Author Topic: Foraging - finding free wild food  (Read 16545 times)

Anje

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Foraging - finding free wild food
« on: June 14, 2016, 07:18:55 AM »
So, we have a thread for growing your own. But I live semi-rural and forage quite a bit (many times what I can grow) of food items around and about in the hedges (not literally) and ditches around my area.

So how about a thread for foraging? We can share tips, tricks and ideas.


I'll start:
It's early season here (northern Europe) and so far I've picked a bucketload of wild garlick. Will most likely last me until winter. Wild garlick butter is a wonderfull thing to keep around.
I've also picked several kiloes of rhubarb from the neglected garden of a relative who for some reason grown enough to supply half the district. "Foraging" (with permission) in gardens is gold for me who don't have a garden, just a patio, or wood porch.

For later use I've pinpointed a new spot for wild rasberries. Am looking for a new spot for chanterelles too - but they are very hard to come by!

Adge

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 10:41:35 AM »
Our parking lot at work is lined with wild blackberry bushes. Somehow out of 600+ people here, I seem to be the only one who cares. They'll be ready in a couple weeks and you better believe that when they are I'll be up here on the weekend with my berry-picking gear. It's so nice to be able to pull them out of the freezer in the dead of winter and have a taste of summer :)

lthenderson

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 10:44:20 AM »
Every spring I forage for morel mushrooms and later in the summer wild berries of various kind.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 10:45:39 AM »
I ate handfuls of purple clover on my hike the other day.  So delicious.

dougules

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 11:02:59 AM »
There are pecan trees all over town here, some on public right-of-way, and nobody notices or cares.  Pecans are delicious and fetch a fairly high price, but everybody would rather pay that premium for pre-shelled store bought pecans rather than shell them fresh (they also taste better that way).  On top of that, there are plenty of mulberries, American persimmons, maypops (species of passion fruit), wild plums, and blackberries.  There are also fruit trees that were planted then ignored or abandoned.  My great grandparent's generation would have picked as much as they could eat or store.   People now are too busy driving right on past at 45 mph going to pay money for flavorless fruit trucked 2000 miles to the grocery store. 

It might be a business idea for those who care to pick all those, share profits with landowners, then sell them.  You could even start a project to turn your neighbors' yards into orchards with the agreement you plant and maintain the trees then sell the fruit they don't eat while giving them a cut.  I think people would pay extra for fresh extremely local produce. 


Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 11:05:16 AM »
I ate handfuls of purple clover on my hike the other day.  So delicious.
That sounds very nice.
One of my goals for this summer is becoming better at recognizing edible plants. I've recently learnt that several of the green veggies used regularly in Asian cooking grows wild around here. But we've never eaten them. So odd.

Our parking lot at work is lined with wild blackberry bushes. Somehow out of 600+ people here, I seem to be the only one who cares. They'll be ready in a couple weeks and you better believe that when they are I'll be up here on the weekend with my berry-picking gear. It's so nice to be able to pull them out of the freezer in the dead of winter and have a taste of summer :)
Good for you.:) I can only find raspberries around here, but I'm not the only one picking - it's first to the bush.

dougules

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 11:09:27 AM »
Our parking lot at work is lined with wild blackberry bushes. Somehow out of 600+ people here, I seem to be the only one who cares. They'll be ready in a couple weeks and you better believe that when they are I'll be up here on the weekend with my berry-picking gear. It's so nice to be able to pull them out of the freezer in the dead of winter and have a taste of summer :)
Good for you.:) I can only find raspberries around here, but I'm not the only one picking - it's first to the bush.


Raspberries are even better, unless you're in the Northwest.  Blackberries up there are huge, juicy, sweet, and grow everywhere. 

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 11:12:46 AM »
Our parking lot at work is lined with wild blackberry bushes. Somehow out of 600+ people here, I seem to be the only one who cares. They'll be ready in a couple weeks and you better believe that when they are I'll be up here on the weekend with my berry-picking gear. It's so nice to be able to pull them out of the freezer in the dead of winter and have a taste of summer :)
Good for you.:) I can only find raspberries around here, but I'm not the only one picking - it's first to the bush.


