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Old 05-15-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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Anybody else enjoy studying wild edibles?

This week has been a bonanza of goodies -- all growing in my yard or bordering it.


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Wild strawberries


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Wild salad greens

There were also poke salad shoots, green blackberries and blueberries and a passionflower vine, which means maypops in a few months. Also some young staghorn sumacs.

The bracken fiddlehead season is past. Just as well, as I've read some accounts that they are carcinogenic. I used to love them.

What's growing in your area?
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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I pick wild berries of all kinds. Never have time to pick enough to freeze, but eating fresh is the best anyway!

Also enjoy a few wild mushrooms.

I'd like to learn more. I've heard cattail roots are delicious, but I think they're only good at a certain time of year. What are those things you listed?

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Old 05-15-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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Yes!

Wild mushrooms, berries of all kinds, greens, choke cherries, etc

Cattails; early in the year; get the growth buds off the rootball, harvest the shoots when they are small and prep like asparagus; collect the pollen when in bloom to use like flower; harvest the swelling seedpods and eat like corn.

Many of our common garden plants are edible. Daylily blossoms and roots, rose petals, Nasturtium flowers and leaves, violet flowers and leaves. The list goes on and on
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:38 PM   #4
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Hi, Darnelle,

I used to make a lot of jelly, but since I'm trying to cut down the sugar, I'll probably use most of the berries in smoothies this year. Maybe a few cobblers.

I also enjoy a few wild mushrooms. Am leery of many of the gilled ones, except for oyster and meadow mushrooms, but love the boletes. I have found yellow chanterelles only after they were past their prime, so am hoping I get lucky this year!

I have never lived where cattails grew, so don't have much first hand experience with them, except for eating some of the tender little side shoots off the roots.

Maypops are a fruit (green to yellow, egg sized) that has seeds kind of like a pomegranite with a clean, refreshing taste. I really like them. Staghorn sumac puts out large red spikes that make an excellent lemonade-type drink.

If you want an EXCELLENT book with very detailed descriptions and wonderful photos, check into Samuel Thayer's book Nature's Garden. I have dozens of wild edible plant books, but that one is far and away the very best.

The main thing is just get out and observe plants. You will be amazed at how much knowledge you gain just by frequently noticing what grows around you. You start to become aware of leaf shapes and all kinds of plant characteristics. That goes a LONG way toward helping you identify plants in a book.


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I pick wild berries of all kinds. Never have time to pick enough to freeze, but eating fresh is the best anyway!

Also enjoy a few wild mushrooms.

I'd like to learn more. I've heard cattail roots are delicious, but I think they're only good at a certain time of year. What are those things you listed?
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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Dave, I was delighted to see your post.

Do you have a blog or somewhere you post your wild edible photos and observations. I would love to follow them!
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:20 PM   #6
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I forage for THIS..... LOL!!!!
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:26 PM   #7
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I forage for THIS..... LOL!!!!
Doug, I think you deserve the title of Mighty Hunter for that!
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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Hi: Doug Mager... I saw a bumper sticker that said "Vegetarian in Native language means Poor Hunter" LoL. My wife tries to feed me wild mushrooms a lot...but I won't eat 'em!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:18 AM   #9
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Right now we are foraging for morels Mmmmmm!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morchella
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:26 AM   #10
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Hi: Ann B... Is this edible???
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:00 AM   #11
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I have a select few mushrooms that I harvest; leave the rest alone. Meadow, Chanterelle, Oyster, Boletes, Velvet Foot, Morel, Russella.

We have wild strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry, blueberry, raspberry (blackcaps), Oregon Grape, Salal

Many of the weed roots are useful. Roasted dandelion makes a decent coffee. Peel the stalks from Canadian thistle and it's really good. If you come upon Burdock that has set seed; grind it for flour; in fact many of the gras seed in quantity can make flour.

Acorns; leached of the acid are good both as a nut and ground into flour. Same with any wild nut. We have wild hazelnuts here.

If you have access to the seashore; most of the seaweed is edible and extremely nutrish! That bullwhip kelp makes good pickles or candied.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:01 PM   #12
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If you want an EXCELLENT book with very detailed descriptions and wonderful photos, check into Samuel Thayer's book Nature's Garden.

