For years now we have been foraging for wild edibles. We have eaten wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries on the side of the trail as we hike. We have fried up dandelion flowers and added the leaves to smoothies and salads, and this year we made dandelion lemonade. We have always played it safe, which is good thing when you are searching for and eating wild edibles. All that changed last summer when I did a little one day herbal walk with a herbalist. I knew right then I wanted to take our foraging to the next level.
During that herbal walk we identified many wild herbs and wild edibles. We talked about their medicinal benefits, tried them and took some time to make an oil and a tincture before heading home. It was a wonderful day with some really wonderful people.
This spring, armed with my plant identification book, we have been heading to the forest to look for food. Actually before we even headed to the forest to look for food I found some growing right in the wooded area of our backyard. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, were growing right under my nose. We cooked them up right away in a frittata and enjoyed every last bite. Since that first discovery we have found and enjoyed more ramps as well as trout lilies and garlic mustard. Trout lilies were added to salads and garlic mustard was blended up into the pesto you see above, which we served over quinoa pasta for dinner and then spread on grilled vegetable sandwiches for lunch the next day.
All three of us are enjoying our walks in the woods searching for and identifying plants. Justin and I had a little chuckle last weekend as we walked the wooded bike path near my parents place while Reece rode his bike. I was collecting garlic mustard, Reece stopped every now and then to pick some wild flowers and Justin was deep among the trees picking up pieces of fallen branches to create with. I am sure we looked hilarious coming out of the woods with everything we were carrying. We didn't care though. We had a great time in the woods, and we came home with flowers for the table, food for dinner and a little something to create with. What more can you ask for when you go for a walk in the woods.
Have you been foraging this season? What are you bringing home to enjoy?
Yes! So far since being here I have brought home dandelions, nettles and lemon balm. I was just informed today that there is a wild patch of oregano down by the river. I'm going to take a walk there after nap time.ReplyDelete
This is my first year really hunting for wild edibles and it's been so much fun! It's a bit of a slippery slope, once you start you just can't stop!
I love lemon balm! Hope you find that patch of oregano :)Delete
And yes on the slippery slope...as with all things nature related for me :)
Lol, we went for a walk in the Gatineau Park the other day (well, we go everyday as we live in it) and my children were sitting down in the middle of the Ramps and trout lilies having a snack. The people walking by were not sure whether to smile and think it was cute or be horrified as they aren't really supposed to do that. LOL. They do that at home and were just so used to doing it, they couldn't understand why we couldn't do it within the park as well.ReplyDelete
We have lots of wild berry bushes as well as wild thyme. I love "grocery shopping" in the Forest!
Grocery shopping in the forest, great way to put it!Delete
That is too funny, I am sure people thought we were a little strange to coming out of the woods with our hands full. I can just see your two little ones in the middle of it all snacking away :)
That is so awesome. I'm afraid I just don't know enough. But I think I'm going to have to learn since our neighborhood (and my house) backs up to a gorgeous park with lots of woods.ReplyDelete
Thanks Melissa. Yes, learn more, so much goodness out there. It is a little tough at first but with a good identification book and an understanding of what grows at what times it becomes easier.Delete
The color of that is amazing! We have some lamb's quarters coming up in our backyard that I like to make pesto out of. I don't know that they add much flavor, but they help stretch my precious basil a bit.ReplyDelete
Thanks Meryl, I was amazed at the colour too. Your pesto sounds delish :)Delete
Love the image of the three of you coming out of the woods loaded up with nature's gifts and bounty! Enjoy! :)ReplyDelete
Ha! I kinda wish there had been someone to take our picture :)Delete
so much fun too! we have yet to explore our forests properly here. i have been foraging for years, wildcrafting i call it. using wild herbs in medicinal ways. but i'm looking forward to grabbing those edibles.ReplyDelete
It is. Wildcrafting...love it! Hoping to do a little of that this summer as well :)Delete
I love foraging! I'm going to get some nettles from my parents cabin. They think I'm crazy but they're so good for you.ReplyDelete
Haha, that is exactly what my parents thought when we got back to their place with large bunch of garlic mustard :)Delete
I haven't foraged yet, but I did get a really cool book from the library last summer that taught about all the local edibles growing wild in our area - complete with recipes. Some things I had no idea about - bullrushes, for example! It made me realize how little I know about the land. And made me want to learn more. Your results look delicious!ReplyDelete
There is so much about our land that we don't know about, I love exploring and discovering new things. Have fun learning more :)Delete
I love the sound of an herbal walk and using them to make tinctures and other herbal goodies. I am seriously into this these days. I will have to check out the book and explore our new woods this summer.ReplyDelete
It was a really great way to spend the day. I am on the search for similar workshops this summer. It is a great book and once you get the codes down, super easy and quick to identify plants.Delete
We love forging - the magic of free food!ReplyDelete
It is pretty magical :)Delete
So cool! Our intern coordinator at Farm Sanctuary showed us around to some wild edibles back those many years ago and I thought it was great. Hope to get back to it some day. I love that you share all of these adventures with us. :)ReplyDelete
It is great to have someone show you around, gives you a little more confidence, at least it did for me. I love sharing, just happy people like to hear about them :)Delete