Raspberries are even better, unless you're in the Northwest.  Blackberries up there are huge, juicy, sweet, and grow everywhere.
I've only eaten the garden variety of blackberry locally (though we do have the wild type - I just can't seem to find them) and they are prone to being sour. But that's probably all the rain we get...

lizzzi

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2016, 11:21:28 AM »
There are little wild strawberries all over my yard. They are about the size of my littlest fingernail, and most don't have any flavor. Once in a while one will taste like a strawberry, but not usually. The kids, puppy and I eat them in small handfuls.

acroy

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2016, 11:27:41 AM »
Lived for 4 months in Lake Chales, Louisiana
Really easy to go 'crawdaddin' or 'mudbuggin' - catch crayfish out of the brackish water - everywhere. Millions of them!
Now that was some good eating!!

KCM5

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2016, 11:43:41 AM »
I don't forage much. I like the idea of it, but I don't find that I spend time in areas with a lot of forageable materials.

We have lots of raspberries. And I grab mushrooms that I'm confident about when I see them. Some other things I've tried: cattail pollen (right around Father's day in the upper midwest), wild leaks, nettles, day lillies (not wild, but they're everywhere), strawberries, elder berries/flower, black walnuts. 

Also, check out to see if there are any trees listed in your area here: http://fallenfruit.org/

Edited: This is the website I meant to post: https://fallingfruit.org/. But the one above does seem interesting so I'll leave it!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 11:45:47 AM by KCM5 »

KCM5

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 11:50:37 AM »
There are little wild strawberries all over my yard. They are about the size of my littlest fingernail, and most don't have any flavor. Once in a while one will taste like a strawberry, but not usually. The kids, puppy and I eat them in small handfuls.

There's a plant around here that we call the indian strawberry (I wish I knew another name for it!) that isn't actually a strawberry at all. It's a bit more fibrous and is not sweet. But it's still technically edible, just not enjoyable. Maybe that's what you have?

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 11:51:28 AM »
@dougules: That's a sad thing. In the last 2-3 years foraging has come back to life again around here - I hope it does around you too. I'd love to have pecans growing. We get hazelnuts.

@acroy: wow! Sounds wonderful.
 We have saltwater crayfish around here, but they require fishing by boat so they are a bit more of an effort. I fish, sometimes, but I'm very good at catching absolutely nothing at all, so... ;)

Stachey

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2016, 12:21:32 PM »
We get the tiny little strawberries around here.  Barely bigger than a ladybug but they are packed full of flavour.  Really delicious!

Saskatoons are another favourite here.

I didn't know that purple clover was edible.  Does anyone know of a good book that lists out all the edible wild food options?  Thanks.

robartsd

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2016, 12:39:03 PM »
There are many edible plants that most people would not recognize as food. They are often more bitter/astringent than their cultivated cousins. I've personally consumed dandelion greens, which are more mild to my taste than the arugula we got from our CSA (the whole plant is edible).

KCM5

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2016, 12:41:30 PM »
We get the tiny little strawberries around here.  Barely bigger than a ladybug but they are packed full of flavour.  Really delicious!

Saskatoons are another favourite here.

I didn't know that purple clover was edible.  Does anyone know of a good book that lists out all the edible wild food options?  Thanks.

A classic is Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons

I also like Edible Wild Plants by Lee Patterson (it's a Peterson Guide)

lthenderson

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2016, 04:30:35 PM »
Not sure if you would consider this foraging but I like to sneak down to the farm pond and catch me a mess of fat large mouth bass now and then.

bobechs

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2016, 05:11:58 PM »
One step more urban.

When I travel for work, which is reasonably often, I sometimes step over to the lobby of the slightly more expensive motel adjoining mine (because when you are paying the bill out of your own earnings no motel is too cheap) to see what's on the breakfast counter in the breakfast room.

geekinprogress

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2016, 05:22:07 PM »
I'm not fond of dandelion greens, but I don't really like bitter things much.  I like sorrel for adding an acidic kick to salads, though. 

