Wild foraging


#1

Does anyone forage food?

As mentioned in another thread, I live on the edge of the suburbs and am outdoorsy.

Seems a shame not to sample the wild bounty, and so I bought a book a while back specific to my region and have kept an eye out in my forays.

I’ve tried sauteed or boiled dandelion greens in the spring. Really Good!

I have some roasted and ground chicory roots in the backlog to try, once I get through the store-bought ones for comparison.

I have yet to come across any mushrooms I was sure enough of to eat. My book specifically says, “for the novice, only try these 3 which are easily identified”. Have found none of those as yet, anywhere, across 4 states.

Milkweed flowers are mild raw, although my book recommends making fritters with them. Due to the rules, when I was camping boiling milkweed stems 4-5 times was difficult so I couldn’t say how nice those were, but I guess that’s a thing.

Sassafras leaves are lovely, in tea or eaten raw. I’ve yet to make proper Root Beer, since the regular supply of the stuff I’ve mostly found a state away.

Really hoping this summer to find some Sumac to make sumac-ade. Or maybe duck potatoes, come fall.

Anyways, I’m in the midwest great lakes region. Interested to hear what other people enjoy, either near or far from me.


Cooking (not just dinner)
#2

Also, I forgot, I did try the stems of cattails. Not much flavor, but apparently carby and fibrous. Been sustaining Native Americans for thousands of years. Best mixed with other stuff.

Oh yeah, clover is not bad. Violet flowers, too.

My Polish neighbors gave me some “dandelion honey”, which is boiled down from the flowers with sugar added. With some pointing and google image search, I worked out they also like cooked dandelion greens.


#3

I live near the center of Minneapolis, MN. There are things to forage here too.

Lamb’s Quarters from the yard. A common weed around here. Also known as pigweed. Good for fresh greens. I’ve eaten it when small and tender, lightly cooked. Adding it to ramen noodles with the boiling water cooked it enough. That sustained me for an entire summer when I was a poor student.

Best pie I ever made was of mulberries found in a friend’s overgrown yard. The bushes/trees are considered a nuisance here, apparently introduced to the area by mistake—someone thought they were the kind that silkworms eat, but they are not. Birds eat the berries and spread the seeds, they grow up in odd places like weeds, grow quickly, become towering trees if left in place. The berries have a firm stem inside that you want to spit out if eating fresh, but it softens up when cooked. Best flavor is found in the berries from younger trees, make sure you taste before bothering to pick, berries from larger trees may have little flavor.

There’s catnip all around. I used to pass a large area of it growing on neglected property, every day on my walk home from work, and would often pick a little to bring home to our young cat who enjoyed it.


#4

I used to do this. But then I discovered supermarkets.


#5

You can eat dandelion root like parsnips too, as far as I know. It was actually introduced to the US as a salad plant. I made a pretty good vegetarian lasagne once using dandelion greens and nettles. Dandelion pesto was also good. There are a few interesting varieties of herbs too, such as Hamburg parsley and wood sorrel. My neighbour is much more knowledgeable about this, I need to ask him again about what’s available. The flavours are often quite strong, but they are good for adding to a salad, for example.

We gather a lot of fruit, although there’s a mix of wild plants and stuff that was planted and abandoned. Blackberries, elderberries, rosehips, crabapples etc. We have some interesting mushrooms in our area, but I haven’t tried eating any yet.


#6

I found a hen of the woods mushroom last August. It’s one of the safe ones that doesn’t have a similar looking dangerous cousin. It was a little tough, but a really nice flavor. It grew on our small but rural property, at the base of an oak tree. I’m hoping it comes back next year, and I glance at the spot whenever I go down the drive, even though I know it’s not growing in the winter.

Other than that, I’ve mostly just foraged lamb’s quarters and chicory. The chicory flowers made a lovely, if delicate, jelly.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about the mulberries, they are nice for a jam or on yogurt.


#7

You’ve been foraging for wild supermarkets?


#8

I’ve heard they’re really sneaky and hard to find, the feral ones. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#9

No, I switched hobbies. Now I collect supermarkets.


#10

Yep! I have collected and eaten chanterelles, morels, hen of the woods, oysters and king bolete. Other than that, I tend to ignore.

Also, those $20 mushroom growing boxes work great. I used to keep mine on the north side of the wood shed, down at ground level where it’s shady and ■■■■■. It would freeze in winter, then thaw out in spring and keep producing shrooms. Got about 5 years out of one box.


#11

Right now, I’m just happy to live in a bit of Britain that’s not likely to be underwater, and foraging = eating leftover mince pies from the end of the Christmas food stash. Maybe in April. If its not still. Fucking. Raining.


#12

I’ve got a spot that sounds ideal for one of those, I’ve got to try it. I love mushrooms, a big ole love affair, and we get a lot of unknown types in the yard, but I don’t want to take chances.


#13

I have been looking for the “* of the woods” family of mushrooms, without any success.

I have found plenty of wild parsley though. And burdock, although I haven’t yet harvested any burdock for stewed burdock root.


#14

Lucky duck. We get floods as well, with sides of blizzards, tornados and the occasional earthquake.


#15

Yeah, well, I’ve run out of mince pies. I’ve had to move on to microwave popcorn. And it’s still raining. They were Heston Blumenthal ones from Waitrose, too. I miss them terribly.


#16

Chantrelles, cats tongue (tasteless really), hedgehogs are all I can really I’d fingus wise. I still herbs all. The. Time. Mountain ash berries (also known as Rowan) makes a good, tanniny jelly for meat. Elderberries and elderberry flowers. Then I make a mental map of the fig, crabapple, plum, and berries around the neighborhood. Nettles of course.

I have a cookbook called the River Cottage Cookbook that has a great Hedgerow section. I’m gonna have to try dandelion root if they are anything like parsnips, which are the king of root veg.

Totally edible, needs a lot of flippin sugar for jam. I double dog Dare you to eat one raw :imp:


#17

I once infused vodka with raw mountain ash berries (long before the recent/current craze for flavored vodkas—I had no idea what I was doing, just imagined it was something do-able) with nothing else but the berries, and it was…ah…astringent, to say the least, and the flavor profile definitely lacked in depth! As well, I think it was surely too early to have picked the berries, they were more orange than red as I recall. Still, I did not regret the experience, and drank it all.


#18

In the Northwest, BE WARY OF CAMAS. There are two varieties: one is perfectly edible and starchy. The other one kills you. Just buy a bag of potatoes instead.


#19

I had an ounce of weed left over one time, and infused it in a bottle of Everclear. I am not joking. This was over 20 years ago. That was the worst thing I could have possibly done with weed or Everclear (but maybe the best). Couldn’t drink it. Couldn’t fish the weed out and dry it and smoke it because it was ineffectual. I tried. What a waste.


#20