Sunday, March 20, 2016

Foraging for Spring Edibles

Spring time.  If there is a better time for foragers, I'm not sure when it is.  Everything is starting to green up, and there are so many wild edibles.  The other nice thing is you don't even have to travel far to find them.  Just today, as I was taking the garbage down to the street, I found several different plants.  Dandelions, docks, pennycress, and more.

Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion Flower
Almost everyone knows what dandelions are.  Large yellow flowers, and green leaves that have look like teeth.  Uses are varied, from the flowers you can make wine and jelly.  The leaves can be eaten raw in salads, sauteed, or boiled.  It possesses a long taproot, that can be dried, ground up, and used as a coffee substitute.

Dandelion Plant
Dandelion Leaf

Curly Dock, Rumex Cripsus
The docks I'm looking at right now have a stem, and curvy, curly (probably why they are called curly dock) green leaf.  They grown from a central basal rosette (leaves are all similar in height, grow from a central location).
Curly Dock Leaf
Basal Rosette
Curly Dock

Wild Onions, Alium ...
There are several different kinds of wild onions.  The most popular right now are probably the leeks.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  They don't last long, but they are delicious.  Also available are the regular green wild onions.  Steam them, cook them with some fresh caught wild fish, or use them in your salads.

Pine Tree, Pinus...
And of course spring is a great time to harvest from pine trees.  Yes that's right, I said pine trees.  If the cattail is called the supermarket of the swamp, the pine tree should be the supermarket of the woods.  So many edible parts.  Right now, you should be looking for the pollen, male cones, and freshly grown needles.  The pollen is a great energy booster, and contains androstenedione, which can help the adrenal gland raise testosterone.  You can make a tea from the needles, or eat them raw, or probably just about any other way you would eat a green vegetable.  One thing I am interested in trying this year is to make some pine jelly and pine syrup.  

There are tons of more edibles available right now.  I'm hoping to get a chance to get after some spring mushrooms next week or the week after.  Right now, the most popular are the morels.  Hopefully I can find some in the coming weeks.