Black raspberries and mulberries are common and tasty here.  Lots of apple trees in public locations, too.

Lambsquarters has been coming up abundantly as a weed in my community garden allotment this year; I haven't tried it yet though.  (Been meaning to, but it's been pretty buggy.)  Purslane showed up as a weed, too, so I guess I'll try it at some point. 

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2016, 02:49:55 AM »
I'm no fan of dandelion leaves either (it's not really the tast so much as the complete lack of crispness). But I've heard those who do eat dandilion say that the tastiest part is the root. So I have plans to dig up some and test out. There certainly is enough of them.

Have plans to go fishing tonight. Will see if I catch something this time.

pekklemafia

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2016, 07:59:37 PM »
There are pecan trees all over town here, some on public right-of-way, and nobody notices or cares.  Pecans are delicious and fetch a fairly high price, but everybody would rather pay that premium for pre-shelled store bought pecans rather than shell them fresh (they also taste better that way).  On top of that, there are plenty of mulberries, American persimmons, maypops (species of passion fruit), wild plums, and blackberries.  There are also fruit trees that were planted then ignored or abandoned.  My great grandparent's generation would have picked as much as they could eat or store.   People now are too busy driving right on past at 45 mph going to pay money for flavorless fruit trucked 2000 miles to the grocery store. 

It might be a business idea for those who care to pick all those, share profits with landowners, then sell them.  You could even start a project to turn your neighbors' yards into orchards with the agreement you plant and maintain the trees then sell the fruit they don't eat while giving them a cut.  I think people would pay extra for fresh extremely local produce.

There is actually a company in Edmonton doing just that - they sell their products at the farmer's markets. It's www.fruitsofsherbrooke.ca if anyone is interested in seeing what they do. No waste!

RichHarvest

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2016, 08:50:58 PM »
Atlanta resident here.

Mulberries and serviceberries just finished and now blackberries, plums, and peaches are out. We're fortunate to have tons of forage-able food in the city. There's even a locale organization that leads fruit picks and donates to the homeless: https://www.concrete-jungle.org

We also have apples, persimmons, pecans, and figs here.

I already have my eye on a ton of fig trees in various parks and empty lots. They're green now, but should be ripe in September based on last year.

I keep a log each year of when I first notice which fruits become ripe so I know when to go looking for them next year.

Rural

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2016, 06:12:57 AM »
Blackberry observations:


1. Patience and calm are called for. The thorns are recurved, and if you try to jerk free or pull back when they hook you, you'll rip out little chunks of flesh. Push deeper into the thicket to ease the thorns out. "Deeper in you must go if out you want to get." Yoda would approve.


2. Some ecological awareness is both an advantage and a disadvantage: "if I damage this first-year cane that has embedded itself in my scalp, it will not be available to produce berries for me next year." Advantage in the long term view, disadvantage to scalp.


3. Some berries are simply out of reach unless you have hovercraft. Do not lean over the steep slope to try to reach them (I didn't).


4. It's easier if you think of those dropped perfectly-ripe berries (they will happen, usually when the first-year canes team up on the back of your hand) not as a loss but as planting new canes for next year.


5. Bears are smarter than humans. While I fought the thorns, he was busy eating his fill of the lovely thornless ripe blueberries that I'd thought were not quite ready yet.
Corollary: Bears have right of way at all times, and their appearance means it's time to go back to the house, cool off, and put the blackberries in the freezer. Also, make more noise tomorrow while picking blueberries.

Rezdent

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2016, 09:28:02 AM »
Blackberry observations:


1. Patience and calm are called for. The thorns are recurved, and if you try to jerk free or pull back when they hook you, you'll rip out little chunks of flesh. Push deeper into the thicket to ease the thorns out. "Deeper in you must go if out you want to get." Yoda would approve.


