Foraging

G

Guest

Guest
Do You Forage ?
A couple summers ago my brother introduced me to Wintergreen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_procumbens), and since then I’ve really enjoyed tossing a couple leaves into my mug for a refreshing tisane in the evening. Aside from blueberries, I’ve not foraged for anything else on canoe trips.
What else is out there, and what do you forage for to enjoy on your paddling trips?
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
I'm always late for fiddleheads or forget. Once I went foraging for morels on a canoe trip at lunch with experienced morel hunters.

I have wintergreen in my yard. Oddly I have no idea how to steep it.. Just throw in a few leaves in boiling water? I also have hemlock which is NOT the fatal kind and forget that it makes a good tea too. And loads of white pine, similarly ignored. It would be nice to have a foraging section where we could share recipes..save for mushrooms. I love finding them on canoe trips but I would kill myself for sure..
 
G

Guest

Guest
I've been lucky enough to have morels sprout in my suburban yard. They are easily identified, and delicious. The wintergreen leaves I just bruised (like making a summertime mojito from mint leaves...canoe trip mojitos, now there's a thought!) and dropped them into boiling water. Hey presto! Apparently the berries are good too. I'll stick to the leaves, as they're easy to identify. I tried Labrador Tea once. Only once.
Water Hemlock looks too much like the Elderberies I like for pies. I buy them already harvested from a reliable local. I've got guide books galore; but I'm way too nervous to take any chances.
I remember picking berries around my great grannie's cottage home on Georgian Bay when I was very young. She warned me off them, saying they were "the wrong kind of blueberry"?! Were they? Or was I raiding her blueberry patch? I'll never know.
 
G

Guest

Guest
My wife and I greatly enjoy foraging for and harvesting wild edibles when camping. When we're a week into a canoe trip, we really crave fresh greens, fruits, and veggies. Dehydrated meals are great, but there's just something deeply satisfying about supplementing one's meals with freshly harvested plants.

Early spring's an especially good time for beginners to get into this because there are not many plants out to bewilder and overwhelm you. Also, many wild edibles are best in the spring, as most get bitter by late spring and summer. So, if you've always wanted to improve your knowledge of wild edibles, now (late winter) is the time to get a hold of a few books on the subject, thumb through them, and familiarize yourself with the ones that are common to your own area and bloom in early spring. You will have greater success if, in addition to a field guide, you have a search image in your mind of what the spring edibles in your area look like.

Below are photos of some of my favourite wild edible plants which my wife and I regularly forage which I did not see listed in this forum already. All of these photos were taken by usin either southwestern Ontario or the near north of Ontario.

Wild Leeks or Ramps:
The whole plant is delicious and edible, though one must take care in identifying it as there are look-alike which are poisonous. Your nose will guide you. Wild Leeks smell strongly and unmistakably of onion. If it isn't perfectly and 100% obviously identifiable as an onion just by smell, it's not a Wild Leek. Trust your nose on this one. A choice wild edible, raw or cooked.
WildLeeks.jpg


Trout Lily:
Again, the whole plant is edible, though it is sweetest and most tender in early spring before it flowers. The mottled leaves help in identifying it. The corms (small round tubers) are like tiny potatoes. Tasty when raw or very lightly steamed or sauteed.
TroutLilly.jpg


TroutLillycorms.jpg


Indian Cucumber:
The tuber, though small, is one of the most delicious and tasty wild edible I've ever eaten. Absolutely juicy and delicious raw out of the ground.
IndianCucumberRoot.jpg



Burdock roots:
This big leafy plant looks like rhubarb. The roots are too tough to eat raw, but good when boiled.
BurdockonIslandLake.jpg

BurdockcleaningonIslandLake.jpg


Cutleaf Toothwort:
The tubers of this plant taste like horse radish. It is, in fact, a species of horse radish. It's very good, but the taste can be over-powering, so a nibble is all you need for a mouth full of flavour. A few raw tubers chopped into a plate will make a plate of bland wild edibles very flavourful.
CutleafToothwort.jpg


Common Blue Violets:
These come in various flavours. All of the above ground parts are edible. The leaves are somewhat bland, like lettuce and the flowers are mildly sweet and aromatic. The flowers come in many colors. Blue and yellow are most common where we live.
CommonViolets.jpg


Garlic Mustard:
These are is an invasive species so one can harvest the leaves to one's heart's content. As their name suggests, they are somewhat garlicy in flavour.
GarlicMustard.jpg


I should mention my two favourite mushrooms, though they are not spring edibles.

Chanterelle mushrooms:
My favourite of the wild mushrooms. Delicately flavoured they are tasty whether raw, in a salad sauteed or fried, or pickled in lime and oil. As with any mushroom, extreme care must be taken in IDing these. There are inedible look-alikes that will make you ill. A non-visible identifying feature of chanterelle is their smell; they smell (faintly) like apricots. These appear in late summer: August and early September.
PDRM1790.jpg


Shaggy Mane mushrooms:
One of the nice things about these is that they appear late, in September or October, when most other wild edibles have disappeared. The scales on this inky cap mushroom makes them hard to mistake for other mushrooms.
ShaggyManes01.jpg



Wild blueberries with oatmeal for breakfast:




Side-salad of Virginia Meadow Beauty leaves and tubers, wintergreen leaves, and bunch berries:


Cattail Shoots:



Here's a video my wife and I made last spring to introduce people to the pleasures of this and to encourage them to start in spring: http://youtu.be/bUSUOGlQRRg.

And that's just for starters!

Hope this helps,
- Martin


 
G

Guest

Guest
Very good link, thanks YC. I'm fairly confident nowadays picking blueberries, but as a child I had no clue; I was instructed not to taste anything though, and along with a bouquet of weedy flowers, thought I was gathering my great grannie a wild feast.
I remember the experience, but not the berries. The mists of time, and all that.
One summer evening, while sitting lakeside, my wife and I were disturbed by two weasels fighting!? Jumping up to avoid being included in the fray, I finally noticed we'd been sitting next to a little blueberry bush all the time. We had blueberries in our hot chocolate that night. I hope they weren't fighting over the berries.
Super post and pics Martin. Nature is bountiful! . I foraged for ramps while living in the E. Townships many years ago, but had forgotten all about them. Thanks so much!
Brad
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Martin.. those pics are so useful and thank you for posting. I ought to be able to find wild ramps. I do have something that smells like wild onion but the tops resemble chives..Are they?

Keep them coming.. Making use, with knowledge of what could kill us if we are wrong, is a skill that could make me more feeling like a woods resident rather than a woods visitor.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Martin.. those pics are so useful and thank you for posting. I ought to be able to find wild ramps. I do have something that smells like wild onion but the tops resemble chives..Are they?

yellowcanoe,

I'm glad you found the post useful. Regarding the ramps, yes there are different varieties of it, some of which have the long, fine stalks you describe instead of the broad leaves shown in my photos and in my video above. We get the broad-leafed species up here in this part of Ontario. The thing to remember with all wild leeks/onions/chives is that they always smell strongly and unmistakeably of onion. If they look like ramps but don't smell strongly of onion when you break a leaf or smell the bulb, they are not ramps. Some of the look-alikes contains some of our most concentrates poisons. Your nose will keep you safe. Smell each cut leaf or bulb before you ingest it.

Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
Top