging, and are considered very nutritious. They can be a bit dicey to get, considering the stinging hairs that are attached to the leaves and stalk—use caution and clippers. After you have clipped the seed-loaded upper stalk of the plant, let it dry or use the seeds fresh. The stinging nettle seeds easily come off the plant and should cause you no harm.
For this special batch of foraged goods, we enlisted the baking experts at Mountain Oven Organic Bakery to bake the berries and seeds into hearty and sweet challah bread. Mountain oven specializes in organic, sourdough leavened breads and pastries, and delicious locally sourced meals, served at The Guild Café in Crested Butte.
While we didn’t snag the challah recipe, adding serviceberries and stinging nettle seeds to any home baked bread would be a treat—sub for other berries in desserts or breads you already bake and dust the nettle seeds on top for a hearty and nutritious crunch.
The bakers at Mountain Oven recommend soaking the berries in a sugar and water bath before baking, and then letting them dry out before adding to the dough. This helps to sweeten and bring out the natural flavor of the berry.
If you were baking challah or different bread, this would make for excellent French toast, or simply as a breakfast toast with butter or coconut oil. Whatever you do, take a picture of it and tag @RootedApothecary on Instagram for a chance to be featured!
--Article written by Cayla Vidmar