2. Some ecological awareness is both an advantage and a disadvantage: "if I damage this first-year cane that has embedded itself in my scalp, it will not be available to produce berries for me next year." Advantage in the long term view, disadvantage to scalp.


3. Some berries are simply out of reach unless you have hovercraft. Do not lean over the steep slope to try to reach them (I didn't).


4. It's easier if you think of those dropped perfectly-ripe berries (they will happen, usually when the first-year canes team up on the back of your hand) not as a loss but as planting new canes for next year.


5. Bears are smarter than humans. While I fought the thorns, he was busy eating his fill of the lovely thornless ripe blueberries that I'd thought were not quite ready yet.
Corollary: Bears have right of way at all times, and their appearance means it's time to go back to the house, cool off, and put the blackberries in the freezer. Also, make more noise tomorrow while picking blueberries.

#5 - this!  Yes make more noise always!

We don't have blackberries or bears here.  We do have Dewberries and rattlesnakes.  The snakes don't eat berries but they hide in the plants to hunt birds who eat berries.  And your hand picking berries resembles a bird just enough for them to make a mistake, which neither the snake nor you want.

Prevent snakes from mistaking your hand for a  bird by making noise and also rattling the canes with a stick.  The snakes should bail away from you (you probably won't see them).

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2016, 03:57:06 PM »
Oh, wow. Some of you have the type of picking companions of adventure stories (beans and snakes - oh my!)

I've been looking for elderberry trees. So far no luck, but the flowers shouldn't be fully in bloom for another week or two. Found a thicket of rosehip bushes though. Dried rosehip flowers for me. And rosehip jelly when fall comes around.

cats

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2016, 04:04:49 PM »
Cool stories.  I only do comparatively mini-foraging:

-mint and fennel both grow wild along several of our local bike paths
-not exactly foraging, but we scored a lot of plums recently when someone left trays and trays of them outside the local community garden
-blackberries also grow wild and most summers I find a few good patches to pick.  Last year was dismal (I'm guessing the drought had something to do with it), hopefully this year will be better

In the past I have also had luck foraging lemons and avocados, but at the moment I don't think we are living near any trees with unclaimed fruit.

I have noticed several walnut trees growing in yards around us, this thread has me thinking I should keep an eye out for one growing in a public or wild space...

MishMash

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2016, 11:14:51 AM »
Was gone for a month and was afraid to have missed chanterelle season, cooler temps meant it was delayed a couple of weeks vs last year here and was pleasantly surprised to find it was just starting when we got back.  Patch one is just now popping up and with all this rain in VA it looks like it's going to be a gangbuster season this year.

geekinprogress

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2016, 03:16:33 PM »
Oh wow, those chanterelles are gorgeous! 

I'm heading to the woods this weekend - not super optimistic about my chances for foraging much but I figure I'll keep my eyes open! 

Tom Bri

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2016, 01:19:50 PM »
Most of my 'wild' foraging is in my own back yard. To my neighbors it probably looks a mess, but to me, each brushy spot is either wild raspberries or wild blackberries. I planted strawberries, peaches and apples, mint, arugula and asparagus, and it has all gotten a bit out of hand, spreading here and there as my lawn area contracts.
Last year wild plums along the roadside were excellent, and I got enough plum jam to fill the freezer.

Rural

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2016, 06:19:22 PM »

 Drought and unbelievable heat here withered the wild blueberries on the plants (and killed a bunch of plants to boot) and – believe it or not – seems to have fermented the blackberries that didn't die. Every single one I've tasted has been terrible, and I tried quite a few before I gave up.


 A lot of the sassafras has died from the drought – I don't know that I'll be making root beer this year.  At least I did make file powder already with early leaves. The wild cherries have withered, and the fox grapes aren't making; lots of the leaves have died.


May yet get some elderberries, because not all of them are done  blooming yet. We got some rain this week, so there's hope.


 I just hope we get enough rain that the acorns make, or we'll have deer starving over the winter.


