“Write down what you really want to do and watch what happens”
While it’s still January I thought that I should write down some of the wild edible plants that I would like to try to find and identify in nature this year. Understanding our relationship to plants through their edible, medicinal and utilitarian properties has helped me tremendously with remembering identification and added to my knowledge base in primitive survival skills.
Wild Edible plants that I have yet to try:
Ostrich Fern/Fiddle Heads, Wild Ginger, Pokeweed, Puffball Mushroom, Morels, Boletes, Chokeberry, Juneberry/Shadbush, Burdock root, Watercress, Salmon Berry, Black Locust flowers, Sweet Fern tea, Elderberry, Ladies Thumb, Sheep Sorel, chicory, Wisteria flowers, Kelp, Sea Lettuce and others.
Wild Edibles/Medicinals that I have tried:
Garlic/Onion Grass, Cattails shoots/roots and pollen, Leeks, Milkweed pods, Chicken of the Woods/Sulpher Shelf, Chanterelles, Wood Sorel, Plantain, Dandelion, Green Brier, Pine needle tips/nutlets/pollen, Autumn Olive berries, Salal, Huckleberry, Blueberry, Spicebush berries and tea, Sassafras, Sweet Birch, Clover, Sumac Tea, Mulberry, Nettle Tea/Leaves, Acorns, Walnuts, Chinese Chestnuts, Lamb’s Quarters/Pigweed, Puslane, Kousa Dogwood fruit, Amaranth seeds, Persimmon fruit, Wood Strawberry, Arrowhead/Wapato, Wineberry, Blackberry, Mint, Lemonbalm, Wintergreen, Partridge Berry, black spruce gum, jewel weed, Indian pipe, Knotweed, Fox Grape, Prickly Pear, Trout Lily, Rose hips and others.
Many ways that I have learned about wild edibles include:
Field Guides by Sam Thayer, Linda Runyon, Peterson, Steve Brill and others. Always consult multiple guides for complete confidence. Many plants can make you very sick and while you may not die from incorrect identification you may wish you had.
Field walks with Wild Crafter Ila Hater in the Great Smokies, Wild Man Steve Brill in NYC Parks and other naturalists and organizations.
YouTube videos with Green Dean. Green Dean always reminds viewers to check through the acronym I.T.E.M. – this stands for Identification, Time of Year, Environment Found (avoid near roads where lead, arsenic and cadmium may be found) and Method of Preparation.
Another reminder worth adding that I was told by a Cherokee Elder is to “Leave the first plant for the animals, the second so it goes to seed, the third for someone who needs it more then you and the fourth you may take”.
What a terrific wish list! Many of your already-tried plants are on my own wish list.
When you sample your fiddlehead ferns, remember you want ostrich fern tips, boiled at least ten minutes. Fern foragers may inadvertently select nearly identical, carcinogenic Bracken Fern.
Facts on Fiddleheads: http://umaine.edu/publications/4198e/
Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-cook-fiddlehead-ferns/#ixzz1kufBeOmI
Appreciate the advice. I know of just one patch of ostrich fern fiddle heads that I plan to harvest from. I won’t forget the M in I.T.E.M. – method of preparation. In this case it seems that simply boiling takes the fiddle head from toxic to tasty.