Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tips on foraging

This is Mint

When I started out looking through this book about eating weeds and other natural stuff, I thought it might die away, I didn't mind trying new stuff, but I thought they interest might die out after awhile. But not only hasn't the interest faded, we are getting hard core about it. I will write more about it later on below.

If you are starting out and have any thoughts about trying this, it is really easy and not too weird at first. Start out by eating wild raspberries and blackberries. That's technically foraging but it is considered normal. Mint is also good. In general you need to know what you are looking at first. I would start here. This is Wildman Steve Brill. Stephanie's Aunt Nancy found this site, but he is also the author of the first book we borrowed from the library and have read it over and over. This guy does tours on Central Park right in the city. He gives good insights to beginners who want to start foraging and tells you what is good to look for and easy to spot with no poisonous look a likes. You could spend a good hour on the site and not get through it all. He gives you recipes and tips to cook with everything, etc. He does other tours in NY and surrounding areas and through out the US. He will be about 2 hours away from us in the fall. We are planning to go.

We also have borrowed Peterson field guides to help identify trees and plants specifically in our forest.

So we start this foraging thing and now I can say we are weird. Stephanie is making a red clover corn bread. It had the flowers of the red clover, and uses no white sugar. Just fruit juice and honey and other normal baking things. Steph said she will post on how it tastes. She also made wild mint tea and a Yarrow infusion. Basically it a tea also but you make it a different way. The mint was good, different, but good. The yarrow was similar to me, but Stephanie didn't like it. She also made red clover tea which she liked but I didn't.

This is red raspberry before it blooms, Note the three leaves but they are jagged and hairy, not smooth and shiny and hairless as poison ivy is.


Stephanie said...

The corn bread was gross. I don't think the clover was the problem, but the "healthy" corn bread. I want to try adding clover to my corn bread recipe

Anonymous said...

So now on my (almost) daily walks, I am looking at plants, wondering if they're safe to eat and how they would taste. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what many of them are! But last week I destroyed burdock and chicory in my weeding, and now see that parts are edible! After your post, I was encouraged to remember that I've been harvesting mint and wild strawberries and raspberries for years, and have even made bergamot tea from my perennial garden. So I haven't been totally wasteful. But there is a lot that could be used. I remember Mom used to cook up a mess of dandelions early in the spring. She and Dad liked it, but I've never been fond of bitter greens, even though I've learned that they're valuable nutritionally. So if you think "eating free food" (trying to see if maybe this is a more positive spin than "eating weeds") is weird, Steph comes by it naturally!
Aunt Nancy