It's been a rough year, worst I remember since 2007, when many of my neighbors' wells went dry. This is not that bad, and likely next year will be better.  As I mentioned in the gardening thread, at least this time, we won't be going hungry because of it. There've been years in my life when that was not the case, and I appreciate the difference.

SaskyStache

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2016, 09:39:17 PM »
Saskatoon berries are ripe up here and we've already harvested an ice cream pail's worth. There's a good spot out near my parents cabin and I'm planning to get some more and freeze at least 1 pail for smoothies during the winter.

Also been trying to catch fish, but due to my lack of fishing skills, I haven't caught anything worth filleting. Everyone around me (sometimes using the same hook) are catching, but I've gotten nothing. And I have a couple packages of rice paper just waiting for some walleye or pike. Hoping this weekend will be better.

Also, thinking about trying to eat some prickly pear. Never tried it before, but there's a tonne out here and the variety is edible. I've looked up some methods to harvest and cook them online, but has anyone cooked prickly pears? or eat them regularly? Tips would be appreciated.

pancakes

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2016, 10:05:42 PM »
When I lived in Brisbane (Australia) I used to forage a lot.

There was a park with many mulberry trees and we'd made a day of picking them each year when they ripened and have mulberry pie and make jam after.

The local university had pepper berries, passion fruit and guava growing wild if you looked closely and we'd pick those regularly.

There used to be a lot of macadamia trees around too so I'd always pick up nuts if I saw them but I think the council started chopping them down because they were a cause of fractured ankles.

In summer there were mangoes everywhere. It was easier enough to find a park with some trees but if not I'd just ask if I saw someone in a garden with a tree and they'd always say yes. They were the stringy kind and I would use them mostly in cooking and chutneys.

I also always kept an eye out for gooseberries and monstera deliciosa fruit. Also tomatoes at campsites as they'd often be growing where campers discarded seeds. 

There used to be mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley and habanero chilies (why the hottest they could plant, I don't know) growing in our local park too which we were welcome to pick.

Also bunya nuts from the city botanic gardens. They freeze well and I'd often put them into slow cooked meals.

Now we are in WA I have a harder time. Lemons are everywhere and I have no problems picking from a tree overhanging a fence if the owner is letting fruit spoil. Same thing with figs but I haven't found much else.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:10:02 PM by pancakes »

.x.

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2016, 08:31:49 PM »
Huckleberries are ripe, here, and I have been eating handfuls on hikes.  Not enough to freeze, but enough to get a good dose of yum!

Tom Bri

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2016, 08:51:29 PM »
I was checking out the wild blackberries at my dad's farm today. A few ripe, not many yet. I happened to spot some wild strawberry plants in the roadside, so I dug up 4 plants and transplanted them into my back yard. There were also a few growing in random spots in my lawn, seeds dropped by birds I expect, so I moved those to my new strawberry patch too. Hopefully next year we will have several varieties of strawberries. The wild ones around here are extremely excellent in flavor, though very small. As kids we used to scout the roadsides for patches and just feast. I can't think of anything I have ever tasted better than those wild strawberries!
On the down side, the wild raspberries, black ones, are almost done for this year. A few late stragglers left. The red ones should continue to produce slowly all summer and fall.

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2016, 02:46:35 PM »
Tom Bri: That's how my grandma got all her plants. They vere a random mishmash of small, large, early and late and all together they made the best strawberry field anyone could wish for. Bought plants just don't have that tasty berries..

Reading about all the exotic foraging in this thread is really inspiring. Around here the raspberries are still 2-3 weeks from ripe, so I'll just read about your adventures and wait. Planing on going to check if the chanterelles are ok later this week, though. Probably it's too early.

Good_Juju

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2016, 08:59:56 PM »

I found these on my ride home. Anyone know what it is?

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2016, 04:58:10 AM »
They remind me awfully of thrumpet flowers (at least that's what we call them - they might have other names..). But that's a wild guess on my part. It's a seedpod, right?

