We have the best friends. Last night we were invited to dinner at our Vermont parents' house. Carl and Deb have adopted us and saved us from many disasters.
One of the dishes they served was wild goose tongue greens. Carl and Deb have built a second home in New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy. They spend several weeks a year there and each summer they collect this marsh sea grass to eat. They prepare it by boiling it lightly. It needs no seasoning as it is naturally salty. We loved it. Deb sent us home with a ziplock bag filled with raw goosegrass greens to prepare at home.
We have had many discussions about whether or not to count plants fed to us rather than collected and prepared by us. Since our tagline is one family, one year, one hundred wild foods, we have decided there is nothing wrong with counting wild plants we recieve from others.
However, this presents an interesting dilemma, and it is especially strong with the goose grass. When we eat a plant collected and prepared by others, we don't really know what we are eating. We have not identified the plant, nor have we seen where it was collected. We are only eating one part of the plant and it is usually already processed. With the crayfish Tifin gave us, identification was relatively easy. Not so with goose tongue.
I have just spent an hour on the computer and in my books reading about "goose tongue." It seems there are a few plants that have this common name, most of them edible, but not the same plant. I found many references to what I think Deb and Carl served us, a marsh grass that grows in the Bay of Fundy with a long history of being eaten by the peoples native to the area as well as French Canadian settlers. The pictures looked encouraging, but I found several different scientific names. It also had an array of common names from the most common passe-pierre and goose tongue to cleavers and goosegrass.
When I checked my Peterson's guide, I found galium aparine (one of the scientific names listed for Deb and Carl's plant), with the common names cleavers and goosegrass. This plant, however, does not seem to be what we ate last night. Though edible, it is not a marsh grass, grows "throughout," and looks nothing like the pictures of passe-pierre I found online or the plant we were served.
I need to do more research on the genus galium as it was the most common one associated with the marsh sea grass. Perhaps that will lead me in the right direction. Regardless, we ate a fantastic wild green, not from our area, that many people eat and enjoy. We will count it on our list, though we aren't quite sure what it truly is. Hopefully, one day we will travel with Deb and Carl, buy a local field guide, and collect this delicious edible ourselves.