Shop Etsy

How-Tuesday: Foraging for Lunch

Jul 12, 2011

by sarahhuck

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Do the woods beckon you to explore? The next time you venture into the outdoors, leave behind that can of beans and bag of marshmallows; let the forest be your salad bar! Consider Jaimee Young and Sarah Huck, authors of Campfire Cookery: Adventuresome Recipes and Other Curiosities for the Great Outdoors, your intrepid guides into foraging for edible greens in the wild. For this week’s How-Tuesday post, they’ll teach you how to make a delectable salad from freshly scavenged greens.

(And, if you’re city tied, fear not! We have a special urban foraging post on the horizon!)

The wilderness is filled with greens, from grassy glade and mossy rock to the leaves upon the trees. But how to celebrate this verdant splendor, when one eats neither grass nor moss, neither leaf-lined branch nor bud? The salad bowl is just the place for a pageant of greenery, as one can fill it with a tender mix of lush edibles scooped from the field.

 


Foraging for Greens of the Wilderness

 

The seventeenth-century poet Robert Herrick famously implored us to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” For, he explained, “Old Time is still a-flying; and this same flower that smiles to-day, To-morrow will be dying.” Trade “salad greens” for “rosebuds,” and we couldn’t agree more.

We are a society said to have evolved from groups of hunter-gatherers, yet we now spend our time hunting for parking spots at the supermarket, then gathering cartloads of prepackaged goods. It’s much more pleasant to take a walk on the wild side, with a canvas satchel ready to be filled with the edible forest foliage one spies along the way.

The shocking truth is that tasty roughage such as purslane, miner’s lettuce, wild arugula, or dandelion greens is so prolific in the great outdoors that certain government agencies have classified them as pernicious weeds. But what do bureaucrats know of the joys wilderness greens can bestow? Flavors peppery to sweet are the signature of these discovered delicacies. But take warning: when foraging for forest greens, do go wild but not with abandon. Adhere to the forager’s code: Never take more than is
necessary; leave at least two-thirds of one’s verdant quarry for the next lucky salad seeker. Never rip the plants out by the roots, but snip off the tops with a dainty pair of shears so the harvest will return the next season. And to answer the question, should one bother to wash one’s foraged greens? We reply with a question of our own: Does a bear wee in the woods?

Naturally, one ought never to eat what one cannot absolutely and positively identify. To that end, we present a truncated guide to greens of the forest. We hope it will inspire you to invest in a more comprehensive encyclopedia to further the quest to gather salad greens while you may (for tomorrow they may be encased in plastic and sold for a small fortune at a boutique market).

 

1. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Its distinctive, paddle-shaped leaves are smooth and branch off from reddish stems. When in doubt, give the stem a snap — if it is filled with a water-like liquid, it’s purslane. If a milky substance leaks out, exercise caution. That plant could be the poisonous spotted spurge, which is not so good.

2. Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). This lovely green, also sometimes called spring beauty, emerges from February to June in shady areas of North America. It is known for its rosette-like leaf adorned by a tiny white bloom at the center. It got its name because it was so widely enjoyed by
those who journeyed to California in a rush for gold. They sought riches of gilt and found a leaf rich in vitamin C. The forty-niners may have suffered financial disappointment, but at least they didn’t have scurvy.

3. Wild Arugula (Eruca sativa). This wild green will certainly give its cousin, domesticated arugula, an inferiority complex. For it is everything that tamed arugula is, but more so. Its radish-like flavor is even bolder; its looks are similar, but it has more jagged leaves, a more pronounced stem, a deeper, more emerald color. It is mostly found in the Mediterranean, where the ancients sang its praises as an aphrodisiac. Gather ye wild arugula for wild amour.

4. Dandelion Greens (Taraxacum officinale). The tell-tale yellow flower is easily spotted, though the greens are really at their most tender and flavorful just as they emerge from the earth, before they have had a chance to blossom. The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion (“lion’s tooth”) and, indeed, the leaves are reminiscent of jagged rows of predatory fangs. This is a green with bite; its bitter, piquant flavor is at its best after with a gentle sauté over the fire.