Good_Juju

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2016, 06:12:58 AM »
They remind me awfully of thrumpet flowers (at least that's what we call them - they might have other names..). But that's a wild guess on my part. It's a seedpod, right?
You know...I thought it was a seedpod because that's what it looks like to me but I didn't actually open one up.
I found these which kinda look the same as far as the pods so you're probably right: http://www.trumpetflowers.com/gallery-photos/angels-trumpet-supernova.png

« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 06:15:06 AM by Good_Juju »

geekette

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2016, 07:11:12 AM »
Looks like trumpet vine. They're not edible, and are invasive in the south.

Rural

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2016, 07:14:49 AM »
They remind me awfully of thrumpet flowers (at least that's what we call them - they might have other names..). But that's a wild guess on my part. It's a seedpod, right?
You know...I thought it was a seedpod because that's what it looks like to me but I didn't actually open one up.
I found these which kinda look the same as far as the pods so you're probably right: http://www.trumpetflowers.com/gallery-photos/angels-trumpet-supernova.png


Yep. Campsis radicans, aka trumpet vine. On the off chance it needs to be said, don't eat those seed pods!

Geekette: they're natives, not invasive, though they can certainly be annoying.


USDA Plants database native status map:


http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=cara2

geekette

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2016, 07:51:27 AM »
Yeah, not officially invasive, but impossible to eradicate once established. People get cuttings and seeds and don't realize they can take over.

Speaking of something taking over (and I believe this is edible), we have creeping cucumber invading our natural area. It went from "interesting" last year to "OMG IT'S WORSE THAN KUDZU" this year. From what I've read, the little (and I do mean little) cukes can be eaten young. So far, I'm not that hungry.

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2016, 02:28:51 AM »
Chanterelle season officially started here. I came across several of them by accident last night on a walk and they now reside in my fridge. Does anyone know if I can keep them there without losing too much quality until tomorrow? I've never not sautéed chanterelles right away, but I have a wine&company type ting tomorrow and these would be just perfect.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2016, 02:45:29 AM »
I've been looking for elderberry trees. So far no luck, but the flowers shouldn't be fully in bloom for another week or two. Found a thicket of rosehip bushes though. Dried rosehip flowers for me. And rosehip jelly when fall comes around.

Whereas I spend hours each year getting rid of unwanted elderberry & wild rose plants from the garden. Both pretty much ubiquitous in farmland hedges around here, along with hawthorn (leaves edible, a few people use the berries). What do you do with the elderberries? I use elderflower for sorbets and drinks, occasionally put elderberries in smoothies, but they're a bit tasteless?

Sloes also common in hedgerows, get used for sloe gin, know quite a few people who do that. Occasionally you find wild damsons. Cherry trees and apple trees are reasonably common too and the fruit is almost never picked by anyone. I have them in the garden so don't bother to wild collect, except sometimes when I'm out running and a few miles from home. Hazel nuts I have at home, but you can often find these and other nuts; I'm quite partial to beech mast. Nettles for soup? Dandelions for salad. Both would go on the "I'd need to be quite hungry to eat this regularly" list...


Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2016, 04:53:41 AM »
Whereas I spend hours each year getting rid of unwanted elderberry & wild rose plants from the garden. Both pretty much ubiquitous in farmland hedges around here, along with hawthorn (leaves edible, a few people use the berries). What do you do with the elderberries? I use elderflower for sorbets and drinks, occasionally put elderberries in smoothies, but they're a bit tasteless?

Sloes also common in hedgerows, get used for sloe gin, know quite a few people who do that. Occasionally you find wild damsons. Cherry trees and apple trees are reasonably common too and the fruit is almost never picked by anyone. I have them in the garden so don't bother to wild collect, except sometimes when I'm out running and a few miles from home. Hazel nuts I have at home, but you can often find these and other nuts; I'm quite partial to beech mast. Nettles for soup? Dandelions for salad. Both would go on the "I'd need to be quite hungry to eat this regularly" list...
Oh, I was just looking for the flowers. The trees are practically everywhere here too, but most patches belong either to a property or are too close to roads for my liking. I might try picking a few berries come fall and test a few recipes, but most people I know only make use of the flower. I live in a flat, so no garden for me, othervise I'd probably have both elderberry and rosehip - they both look pretty and grow (too) well.

