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Wild edibles foraging?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
This could go in a number of places - mods, move it if you want to!

Anyone here forage for food? And by forage I mean pick and eat wild edibles?

I found a large clump of wild leeks (sometimes called ramps) in my neglected back garden

I had intended to harvest a lot and leave a few for reseeding - but it turns out (after doing some research) that I need to do it the other way around to encourage sustainability - harvest a few a leave most.

Still...caramalised garlic/leeks....

I am also going to start trying to incorporate dandelion which grows in incrediable abundance into our food. Yes, my lawn is organic, so it should be fine. I will pick away from the roadside.

We also harvest ooddles of wild raspberries every summer.

Any other wild foragers?

What do you harvest?

it seems kind of silly to pay for food like lettuce when nature has supplied massive amounts of free food (dandelion greens) right in my own lawn. I get dandelions can be bitter, but I can work around that.

post #2 of 32
i do at times. dandelion root like you said for tinctures. i've been known to eat chickweed. what i adore is hunting mushrooms. i seriously get a thrill from it.
<3 i have never found asparagus but it's a popular hunted item at this point in the season... (as are the morels! none yet this year cause i am tooooo busy but am banking on summer chanterelles cause i know where they will be!)
post #3 of 32
We played at picking the dandelion leaves and eating them early in the season while they were young and bitter-free. I have some kind of wild onions in my garden bed I decided to leave and let grow, I plan to take them this fall. Do you know a good info source for identifying wild edibles in the Midwest? All I feel certain enough to eat right now are the dandelions. Oh and a friend brought me sassafras leaves and had me dry them for tea for him last year.
post #4 of 32
Yup. We have wild raspberries growing in the bush near our cottage. I was a little surprised to learn that dh and dc agree that the best dessert I've ever made was an off-the-cuff raspberry pie using crushed up Graham Wafers (left over from making s'mores) for a crumb crust.

A neighbour told me that she found wild leek in the parkland/re-forested area where I walk the dog every day. I'm intrigued, but so far she hasn't given up the exact location. I'm jealous of your patch.

I've also been looking for a nettle patch, but so far no luck.

I was thinking about picking some chicory this year. It's something I've never tried, but there's usually some around every summer.
post #5 of 32
Berries and asparagus are all I've ever gotten. I'd love to find more things, but I don't really know what to look for?

I've heard of people eating dandelion but I've never tried it myself.
post #6 of 32
I thought we didn't eat many wild edibles, until I started mentally making my list. Here's what we gather:

- Dandelion leaves and dandelion flowers - Despite my every effort, my husband is a 'lawn guy' and our lawn does get the occassional chemicals, so our own dandelions are, unfortunately, off limits. It is really too bad, because we have plenty. When I have a safe patch to pick, though, we use the small leaves in salads, and larger leaves are chopped and added to stir fry, or serves as a salad with hot bacon dressing (this is how my grandma always made them for us). The sweet/sour dressing helps counteract the bitterness. We dip the flowers in a light fritter batter and fry them - so delicious!

- Garlic mustard - Like dandelions, this is a great one, because you're getting food and also helping get rid of a nuisance weed. Again, I usually add it to a stir fry or to omlettes. My family aren't big on cooked greens, so this is a good way to hide them.

- Morrels and Puffballs - I have never actually found morrels, but my brother and sister are both great morrel hunters, and are both generous enough to share. We like them fried in a little butter. Puffballs are the only other mushroom I feel comfortable identifying. I LOVE them, but my family is so-so on them, which is great, because it means more for me!

- Wild chamomile (Pineapple weed) - makes a decent chamomile-like tea

-Elderberries and flowers - I actually prefer the flowers. I make them the way my grandma made them for me when I was a little girl - snip the flowers and add them to pancake batter. I make the berries into pancake syrup and jelly. I've now planted elderberries in my yard, though, so I'm not sure this counts as a wild edible for me anymore...

- Wild raspberries, blackberries, thimbleberries, and mulberries - There are never enough to do anything with these, because we eat them so quickly.

- Black walnuts and hazelnuts - Yumm. The hazelnuts were gathered last fall and were eaten in a matter of days. The black walnuts, though, are my wild foraging fail. They are just so darned hard to crack that I haven't touched the ones I gathered last fall.

My grandmother always foraged for little brown mushrooms, and I so wish I had learned from her how to identify edible ones. I know where she foraged for them, and I've seen mushrooms that look like the ones she picked in that area, but I'm not taking my chances.

I'd also love to find a stand of stinging nettles (how funny does that sound?!?) or ramps, but I never have in a place where picking was OK.
post #7 of 32
Ok tell me about stinging nettle. What do you do with it? We have tons around here.
post #8 of 32
I don't get out to forage often..which makes me sad

BUT I do
dandelion-from my yard and from my grandmothers wooded area where its not sprayed
fiddleheads-seasons over already

I want to start looking for mushrooms, I know there is a few placesaround my Grandma's but people know of them so they get them first
post #9 of 32
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
Ok tell me about stinging nettle. What do you do with it? We have tons around here.
You can use it in any recipe that calls for spinach - the trick is just that they need to be cooked to remove the 'sting'. Also, you use just the leaves - not the stems. If you have a source of ramps, they taste so yummy with ramps!
post #10 of 32
i have book recommendations!
stalking the wild asparagus (i've got an ooooold copy)
forager's harvest (haven't personally read this one)
mushrooms demystified (i'm on my third copy because i keep lending it out and no one returns it!!!)