5. Chicory (Cichorium intybus). Closely related to the dandelion green, chicory also has leaves with toothy edges; it can be distinguished by the bright blue flowers and sparse down upon its leaves. For salad, one should harvest chicory leaves early in spring, before its tender shoots have been corrupted by sultry summer. Like dandelion, chicory leaves are also good sautéed. The roots may be roasted, ground,
and used as a convincing substitute for coffee, if one doesn’t mind the missing jolt of caffeine.

6. Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Should one wish to lunch like a butterfly, sorrel would be one’s first choice; certain species’ larvae feast on this tangy green. The plant boasts juicy stems and leaves shaped like arrowheads — appropriate, considering sorrel’s sharp taste. It makes an excellent, lemony soup, though we enjoy the vibrancy it lends to an otherwise mild mix of salad greens. It flourishes in grassy
fields and woods.

7. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Once a domesticated plant, watercress is such an enthusiastic breeder that it now thrives in the wild. As its name suggests, watercress can be found growing in streambeds and creeks, and even in damp roadside ditches, though we imagine ditch cress
to be rather steeped in petrol fumes. Watercress consists of a thick stem that can be eaten or not, and small, roundish leaves. It is an astoundingly nutritious plant and can be served nearly any way one wishes: sautéed, steamed, boiled, or raw. We find its flavor mildly peppery.

Fiddleheads - 8x10 matted photograph 

Photo by downhomephotography

 

 

 

 

 

Fiddleheads

How to Make a Wild Salad

Ingredients for 4-6 portions:

8 cups mixed wild greens, such as purslane, dandelion (best used sparingly, as it is bitter), arugula, sorrel, or miner’s lettuce)
Vinaigrette
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly milled black pepper, to taste
Edible flowers (see below), for garnish, optional

Edible Blooms: If the notion of eating flowers calls to mind a pasture cow chomping on clover, it is
time to revise one’s thinking. A colorful blend of delicate blossoms instantly makes a salad of simple mixed greens more elegant, and depending upon the chosen blooms, will add lemony, peppery, tart, or honeyed flavor. Before dashing off to the nearest meadow, take note: not all flowers are edible. Pluck only those you are certain can be safely digested, such as violet, hyssop, borage, calendula, lilac, nasturtium, dandelion, pansy, and marigold. Remove all pistils and stamens before eating and avoid any flowers suspected to have received pesticide treatment.

Directions:

Tear the greens into bite-size pieces and drop them into a large salad bowl. Pour enough dressing over the salad to lightly coat the greens. We prefer a wild salad to be austerely dressed; too much accessorizing can distract from its simple beauty. A drizzle of lemon and oil are all that are needed here. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Garnish with edible flowers, if one strives for fanciness.

Enjoy!

Thank you to Sarah Huck and Jaimee Young and the good folks at Abrams Books for sharing this project with us. For more projects, recipes, and outdoorsy tips, pick up a copy of Campfire Cookery from Amazon or a local independent bookseller.

More Things to Make | Plants & Edibles Category on Etsy

133 comments

  • starmekcreations

    starmekcreations said 6 years ago

    Great article. Gets my creative nerves thinking.

  • rosekraft

    rosekraft said 6 years ago

    There's an easy middle ground between the two extremes of either buying pre-packaged food or hiking off into the wilds with "dainty shears" to snip away at greenery - foraging at a local farmers' market might be just as productive and delicious for most of us.

  • meltholiz

    meltholiz said 6 years ago

    Superb article! Can't wait to try this salad :)

  • artstudio

    artstudio said 6 years ago

    I've been adding edible wild greens to my salads for a few years now. It's delicious! Great blog!

  • mamif

    mamif said 6 years ago

    really happy to see a post about foraging!

  • rosebudshome

    rosebudshome said 6 years ago

    Yum, nothing better than fresh.

  • elenoir

    elenoir said 6 years ago

    Wow so creative salad! I definitely have to try it on my own :D http://www.petiterobe-elenoir.blogspot.com/

  • GustoSpice

    GustoSpice said 6 years ago

    Who knew! Cannot wait to try the salad. Thank you for a very informative article.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    All these wild greens are very easy to grow in your garden if you don't fancy a miles-long hike every time you want to eat. The seeds can be gathered from the wild, or if you live in the country you probably have most of them already, they are "weeds" after all!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    Ah - no thanks. Pass the nachos please and top off my margarita.

