Take the Family Foraging for Wild Edible Plants

Include foraging for wild edible plants among the fun family activities to help put nutritious food on the table.


| March/April 2014



Persimmons Tree

Wild, edible persimmons hang ripe and ready to pick.

Photo by iStockPhoto/egon69

TRY ONE OF ANNIE’S RECIPES FOR FORAGED FOOD:

Fried Morel Mushroom Recipe
Poke Recipe for Basic Preparation
Poke Salad Recipe
Mayapple Jelly Recipe
Sassafras Tea Recipe 
Dandelion Greens Recipe With Currants and Pine Nuts
Broiled Salmon Recipe With Ramps and Morel Mushroom Sauce

The Quest for Wild Edible Plants

Spending hard-earned money at the produce department of my local grocery store became a bad habit I decided to break. Limp cucumbers and zucchini, rock-hard tomatoes tasting like plastic, and pencil-thin asparagus for $4 per pound — it had to stop!

Today, I loaded up my two young granddaughters, swathed them with tick repellent, handed each of them a plastic bucket and a pair of scissors, and we were off for the woods. Burrowing our way through overgrown blackberry thickets and pushing steadily forward to the old fence line, we found our pot of gold. There, like soldiers lined up for inspection, were the prettiest, firmest, thickest stalks of asparagus you would ever want to see. We quickly filled our buckets, then headed south through the stand of sassafras trees toward the little freshwater creek than runs through our place.

Ugly, wrinkly morel mushrooms lined the creek rock path, almost hidden under fallen, rotting logs. We scavenged them, then rolled up our pants and walked into the creek, heading for the bright green watercress.

Hundreds of different species of food are found in the woods, along creek beds, in open pastures, underneath fence rows, and around decaying trees. Spring, summer and fall offer different varieties of food, each delicious and nutritious. There are no preservatives, no waiting for them to ripen on the kitchen counter, and, with permission, they’re completely free for the taking. The physical exercise of traipsing through the woods is an added bonus, along with the fresh air and sunshine, and time spent with family and friends.





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