As far as wild berries go rasberries are my absolute favourite. The wild ones are so much tastier than the garden variety and it's easy to find a use for them that doesn't involve sugar (mostly smoothies or baked goods). Most methods preserving berries seems to go along the line of "add absurd amounts of sugar". I can't eat a lot of sugar without feeling crap, so ...

cerat0n1a

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2016, 05:52:20 AM »
As far as wild berries go rasberries are my absolute favourite. The wild ones are so much tastier than the garden variety and it's easy to find a use for them that doesn't involve sugar (mostly smoothies or baked goods). Most methods preserving berries seems to go along the line of "add absurd amounts of sugar". I can't eat a lot of sugar without feeling crap, so ...

Don't think I've ever seen wild raspberry, only seen wild gooseberry once in britain. I forgot another kind of wild berry which is the bilberry (aka whortleberry, or in Scotland blaeberry), our native blueberry. Much smaller and less juicy than american blueberries, or the kind you buy in shops or grow, and they stain your fingers when you pick them and your mouth when you eat them, even cooked. Absolutely delicious. They grow on very acid soil, heath/ moorland, places like exmoor and north wales and not at all in the very chalky soils in the part of England where I live. In the wild places they like to grow, they often cover many acres.

Rural

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2016, 07:49:07 AM »
^ I use American black elderberries in pies, cobblers, and (especially) muffins, and use dried ones in tea blends. I make the muffins low-sugar, harder with the pies. They have a distinctive crunch from the seeds, but they are very good for you - antiviral properties, especially ant-influenza, and my husband loves them. So lots in winter. They're dead easy to throw in the freezer, just seal in a bag.


And on a "made my day" note, yesterday my husband came in the house and said, "honey, there's a tree out back making fruit I don't recognize. Would you come look?"


Persimmon trees, two of them, in fruit and small enough I'll be able to harvest come October. I knew they had to be here (native), but I hadn't found any on the property although I've been looking and we've been here seven years.


Now, if I could just find the black walnuts I know must be here, too. Those are most likely down in the stream gulley, so I'll have to take a hike.

MishMash

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2016, 07:52:32 AM »
Chanterelle season officially started here. I came across several of them by accident last night on a walk and they now reside in my fridge. Does anyone know if I can keep them there without losing too much quality until tomorrow? I've never not sautéed chanterelles right away, but I have a wine&company type ting tomorrow and these would be just perfect.

Keep them in a paper bag and you should be fine, I routinely use them 48 hours after.  Just make sure you don't get them wet before putting them in the fridge

CheapskateWife

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #47 on: July 22, 2016, 08:01:07 AM »
Harvested some wild honey from my job site before the bull dozers got rolling.  Really freaks out the equipment operators when you walk around in a full bee suit...the dawning realization that there is something dangerous going on and they are woefully underdressed :)

Anje

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2016, 04:28:14 PM »

Keep them in a paper bag and you should be fine, I routinely use them 48 hours after.  Just make sure you don't get them wet before putting them in the fridge
Thank you for the tip. I put them in a box with some paper towels around. Seems to work fine, so now I know how to keep them.

Harvested some wild honey from my job site before the bull dozers got rolling.  Really freaks out the equipment operators when you walk around in a full bee suit...the dawning realization that there is something dangerous going on and they are woefully underdressed :)
This comment made my day. I can visualize the beauty of that scene.
Is it bad of me to want to dress in one of those suits just to see people's reaction? I guess it is, but I still do.

SeaEhm

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Re: Foraging - finding free wild food
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2016, 05:03:55 PM »
Around here, foraging is frowned upon.

But look at all of these great places to find food! I think there is even a guy foraging!