  • EnRouteStudio

    EnRouteStudio said 6 years ago

    Man, this just reminds me of the movie "Into the wild" ...anyone else?

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 6 years ago

    Great blog. Thank you for sharing.

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund said 6 years ago

    Nice... don't get a chance to wander in the wilds much, but it was a beautiful article. :o) Blessings, Hannah Jasmine

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 6 years ago

    I am headed out to my 2 acres to see what I can forage up for dinner!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Wow that makes for such a pretty salad, I've never heard of Miner's Lettuce before but it sounds tasty. I always worry about foraging though since I have heard that caution should be taken with plants next to roads as they tend to absorb the toxins from car exhausts.

  • MadebyLinLin

    MadebyLinLin said 6 years ago

    This salad is definitely wild! Looks great! Thanks for the healthy recipe!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    i love this article! the illustrations are so easy to use. i can't wait to try this on my own :)

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC said 6 years ago

    fantastic post - thank you!

  • auntjanecan

    auntjanecan said 6 years ago

    I used to love to eat Miner's Lettuce in Northern Calif.

  • overthemeadow

    overthemeadow said 6 years ago

    How fun and sounds delicious ! Great article :-)

  • SELVIDGEByRachidaS

    SELVIDGEByRachidaS said 6 years ago

    Sound's great, cannot wait to try :)

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 6 years ago

    Foraging is fun and interesting!

  • GardenApothecary

    GardenApothecary said 6 years ago

    i love foraging... especially for the easy to pick stuff like lettuce, flowers and berries. www.dirtygirlgarden.com

  • ArielViewGoods

    ArielViewGoods said 6 years ago

    Good work - I love pointing out "wid" foods to my co workers. Its helped them not look at me like I'm crazy when I start mumbling under my breath and pulling "weeds". For anyone interested in this - see if there is a local forager you can hook up with. A lot of plants look like other plants and you don't want to make yourself sick. Also be careful where you forage - make sure the area doesn't get sprayed with chemicals. :)

  • scarletbegonia11

    scarletbegonia11 said 6 years ago

    yay for wild foods! happy foraging!

  • shannondzikas

    shannondzikas said 6 years ago

    We're going to pig out on plums and apricots in our yard later today! Free food tastes the best!

  • boutiquevintage72

    boutiquevintage72 said 6 years ago

    I think that "Wild Salad" needs to be in my belly STAT! Great blog guys, just the reading break I needed ;)

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article! My husband and I have a very Paleo (no processed foods) lifestyle, so this was right up our alley! Thanks for sharing!!

  • OliveAndOud

    OliveAndOud said 6 years ago

    These greens, as well as red clover and chickweed, are favorites of my pet rabbits, too. I love connecting to both nature and my neighbors during my daily urban foraging walks.

  • WhisperingOak

    WhisperingOak said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • MandyBesek

    MandyBesek said 6 years ago

    I also enjoy wild spinach or "lamb's quarters".

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Yum! I want a wild salad!

  • ZiBagz

    ZiBagz said 6 years ago

    ♥♥♥ I give this article an A+++! I am off to look for Jamie & Sarah's book! Many thanks!

  • TandJsoaps

    TandJsoaps said 6 years ago

    Great idea!!! Looks yummy.

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits said 6 years ago

    Awesome! Coincidentally, I picked up The Locavore's Handbook today at the library.

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 6 years ago

    I am greatly interested in urban foraging, but I really worry about toxins and animal excrament. Looking forward to the upcoming article for those of us trapped in the concrete jungle!

  • bluebeeinatree

    bluebeeinatree said 6 years ago

    Eeek...please be careful gathering wild watercress! It can harbor certain types of parasites. I echo some of the hazards others have mentioned. If you would like to gather wild foods, do so in the presence of an experienced forager. Make sure you don't have allergies/possible drug interactions to compounds in the plants you consume. Don't mess with mushrooms - it's really not worth the cost if you make a mistake. And never ever ever harvest plants in a way that they can't renew their populations.

  • planetlovevintage

    planetlovevintage said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! What a lovely salad!!

  • evermind

    evermind said 6 years ago

    Every time I go hiking I munch on Miner's Lettuce!

