For lunch on a recent outing I collected some fresh young purslane, trout lily, spring beauty, wild violets, red maple leaves and seeds and red bud blossoms. Together they made a fine wild edible spring salad. There was also Ostrich fern fiddle heads and leeks coming up (that had been transplanted for future harvest), lambs quarters (too young to harvest without killing the growth) and plenty of wild onion aka chives if you want to get fancy.

My favorite is the spring beauty as it has a fresh crunch and the trout lily as it reminds me of a cucumber skin flavor. The redbud also has a nice little pea flavor and the purslane is an easy to eat exceptionally nutritious addition. The garlic mustard, dandelion, onion grass I usually eat sparingly unless I have some balsamic vinegar or other dressing to flavorย up some of the taste.

There are many good resources out now on wild edibles to help build up ones confidence and confirm identification, one of the recent books that I picked up was Leda Meriedith’s Northeast Foraging, 120 wild and flavorful edibles from beech plums to wineberries. The book is appropriate for all skill levels but I think it makes for an excellent beginner guide as she provides a 2-3 page spread on each of her most used, favorite edibles rather than provide information on the emergency possibility of some plant that needs to be boiled in a change of water 27 times. Samuel Thayer has two great books and a dvd and Greene Dean on Youtube goes all the way with his acronym I.T.E.M. = Identification, Time of Year, Environment and Method of Preparation.

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