Foraging

Lazy Gardener

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There are a lot of plants out there, in every part of the country that grow profusely as weeds, or part of the natural vegetation that can supplement the diet. This thread is to discuss the use of such plants.

How many SS members take advantage of these free foods? What and when do you harvest? How do you prepare it? What does it taste like, or if not a food, what purpose do you use it for?

As with all foraging, it's absolutely necessary that: You know exactly what the plant is, that you can identify it, and make sure there are no look-a-like plants that may be harmful. Harvest from a clean area. If not on your property, only harvest with permission.

Dandelion greens: I enjoy these. They must be picked BEFORE any blossoms appear. I rinse them multiple times before cooking. If any bitterness remains after the first cooking, you can drain, add fresh water and boil again. Use them like cooked spinach or Swiss Chard. I especially like the little buds that are tucked down in the crown of the plant. They have a creamy texture.

Cat nine tail shoots: Must be harvested from clean water source, peel the outside leaf/wrapper off the shoot so the remaining part of the plant is free from water contamination. IIRC, they have a bit of viscous sap. They taste a bit like cucumber. Have tried them raw. I wonder how they would be if put into a stir fry. (roots and immature seed heads can also be eaten, though I've not tried these)

Plantain: I harvest it from my lawn to use in a poison ivy salve. (Young plants can be eaten, though I've not tried these)

Jewel Weed: Grows in ditch in front of a neighbor's property. I use it in a poison ivy salve. Have tossed some seed heads in my ditch in an effort to get it to grow "closer to home". I did have one rogue plant growing on the side of my HK mound last summer. It was huge.

Wine cap mushrooms: I bought some spawn about 3 years ago. Made a bed in the garden and an other bed in the orchard. They are slowly naturalizing. These mushrooms MUST be cooked before using them. Stems are too fibrous to use, but caps can grow to immense sizes. They are a bit stronger in flavor than the button mushrooms you grow at the grocer.

Fiddle heads: Absolutely THE BEST foraged crop IMO. However, the location of fiddle head patches is a well kept secret. Folks who have access to them rarely disclose the location of their foraging spots! I've tried to get some acclimated on my property. No luck yet. They have a wonderful flavor. I boil in a bit of water, then serve with butter and vinegar. They can be bought at road side and in some grocery stores when in season. Season coincides with black fly season.
 
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NH Homesteader

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Oh fiddle heads are hugely popular here! I've never had them, but my DH loves them.

I forage for berries primarily. DH gets chicken of the woods mushrooms, we're not well versed in other mushroom types so haven't braved too many others. Oh and we get plenty of chaga also.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I have purslane, chickweed and plantain that I could forage for in the backyard! But, I haven't really pursued it to any great extent. I have been known to pinch off the young tender tips of chickweed and pop 'em in my mouth. They're actually quite tasty. We also have plenty of curly dock. Some years back I harvested and cooked some dock - it was ok.
 

Mini Horses

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I have purslane -lots! Chickens love it. There are several patches of plantain, couple varieties. Those & dandelions are gobbled by goats -- they seem to think it is a good combo with the honeysuckle. :D

I have huge amounts of wild blackberries. Several patches of Beauty Berry, which are supposed to be good for mosquito control. I plan to try some leaves in a potion this year. The goats DO like those leaves in Spring, which is when they are high in protein and most palatable -- so I read. They can only get to a couple smallish plots. 5 others doing well. The berries make a "pretty" jelly, I'm told, in Fall. Never tried but may this yr just to have checked it out.

Right now I am checking out planting some ginseng in my woods. :idunno Of course, it takes 4-8 yrs for a "crop". Talk about "long term" plans. :lol: The goldenseal matures faster and is often companioned with it.

Of course, mushroom spawn would grow faster :old

We have a great deal of both crops & planted pines in my area. Paper mill uses pulp. So actually few areas of native woodland. Thus, wild nut and fruit type trees a slim pickings.
 
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cabinguy

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Ramps in spring
Mushrooms spring till fall still working on foraged mushrooms we dried and froze
 

baymule

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Post pictures!

We forage for wild plums, little tart, cherry sized morsels. I make jam with them. Last spring I canned quarts of juice, it's real tart! I mix a quart of juice with a can of pineapple juice for a delicious drink

We picked honeysuckle blooms and I made honeysuckle syrup for cough.

I will pick and snack on green briar tips, but DH doesn't like them.

I have a huckleberry bush on the place that gives a scant cup of berries. I LOVE huckleberry jam!

I have made dandelion wine, dandelion tea and jelly from the blooms.

When I can find them, I pick wild dewberries/blackberries. They make the BEST pies and cobbler.

I dig sassafras roots to boil and make tea.

We have wild persimmon trees, but the dogs and sheep usually beat me to them.
 

wyoDreamer

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We have wild asparagus all over our property, so during early summer I pick 3-4 pounds a week and freeze what we do not eat. I grew up picking berries and love blueberry and blackberry pies. If I find a wild strawberry patch, those little berries are all mine!
AND, 2 years ago I found 4 morel mushrooms growing in my front yard.
 

Hinotori

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We have wild Himalayan blackberries, cut leaf blackberries, and the native trailing blackberries. I pick berries and leaves for drying to tea.

I also go pick the thimbleberries around June that grow by the RR tracks. There is service berry and salal growing out by the road that I pick.

Our wild rose hips suck so I don't bother with them. They just are flavorless. I may pick petals this year.

Ive picked a bit of hawthorn berries and leaves each year.

I snack on cattail stems. Nettles are steamed or blanched.

I use fresh willow twigs to make rooting hormone.

I have a lot of cottonwood buds to pick this year.

Plaintain is dried for later use, but there is usually fresh year round.

Ive been meaning to pick dandelion flowers for wine. The chickens love the leaves.

Im sure I'm forgetting things.
 
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