  • enchantedcraft

    enchantedcraft said 6 years ago

    Our 'salads' have included native plants for years, but my Mother still laughs when she sees me in our yard picking weeds for lunch. Typical fair for us includes arrowhead sorrel, wild mint, dandelion, oxalis, black berry leaves, with a wild berry dressing!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 6 years ago

    yum yum. wild edibles. i love how tuesday

  • PyxusPassionProject

    PyxusPassionProject said 6 years ago

    Hello delicious! I need a back yard of edible goodness (sans the pet poop and chemicals).

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Great article! Foraging sounds like fun!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 6 years ago

    When my son was in the second grade, quite a while ago, I put nasturtiums we grew in a bag for him to nibble on. The flowers were gorgeous and tasty but the teacher freaked. Many years later and she still mentions the time one of her students ate a bouquet for lunch.

  • RadRayRay

    RadRayRay said 6 years ago

    That looks delicious! I may have to give it a try! Thank you! =]

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 6 years ago

    Gotta love flower salads.

  • TheAdornedArticle

    TheAdornedArticle said 6 years ago

    Beautious salad! It almost looks too pretty to eat! (almost)

  • LoveYouElisha

    LoveYouElisha said 6 years ago

    This is an awesome article! Go back to how it was at the start! Not sure I have the guts to pick my lunch, but it will be alot of fun trying to look out for edible plants!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    Healthy wealthy and wise!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Wow, those kinds of plants are new to me.

  • baublesnfripperies

    baublesnfripperies said 6 years ago

    So cool! I didn't know you could eat dandelions. I might have to start eating from our patch of woods now. :P

  • DessertWine

    DessertWine said 6 years ago

    Love this - thanks!

  • AtelierTheHun

    AtelierTheHun said 6 years ago

    This is awesome! My boyfriend and I would find the Miner's Lettuce on our spring walks and wondered what they were, and to find them edible is just great. On one of our journeys we were resting in a meadow and he said he wanted a wild salad, I thought it was funny, but the idea stuck. I was trying to have him try a manzanita berry (no go). Hope to pick up this book!

  • VidaDoce

    VidaDoce said 6 years ago

    So cool! There's nothing better than a fresh salad in the summer. :)

  • kskjewelrydesigns

    kskjewelrydesigns said 6 years ago

    Awesome to see this and the book looks great! My husband and I love to forage when we hike, and always come home with things for the fridge. The best resource we found for proper identification was a local Adirondacker who lives in the woods and shares some of the best spots he knows. We've been on the hunt for some wild asparagus we found last year, but haven't been able to locate it again. Also looking forward to the edible sumac being ready for making 'lemonade', super sweetened for me. :)

  • nantuckettiechic

    nantuckettiechic said 6 years ago

    I've been pulling lamb's quarters, chickweed (your miner's lettuce) and amaranth out of my garden for years. My son just came home and started using all of them as meals. I'm like, huh! Why am I working so hard to grow spinach when I can just eat the lamb's quarters that grows in its place? Then I'll have more time to make my Etsy projects. Yes!

  • Armalique

    Armalique said 6 years ago

    very cool. I've been obsessed in finding a way to get away from all the packaged stuff. this seems like a fun and interesting place to start.

  • nihanparlak

    nihanparlak said 6 years ago

    Thank you :)

  • LittleCreaturesLab

    LittleCreaturesLab said 6 years ago

    some of them look like flowers? eating flowers is new to me.

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello said 6 years ago

    Here in rural Maine, many of the wild greens you mention must be here. But I haven't searched out any of them because I am so busy avoiding poison oak, poison ivy and small sumac trees (all of which grow every where, including way too close to our house!) Contact with any of these will ruin you for foraging for a while!! So, on our porch, we grow container plants! I have a whole pot of pansies and nasturtiums, both of which are edible (as you have shown pansies in the salad). We also grow herbs (a hand-ful tossed into a salad is yummy) and next year, I intend to grow leaf lettuces (very short growing season this year, so it wasn't worth it to plant them. My cilantro is still in the teeeny tiny stages!) But I do look forward to your urban foraging article as I used to wonder what might be edible growing around me when I lived in DC!

  • meadowsweetflowers

    meadowsweetflowers said 6 years ago

    Take a look at my shop - Meadowsweet Flowers - English Edible flowers crystallised - they look beautiful and can last several months - no flavourings or colourings added. It's amazing what you can eat !!!

