Monday, June 3, 2013

Enjoying Wild Foods

Morel mushrooms
 The time of year has arrived when we are again pursuing a favorite hobby of ours - Foraging for wild foods. There is something so very fun and satisfying about going on a walk in the woods or lawn and coming back with something that you didn't plant and tend but yet you can eat and enjoy.

  Mara has really been reading up on this (I got her a new identification manual for Christmas and she has read and absorbed it very well) and so she has done the most gathering so far this year. We think it would be fun if we could manage to eat something from our property (whether wild or planted) every day this summer. We have a good start already - now just to keep it up!

 Here is some of what we have been gathering and eating....
Morel mushrooms and strawberry leaves. The strawberry leaves were used for tea (along with raspberry leaf and wild hyssop) and the Morel mushrooms we used to make a delicious sauce/gravy for over steak.
Ken's comment was that was the only way he wants to eat steak now. I am afraid we won't have a big enough supply of mushrooms but it certainly was good!

 The girls have also collected a bunch of fiddleheads from the bracken ferns. These are a little time consuming as you have to clean the fuzzies off (Mara has done that for us) and then you boil them for some time with changes of water.
 The book said to use them like asparagus so I made creamed fiddleheads and morel over toast. It was pretty yummy but the flavor wasn't that strong.

  Yesterday we used fiddleheads in a Chinese pork dumpling. We also put dandelion flowers in that dumpling along with chives from our garden. It was quite yummy.

Our earliest wild foods that we ate this spring were dandelion greens. Mara went to a lot of work to collect them and the crowns a couple of different times. The reward didn't seem quite worth the effort as we didn't find them overly yummy but it was okay and it was fun to eat the wild foods. We added them to macaroni salad one day (which I then topped with homemade goat cheese) and then we sautéed them another day to but in a casserole.

  We have been drinking a variety of wild teas and Mara did also collect little cattail stems one day for us to eat.

  We feel like we have gotten a good start on wild food eating and we are looking forward for the rest of the summer!

   Do you collect or eat wild foods? I would love to hear your stories!

 I am linking up with  The Prairie Homestead  and New Life on a Homestead.

and Clever Chicks Blog Hop


Jackie said...

My husband would love the mushrooms! I am fascinated by the idea of foraging for foods, but I haven't done much of it. This is something I would like to study and try. However, I am always a little afraid I will pick the wrong leaves and poison us. :)

JoannaTopazT said...

I have done dandelion leaves (sautéed like cooked spinach) and dandelion fritters with the flowers. You are right; it is labor-intensive, and my husband won't eat them, so I'm not sure it's worth it for us - but I do like knowing what/how we could feed ourselves if we had to. I'm also curious to try the spruce tips from our tree.

Erin said...

Could you share the name of the wild food identification manual you bought for Mara? I've been interested in this for quite some time, but haven't yet found a good all-inclusive guide to it. Thanks!

Sarah said...


I have really become enamoured with foragng and have collected fiddleheads, violets, nettle and wild ginger. I have been looking for morels with no luck, where are you located because I am wondering if I was looking too early? I am in Southern Ontario, Canada and havent been out lately because the black flies have gotten really bad, but will go out if I may find morels.

Abbi said...

Mushrooms can be a little scary. It is really nice when you can find someone who has collected them before and you can go with them to learn identification. Otherwise there are so good books with photos out there. As far as the other plants there are a lot of good books with photos and usually identification isn't that hard.

Abbi said...

Joanna - It sounds like we have a lot of the same view on things! :-) My husband will eat wild things mostly when I have them well buried in something else. I do love to have the knowledge of how to eat things in case I need to.

Abbi said...

Hello Erin,
The manual that I got for Mara is “Edible Wild Plants” – Eastern/Central North America by Lee Allen Peterson. It is a Peterson Field Guide. It is a pretty nice book. We also love reading and getting inspired by Euell Gibbon’s “Stalking the Wild Asparagus”. That is a very fun and informational book to read about foraging but doesn’t have photos – just drawings.

Abbi said...

I am sorry I didn't get back to you right away. We are in Northern, MN so I would guess we are fairly similar to you. I would guess you went out at about the right time - possibly they just weren't in that location. Also they can be pretty challenging to spot at times until your eyes get used to finding them. We love the searching that is involved. It is exciting.


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