aaaand, if you're afraid of mushroom hunting, look at that demystified book. to correctly identify a foraged mushroom, most of the time, if you make a spore print the color will precisely let you know what you have in your paws. up the shrooms!
foraging is a subject so very near and dear to my heart <3
also, try looking for local community center or infoshop information- there are folks who teach these skills and boy do they love to share. our state botanical garden has workshops like that frequently, too.
post #11 of 32
Right now it is
-some early asparagus
-dandelion greens (I am going to try the battered flowers though!)
-burdock roots (get them now while the leaves are small, great in stirfry)
-green onions

I heard or read something about eating maple keys. I need to find the article

In this part of the province we also have- to my gathering knowledge- puffballs,
beech nuts(but I have not tried any),
cattail roots and stalks (also have not tried),
I have heard you can eat the bulbs of tulips and things (not tried)
berries- straw, rasp, black

Thats about all I have seen. I think I am going to get a book from the library. I love foraging.
post #12 of 32
pretty much all I've foraged myself is berries. I would love to forage elder, I don't know what it looks like or if it even grows here. for some reason, what nettle looks like just doesn't stick in my mind.

I am hoping to take a class at some point, where I learn about lots of local wild edibles. I would love to forage more.
post #13 of 32
I want to forage more, but I'm lazy

I pick wild berries- we picked SO many last year and I made enough jam to last us until January. This year I hope to make enough jam to last us all winter.

We have morrel mushrooms growing in our back woods (lucky us!)
post #14 of 32
We do We do dandelion greens in the early spring, stinging nettles in the spring, mushroom hunting from spring through the fall (though we haven't found didly squat the last few years... its really depressing!!), wild black berries, black raspberries, black walnuts, etc... various other stuff occasionally too but those are the 'big' ones, yk??
post #15 of 32
I love the spring! All the wild edibles are so young and tender.
We have been enjoying violet greens, and the flowers just came out. Yum!

Bedstraw is out, and isn't too bitter yet either. I go easy on it though.

Dandelion flowers and greens for salads. My 3 yr old is getting lessons in foraging. Soon I will pick the greens for a vinegar as I am almost out of my last years dandelion vinegar.

Little plantains, good in salad, and helpful at repelling insects.

Pine needles are always around and make a great tea, full of vitamin C, great circulatory herb.
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post
I love the spring! All the wild edibles are so young and tender.
We have been enjoying violet greens, and the flowers just came out. Yum!

Bedstraw is out, and isn't too bitter yet either. I go easy on it though.

Dandelion flowers and greens for salads. My 3 yr old is getting lessons in foraging. Soon I will pick the greens for a vinegar as I am almost out of my last years dandelion vinegar.

Little plantains, good in salad, and helpful at repelling insects.

Pine needles are always around and make a great tea, full of vitamin C, great circulatory herb.

I only learned today that violets are edible, and I have some wild ones, so i am going to positively identify to the best of my ability and go for it!

I do not know what bedstraw is - but if you have it in Vermont, I might have it. Vt is not so far away.
post #17 of 32
I hunt morals every spring. We dry them when we've had enough fresh, and then we have them the rest of the year!

I also do wild berries & apples, & nuts.

I think I'm going to try some Prickly Pear cactuses. My mother also has some flowers in her flower garden that are edible, so I'd like to try those as well.
post #18 of 32
We're pretty casual about it. There are a few places we stalk each year, but mostly we just forage as we stumble across things. We have a ton of dandelions in our yard and we encourage them. The kids love to help them reseed, no surprise there! I put the young leaves in salad, stir fries, or mixed wilted greens. The flowers are also good in salad or dipped in tempura batter and fried. The kids like to pick the flowers and munch on them for a snack. Clover flowers, too. We also have a lot of onion grass in the area, and both kids like to pick and munch on that. I usually snip it into salads or use it anywhere I'd use chives. Lemon sorrel is another really common plant in our yard. I like to just munch a few leaves as a refresher when I'm working in the garden. It's another one that's good in salad.

The elementary school across the street has a wooded path down one side of the property that's lined with wild cherry trees. If we catch those before the birds, we can often get a few pounds of cherries. Strawberries and raspberries also grow wild in various parts of our neighborhood and in state parks where we go hiking.

I keep a lookout for staghorn sumac every August. You can soak the heads in water and strain it to make a lovely citrus-y drink that tastes like lemonade and is very high in vitamin C. It's pretty easy to tell the difference between staghorn sumac and poison sumac (which isn't truly part of the sumac family at all) once you see them side by side.

Wild asparagus and fiddleheads are lovely in early spring when we can find them, but they aren't as common here as a bit north.
post #19 of 32
I have foraged but not lately:
wild mint
berries of varying sorts
wild chamomile
clover flowers
pine needles
cedar leaves (can't remember what they're called but...)

Things I foraged with more experienced assistance:
wild carrot
cattails: roots, shoots and pollen
wild rice
post #20 of 32
We mostly forage in autum for berries although we arre plannign to harvest some elder flowers when they come out this year.

Last year we found in our local nature reseve
crab apples
apples (presumable for thrown away apple cores)

We still have sloe gin and elderberry and crab apple jelly. The rest we got made into pies and crumbles and was eaten pretty quickly.

There is something very satisfying about stiring a big pot of free food
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