Thank you Sharon! Thayer's book is now on my shopping list!
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:04 PM   #13
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Hi: Ann B... Is this edible???
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie

I wouldn't try it!!!
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:23 PM   #14
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Dave, your list of mushrooms pretty much duplicates the ones that I harvest. I am pretty leery of gilled mushrooms. Made myself sick off ringless honey mushrooms one time. In some areas they are good, but in other areas, they will make you sick.

The boletes are the ones that I really enjoy and feel safest harvesting. Once in a while I will get lucky and find a prolific oyster mushroom log. Meadow mushrooms are my favorite gilled mushroom. I've found cinnabar chanterelles, but the only yellow chanterelles I've found have been past their prime. Also found a hen of the woods before I was sure what it was. Now I can't find another one! And sulfur shelf is unmistakeable. Have found a lot of others that I've identified, but not been tempted to eat. Am still dreaming of finding black trumpets.

I can easily identify the worst poisonous ones, like amanitas and deadly gallerinas. But since I find the gilled mushrooms harder to identify, I generally leave them alone.

I'm surprised you said that roasted dandelion roots make a "decent" coffee. The best coffee I've ever had was from roasted dandelion roots... smooth, incredibly complex with chocolate undertones. Maybe a lot depends on what temperature you roast them at?

We don't have Canadian thistle, but do have bull thistle. The immature flower stalks are really good raw or cooked, like a stronger celery. I've cooked the roots of immature bull thistles before. They have a mild turnip like taste and I enjoyed them, but they gave me the worst gas I've ever had!

Also, we don't have burdock here, and jerusalem artichokes are rare this far south.

I haven't had a lot of luck leaching acorns. Hard to get all the bitterness out. I saw a show once where someone processed them in a blender in cold water, and apparently had good luck with that, so I will try it this fall.

I've also read that seaweed from cold northern waters is very good, but it gets iffy down south. Euell Gibbon's Stalking the Blue Eyed Scallop opened my eyes to the wealth of food available on the beach... and how to fix a lot of it so it tasted edible!

Alf, if you want the very best introduction to the safest mushrooms to start with, get this book.... it's an awesome guide for beginners and intermediate mushroom hunters: Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-kitchen Guide - Paperback (1992) by David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Darnelle View Post
Thank you Sharon! Thayer's book is now on my shopping list!
Ditto. Just put it in my Amazon cart. My family and I are urban gardeners/homesteaders and foraging is something that I would love to be more knowledgeable about. Thanks for the book tip!

Also, I'm thinking that foraging would also be a great camping activity. Free, healthy food is always welcome in my home or trailer.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:22 PM   #16
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One look at Queen Anne's Lace and I'm back looking in the reforagerator!
But seriously foraging is a real and useful skill!
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:42 PM   #17
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Sharon, sorry to hear that you ate the ringless ones (and got sick).

When I was young, my mother would take me into the woods every September to look for the honey mushrooms, Armillaria Mellea. This was the mushroom that she learned from her own mother to pick.
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It grows out of dead wood, so it's common around stumps and old fallen branches with a lot of decay. She would look for that telltale ring around the stem and also would smell the mushroom.

After cleaning, she'd sautee the mushrooms in butter with onions, then add sour cream. The dish would top some boiled potatoes. Dang they were good, even better than morels. I miss those honey mushrooms. They don't grow around Oklahoma.
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:29 AM   #18
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Wild mushrooms for us. Unfortunately, I still don't have any really good places closer to home - Mississauga, Ontario. The best we know are 1000 klicks away, around Wawa, Ontario and Tadoussac, Quebec. Not exactly a short weekend trips... Below, a result of half an hour or so, foraging without even leaving the Tadoussac campgrounds.
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Old 11-03-2020, 12:06 AM   #19
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I still sometimes do when I come home. I camp out on my parents piece of land and I forage the hell out of the place back when I was in my 20's.
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Old 11-06-2020, 02:52 AM   #20
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I got a brief lesson in edible mushroom hunting where I am camping at Grayland Beach State Park in WA state. Two women had come to the park for the day because there are lots of mushrooms in this whole coastal region but this park can yield a bonaza of them. Just look at the basketful of edibles one of the woman had gathered.

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My campsite, I found a few edibles in it, but I am not sure of all the varieties so I have to be careful to stick to the obvious ones like the giant boletes.
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