How To: Make 'Dirt' You Can Actually Eat

Make 'Dirt' You Can Actually Eat

Want to show all your foodie friends that you're really in the know? Then it's time to master the art of making edible dirt. Chefs out there are finding ways to take various foodstuffs and dry, char, and combine them to give the appearance of actual dirt—only with a rich, savory taste.

DIY potted potatoes in edible dirt. Image via Merlin & Rebecca

The ingredients vary—some use a combination of mushrooms, leeks, and nuts while others grind up one element, like olives, in food processors.

Dried chanterelle mushrooms and shelled and roasted pumpkin seeds. Image via Merlin & Rebecca

Chef René Redzepi of famed Copenhagen restaurant Noma is the most celebrated purveyor of edible dirt. His version, as describes it, is made "… from dried malt and beer." Once of the most interesting parts is that it's presented in terra cotta pots, complete with a whole raw radish "planted" in the dirt to really give it that earthy feel.

Noma's famous "radished in soil" dish. Image via Nordic Nibbler

Fortunately, edible dirt isn't too hard to recreate for home cooks and can be served as a base or a garnish for all kinds of dishes, from salads to eggs. You can recreate Redzepi's version, make a sweet variation (using Oreos, naturally), or make a super-healthy version courtesy of Tim Ferriss.

Tim Ferriss' edible dirt. Image via Doctor Oz

There's also a slightly different version that combines things like oatmeal stout, espresso grind, cocoa powder, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and black barley powder.

A variation of edible dirt. Image via Anonymous Food Blog

Just keep in mind that this is very different from the time-honored practice of eating actual clay or earth. Some people consume dirt for health reasons, others do it for spiritual ones, while others practice geophagy out of necessity.

Haitian boy shows his tongue after eating mud cookies. Image by Ariana Cubillos, AP/USA Today

But despite what you may have heard from actress Shailene Woodley, there aren't any conclusive studies that eating clay does great things for your body. If you're lucky enough to live in a place where food is plentiful, we say get your nutrition from actual fruits and vegetables instead.

Would you eat edible dirt? How about the real kind?

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Cover image via Merlin & Rebecca


"Haitian boy showing off his dirty tongue after eating mud cookies."

I find this statement very offensive. He shows off his dirty tongue should be replaced with shows of his tongue after eating mud cookies. Apparently, it's very easy to spot an opinionated racist these days!

It might just have been a poorly-thought-out caption, not racist per se, but you're definitely right that it needs to be changed. I went with your suggestion. Thanks for bringing it up!

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