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Early Summer Trout Fishing, Foraging & Campfire Cookery

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Met up with my friend Jared at the end of June to paddle on the Musconetcong River in New Jersey but low water levels changed our plans and so we decided to do some trout fishing, foraging and campfire cooking.

We lucked out with a Rainbow Trout, Milkweed Flowers, Monarda, Nodding Onion, Day Lilly, Wood Nettle, Elderberry Flowers, Bay Berry and a mix of wild fruits including raspberry, mulberry and strawberry.

It turned out to be a most delicious meal and a fun challenge to feed ourselves from the local landscape.

 

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Winter Hot Tenting in the Adirondacks at Good Luck Lake

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I’ve been reading a lot about winter trekking and hot tenting this past year and finally had an opportunity to get out for a few nights to a place called Good Luck Lake.  We did some ice fishing, snowshoeing, star gazing, a lot of fire wood processing and plenty of camp cookery.  Now I’m back to day dreaming about the next one and hopefully will find the right place to hot tent and pull some trout through the ice!

 

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We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks—anywhere that we may be placed—with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left. “Alas for the life-long battle, whose bravest slogan is bread.”I am talking … to those of the world’s workers who go, or would like to go, every summer to the woods. And to these I would say, don’t rough it; make it as smooth, as restful and pleasurable as you can.” – Nessmuk -Woodcraft & Camping 

Foraging & Making PawPaw Crescent Rolls

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Took a drive out to a forest in Pennsylvania with a known spot for foraging wild PawPaw.
The broad leaves of the tree give a jungle like feel to the forest and produce a sweet sugary fruit full of large seeds.

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My companions as botanists had a secondary goal beyond enjoying the fruit in the shade of the forest.
They plan to grow trees from the seed for their own backyards and to share through a native wild plant nursery.

We tasted and collected many fruits to find the most choice potential seeds.

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I gathered them gently in a basket hoping to avoid bruising the highly delicate fruit.

Along the Way, I found some very large and abundant Spicebush berries.

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and some Jewelweed seeds that have a taste very similar to walnut.

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Afterwards, I wanted to make a pawpaw crescent roll.

To do so, I made a mini fire to have just enough coals to cook over. The goal is to gently bake the crescent but not the pawpaw in a tinfoil pouch. A flip after 3 minutes and about 2 more minutes provided a delicious fruit filled pastry treat..

 

Spring Trout & Wild Edible Outing

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Had a great weekend camping for the opener of trout season in NJ.  It’s become tradition to catch some rainbows and make a meal with some mixed wild edibles including wintergeen, wintercress, watercress, chickweed, dandelion, leeks, trout lily and partridge berry.  Hope you enjoy the video!

“We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.” -Nessmuk

July Mushroom Foraging

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My wife and I have been out and about visiting some spots that we like to check after the summer rains for wild edible mushrooms.  Particularly of interest at this time are the Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides) and Chanterelles (Cantharellus spp.).

When I first try mushrooms…after multiple positive identifications, I like to fry them up alone in butter and try them on a toastie. It is a good way to get a true taste of the flavor without mixing too many ingredients.

Remember if mushroom foraging to trust yourself not me!

Springtime Wild Edible Salad

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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 flavor 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.

Tripple S Tonic – Sweetbirch, Spicebush & Sassafrass

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The Tripple S Tonic as it was called consisted of Sweetbirch, Spicebush and Sassafrass. Each of these plants has its own individual excellent flavors and benefits but when combined together the tea was marketed as having the ability to cure just about every ailment known and rejuvenate health to a level of childhood play. Combining twigs from sweetbirch (betula lenta) and spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and the root of sassafrass (Sassafrass albidum) the tea has a flavor that includes notes of fruity, spicy, sweet and fresh.

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