  • dreamdigital

    dreamdigital said 6 years ago

    Wild salad is great, hopefully we'll pick the right greens!! :)

  • good4you

    good4you said 6 years ago

    awesome! i do this all the time. here is my blog: http://good4youtea.tumblr.com/ <3333.

  • FindingBrooke

    FindingBrooke said 6 years ago

    yummy!

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 6 years ago

    Looks like it came right out of martha stewarts kitchen, looks very delicious and yet pretty! Thanks for the recipe!!

  • BloomingPoppy

    BloomingPoppy said 6 years ago

    This is so wonderful to read... I have done this on occassion... living near the forest in Washington State. :D

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 6 years ago

    Wonderful salads and fresh greens. We love growing herbs and arugula. It's so expensive in restaurants. Better to grow your own.

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    That sounds so good right now! Nothing like a fresh crisp salad! Yum!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery said 6 years ago

    What a pretty salad!

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 6 years ago

    I would never have the courage to pick my own salad. It looks yummy though.

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry said 6 years ago

    Loved the article, Thanks!

  • fiberous

    fiberous said 6 years ago

    Super innovative article. Let's get back outdoors!! And have a tasty picnic.

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 6 years ago

    This article was so interesting - I can't wait to look around for these plants on my next walk! Salad looks delicious! Thank you!

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 6 years ago

    One of my favourite subjects! Nutritious, delicious, wild & free~ Win win win WIN! Thanks, love it~ Heidi

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 6 years ago

    Very informative! Our favorites are the sorrels and purslane- a number of weeds are probably already growing in your backyard and some are actually edible, and very very tasty. Just don't use any weed herbicides in your backyard if you intend to eat them.

  • AliceCloset

    AliceCloset said 6 years ago

    Woooww,I want a wild salad too! Great article ^__^

  • MasonRabbitsPaperie

    MasonRabbitsPaperie said 6 years ago

    What a great guide! There is a plant called poke salad or pokeweeds, the plants with the purple/redish berries. You boil it like you would turnips and never eat it raw. Some people say that you shouldn't eat the plant at all because the ENTIRE thing is poisonous but boiling it for 20-30 minutes removes some of the toxins. I don't really know but my grandparent have eaten it for years and their still alive and I'm sure I was given it as a child and I'm still here, so who knows.

  • Wintershadow

    Wintershadow said 6 years ago

    My mouth still waters when I think of some of the 'weeds' my mother used! My favorite was lambs quarters, although it was served cooked. Wish I could find some where I am!

  • NYCrochet

    NYCrochet said 6 years ago

    As a vegan, I'm all about the greens, but those dandelion leaves mess me up. Ugh.

  • PattieJansen

    PattieJansen said 6 years ago

    Reminds me of the "forest tea parties" I used to have with my best friend...Eight years old, we were. Out for a walk in the woods. Feasting on wild strawberries and honeysuckle blossoms, sitting in the sunshine in a woodsy clearing...LOVE the idea of the "wild lunch"!!!!!!

  • stikrz

    stikrz said 6 years ago

    very cool

  • Gardenbonbons

    Gardenbonbons said 6 years ago

    Coincidentally just before reading this I posted my first listing for Edible Flowers - they aren't wild but it is part of a movement I support toward becoming more comfortable with eating what is at hand. I think Bastyr in Seattle had an urban foraging day recently and I have read about someone in LA doing them so you may check and see if someone is offering local classes. I'd also add nettle to the list. It makes a delicious tea as well as flavoring for soups and pestos.

  • rozzie

    rozzie said 6 years ago

    Salad for a Rabbit? :p interesting, a little out there for me, but great to read about wild greens :)

  • lovinffhmusic

    lovinffhmusic said 6 years ago

    It doesn't surprise me that the earth is full of edible things that we haven't yet discovered, and it wouldn't surprise me if many of them actually had medicinal values - perhaps even for diseases we've long sought to cure.

  • HomemadeSunshine

    HomemadeSunshine said 6 years ago

    I love forging! It's so exciting to just gather and eat what the earth provides and plus, it's kinda cool having a secret that most other people don't know. I would like to find some wild arugula, that's a new one to me.

