What can you do with Mayapple?

No, Mayapple is not in season right now. But I have a bunch of wild foods, including about a dozen cups of Mayapple pulp, in my freezer that was supposed to be for the Great Lakes Foragers Gathering. Since we had to cancel this summer’s event, I’m stuck having to find a way to consume all of this food (darn). For those who don’t know, a dozen cups of Mayapple pulp is a lot. It has a fairly strong flavor, and a little goes a long way. So yesterday I had a social distance BBQ with a few friends and we came up with some creative ways to use some of it.

Smoothies: We all really liked the smoothies. This is something that could easily be made if you only had pulp from a couple of fruits (a fairly likely scenario). I would suggest mixing in some dark or spiced rum for an adult version.
1) Spiced Mayapple-Orange smoothie: equal amounts of Mayapple pulp and Orange juice, lots of ice, ground wild spice mix (sassafras, prickly ash, wild ginger, and spicebush). Consensus: it was really tasty, sweet and a bit tart, the combination of OJ and Mayapple is a good one. It would be just as good without the spices, or with commercial spices like cinnamon and clove.
2) Mayapple-Maple smoothie: equal amounts of Mayapple pulp and water, lots of ice, unspecified amount of maple sugar (we just threw some in, we didn’t measure). Consensus: This was probably the favorite Mayapple recipe of the day. The other things we did were good, but everyone agreed the combination of Mayapple and maple was absolutely wonderful. You taste predominantly Mayapple up front and then the sweetness of the maple lingers. I will definitely be making this again later this summer.

Pancakes: (Almost forgot to take a pic of this one.) I have used Mayapple in baked goods before and absolutely love it. Basically, you can take any recipe that calls for applesauce and substitute Mayapple pulp. We decided on pancakes because they are quick and easy to cook on a griddle over a fire, and we wanted to stay outside so we could remain distanced.
Mayapple pancakes: 2 cups pancake mix, 1 cup sour milk, 2 duck eggs, 1 cup Mayapple pulp. (This recipe could easily be cut in half to make pancakes for 2-3 people.) We added wild blueberries to some and made some without. I have baked with the combination of Mayapple and blueberries before and the two flavors are very complementary. Consensus: Both the ones with the blueberries and the ones without were really good, but everyone preferred the ones with the blueberries. No need for syrup since the Mayapple made them sweet all on their own.

Want to learn more about foraging and cooking with wild foods? Subscribe to the blog, check out Will Forage for Food on Youtube, and keep an eye on the Events page. This summer we are doing plant walks regularly on Zoom and an online foraging class, as well as limited participation in person walks and camps.