  • tokenandpine

    tokenandpine said 6 years ago

    Mm! This reminds me that there's a whole row of fresh, bright mixed greens in my garden waiting for me!

  • HoldTheWire

    HoldTheWire said 6 years ago

    I should get a field guide for those. We hike all the time and I should learn to recognize those greens. We did eat some wild blackberries and strawberries recently.

  • wychbury

    wychbury said 6 years ago

    Pansies on a salad! What's not to love? pxxxx

  • thisthatotherthings

    thisthatotherthings said 6 years ago

    Fiddleheads, Pansies and Dandelion's Oh MY... Absolutely Great Read

  • PierogiPicnic

    PierogiPicnic said 6 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful! Time for a some greens hunting!

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 6 years ago

    Great article. I went on a green picking excursion through town last year and it was amazing.

  • lilinspirations

    lilinspirations said 6 years ago

    Super feature! I love salads and can't wait to try this. This will be great to print out and bring with the kids on the next hike and they can try to find some of flowers/plants.

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 6 years ago

    I had to print this out. Thanks so much. I love dandelion leaves!

  • EchoesOfSummer

    EchoesOfSummer said 6 years ago

    One of the many things I enjoy about living in the Great Pacific Northwest! I remember filling myself up as a kid on blueberries, and wild blackberries, then coming in from playing outside all day with stains all over our mouths and fingers! Thank you for the wonderful memory.

  • TheLittleRagamuffin

    TheLittleRagamuffin said 6 years ago

    One of my favorite parts about summer is topping my salad with nasturtium flowers. Eating them makes me feel magical.

  • CraigsMarket

    CraigsMarket said 6 years ago

    Sounds like a delicious recipe, thank you for sharing!

  • byajay

    byajay said 6 years ago

    I want to eat a flower! this article is so cool! Bravo!

  • silknparachute

    silknparachute said 6 years ago

    Wonderful post, I am living within a forest now, and only one year provides a plethora of Mushrooms, berries, grapes, acorns, kudzu (if you are in the south) I found I can spend the entire year harvesting, planning, picking, pickling, canning, and eating. Now with a greens guide, it takes up a whole different healthy, fresh look. Always something to find in the woods.

  • CrazieGracie

    CrazieGracie said 6 years ago

    I love it when a photo makes me go OO OO on first glance. Your tutorial is a delight. TY.

  • SigalitAlcalai

    SigalitAlcalai said 6 years ago

    Superb!!!!!! love it ! Thanks for shared :-)

  • CrystalCreek

    CrystalCreek said 6 years ago

    Great informative article.. I enjoy eating the dandelions in my yard & avoid mowing them.. when I cut the grass. I have purslane that pops up in a lot of places ..I will have to try them now ! Thank You

  • midmodcafe

    midmodcafe said 6 years ago

    i've been foraging for a spell & discovered it greatly improved my health & disposition! o how idream of a secret garden with unlimited year-round fiddleheads & dandylion buds

  • dahlilafound

    dahlilafound said 6 years ago

    I'd love to go on a local foraging outing w/a pro. I'm sure there Sacramento is plentiful in good wild eats. I'm just concerned about where I find them, what they've been sprayed with. I suppose I could grow weeds in my own yard. They do like to come up on their own. :-)

  • alicefaysfancies

    alicefaysfancies said 6 years ago

    I have loved Lambs Quarters since a child, they taste just iike spinach. Wild asparagus, wild mushrooms, crises, sheep sorrel all wait for us all free.

  • biophiliadesigns

    biophiliadesigns said 6 years ago

    lovely, valuable post!! also extremely important aspect is the amazing vitamin and mineral content of these native, prolific plants. a wild salad with home made herbal vinegar contains huge amount of daily nutrition!! and the nutriion is more bioavailable in food form in place of capsuled, processed supplements. much love from an aspiring wise woman and community herbalist. eat your weeds!!

  • schmerpeline

    schmerpeline said 6 years ago

    This is such a delicious topic! I recently moved to the country and have been learning about what has been growing here, ready to eat and enjoy. One of my childhood friends takes it all a step further, and you can read about it here: http://www.salon.com/author/felisa_rogers/index.html Felisa is a true scavenger! Enjoy!

  • TheDollBizarre

    TheDollBizarre said 6 years ago

    This is delightful. I have been yearning to carve out the time to learn how to better forage my area for edible delights. Methinks your article may have been just the kick in the pants I needed. Thank you.

  • wendiland

    wendiland said 6 years ago

    This is such a lovely, fantastic article! I live in the city, LA to be exact, and it would sure be nice to be able to just enter a forest to pick fresh greens. I do need to warn you advanturous pickers hunting for greens in the bigger cities like mine though -- you should pick them from deep inside the forests because the ones near the hiking trails sometimes are full of pesticide. Like the author had mentioned -- our governement agency refers to these yummies as 'weeds.' Also, Pansies are great on salads, and they make your dish look so pretty! But remember to pick them up in the herb section at your nursery, not in the garden section as these are served as ornamentals and they probably contain pesticide. Your recipe would make a fabulous summer salad. Thank you!

  • Plainweaves

    Plainweaves said 6 years ago

    My husband introduced me to lamb's quarter. It has become my spring time treat. It lends itself to a spinach omelet better than spinach. I introduced the grandchildren to nasturtium flowers last year. Back yard gardens and locally grown are healthful choices.

  • Mocahete

    Mocahete said 6 years ago

    Although we grow many, many things in our gardens we also wild harvest herbs and other plants for food and medicine. In the spring we forage for wild blueberries, tender grape leaves, lambs quarters, amaranth, young cat briar shoots (tastes remarkably like asparagus) and so much more. At one time we started a log of all the wild medicines and foods around us and had quite a long list!

  • esmerelda33

    esmerelda33 said 6 years ago

    A work of art from nature Awesome Thanks

  • StoneznStix

    StoneznStix said 6 years ago

    My husband and I were just on a trip down the length of the Washington coast which is brimming with various species of edible plants and tons of wild golden raspberries and huckleberries to add to your salad! We are so fortunate to live in the Pacific NW where a bounty awaits every season. Thank you for sharing this article.

  • zuzu2u

    zuzu2u said 6 years ago

    I'm totally there with you regarding the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. I don't know anything about edible wild greens that grow around here but we love picking wild blackberries around this time of year. Also huckleberries.

  • Exaltation

    Exaltation said 6 years ago

    It's true! Nearly everything that grows wild is either edible or medicinal I'm actually going back to school to learn foraging & wildcrafting medicines - it's opened my eyes to what's all around us! Wild food has the highest mineral content of any other food - leaps and bounds above hybrid and cultivated varieties. Wilds surpass everything else in the amount of alkaloids and overall energetic vibration / chi of the food. Chances are, regardless of where you live, you can make entire meals just from what grows in your own back yard! Here's my absolute favorite quote from one of the all-time best authors on wildcrafting & foraging... it's so true: ""One of our greatest fears is to eat the wildness of the world. Our mothers intuitively understood something essential: the green is poisonous to civilization. If we eat the wild, it begins to work inside us, altering us, changing us. Soon, if we eat too much, we will no longer fit the suit that has been made for us. Our hair will begin to grow long and ragged. Our gait and how we hold our body will change. A wild light begins to gleam in our eyes. Our words start to sound strange, nonlinear, emotional. Unpractical. Poetic. Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken. It is no wonder that we are taught to close off our senses to Nature. Through these channels, the green paws of Nature enter into us, climb over us, search within us, find all our hiding places, burst us open, and blind the intellectual eye with hanging tendrils of green. The terror is an illusion, of course. For most of our million years on this planet human beings have daily eaten the wild. It's just that the linear mind knows what will happen if you eat it now." --Steven Buhner

  • LANCERIKA

    LANCERIKA said 6 years ago

    Love everything about these wonderful greens! I'm going hiking tomorrow and will enjoy finding delicious goodies for my salads. Saw a ton of all different kinds of mushrooms on a recent hike,but that is another world to Identify carefully before eating...

  • boobahblue

    boobahblue said 6 years ago

    Great Article!! Wild green are wonderful and much more full of nutrition than anything from a "garden" or mono-culture farm. Besides salads, try making a "GREEN DRINK" with a few wild greens, perhaps some parsley, spinach or kale too. You don't need toomuch, just maybe a cup or so, add a cup of water, blend on high speed until liquified, then add some frozen fruit and blend somemore. First couple sips may taste completely strange, but somehow it becomes addicting after the first little glass. I drank these every morning or many months, picking greens from the yard. I could go hours before I needed "food" it was so nutritious and sustaining, it just gave me all the energy and vitality I needed to get through until lunch time. These drinks have been known to reverse diabetes and even some early cancers. Look into "raw foods diets" and you will see much talk of "green drinks" They are wonderful!!!! Thanks again for the great article, reminding us all to live well!!

  • KhatsVintageJewels

    KhatsVintageJewels said 6 years ago

    Lots of info on the web about edible weeds! I learned that some things were edible that I would never have dreamed! Like smilax, also known as greenbrier, dogberry, razor vine, and other common names. The vine is a dreadful pest, here in the south, and can completely cover a tree in time. It has amazingly sweet flowers, though they are almost invisible, and now I know that the young leaves and shoots are salad material! Also, common plantain is excellent if you pick the leaves tiny, before they get stringy.

  • PeachWillow

    PeachWillow said 6 years ago

    What a great article! So informative. I can't wait to try some of these in my next salad. (I know my family will be surprised to see flowers in their salad!)

  • artisticdrama

    artisticdrama said 6 years ago

    This is a VERY cool article. Makes me want to tromp through the forest tout suite!

  • ecomum

    ecomum said 6 years ago

    I just 'weeded' my neighbour's flower garden, and came back with a pot full of succulent purslane! Last fall, I made a big batch of wild grape jelly from the vines she'd been begging me to cut down off our shared fence all year :)

  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando said 6 years ago

    Love, love, love foraging! Sauteed dandelion blossoms are the best. You can prepare them like mushrooms.

  • GoldPyramid

    GoldPyramid said 6 years ago

    Lamb's quarters are best in the Spring, when they first come up. Also a wild Violet, cream cheese Omelette is delicious, with a fresh brewed aromatic wild Ginger root tea.

  • robinseggbleunest

    robinseggbleunest said 6 years ago

    Great article, thanks for spreading the word!

  • LiuRokSilver

    LiuRokSilver said 6 years ago

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  • FlipFlopOutlet

    FlipFlopOutlet said 6 years ago

    interesting, never would have thought that the forest could be more than bugs and wood :]

  • karikatzi

    karikatzi said 6 years ago

    Yummo & don't forget the chickweed

  • styleforlife

    styleforlife said 6 years ago

    Lovely!!!! So incredible beautiful. xx

  • RetrospectiveOrange

    RetrospectiveOrange said 6 years ago

    Awesome article! I was actually JUST reading an article about edible "weeds" just before opening my new "Lavender Fields" Etsy newsletter. What an amazing coincidence.^_^ (It's a sign.:) I WILL learn more and more and become a wise and friend-enlightening forager... hehe!) Check out the very informative article I was reading here: http://www.squidoo.com/edible-weeds-in-los-angeles Blessings!

  • Ivriniel

    Ivriniel said 6 years ago

    Just a word of caution here: I used to work as a Natural Heritage Educator for Ontario Parks. Edible Wild hikes used to be a common and popular feature of park Interpretive programs, until we were asked to stop doing them for safety reasons. There's a number of problems with edible wilds. In addition to problems with misidentification and allergies there's also the concern that some edible wilds require special processing in order to make them edible. I once spoke to a woman who made her whole family sick by feeding them boiled milkweed pods. She didn't know that you have to change the boiling water on milkweed pods multiple times in order to get rid of the toxins. ( I for one, draw the line at any food that requires that much effort on my part to make it non-toxic.) I'm not saying that you should never eat edible wilds. Just make sure you know as much as possible about the plant that you are going to eat.

  • Ivriniel

    Ivriniel said 6 years ago

    As far as watercress goes, I once had a German Biology student tell me that if you were in Europe, you shouldn't harvest it from places you don't know because it can harbour parasites like a liver fluke that usually infects sheep.

  • ShadesofCookie

    ShadesofCookie said 6 years ago

    Just made a wish for the know how of wild edibles... thanks for this post!

  • pukkacrew

    pukkacrew said 6 years ago

    i like how a lot of edible plants that are common for urban foraging have poison plants that look quite similar. that's the only thing that holds me back from trying this.

Sign in to add your own