On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Monday, June 17, 2013

On Foraging Wild Edibles: Cattail, Nettle And Lambsquarters Soup

   You know sometimes you just have to get out. There is no stopping the urgency, you feel the compulsion to throw on your greens, lace up the boots and hit the trail. You look at the weather and it is about perfect. The need to get away and just be,  is well, overwhelming.
    It was those conditions that I found myself in, that compelled me to head out and explore and to get inspired to try something different. I decided to make soup along the trail.
    I have hunted wild edibles for many years and even though I do not consider myself an expert by any means, I know enough to get by. I know the things I like and can eat, and have eaten, and I have my favorites. There is a lot you can do with wild edibles and a pot to cook in or pan to fry in or even sometimes you just eat them all raw with a little oil and vinegar or a good raspberry vinaigrette. I'm talking about the many different edible plants that are so plentiful for most of the spring, summer and fall months.
   On this particular day, I saw many wild edibles including:
• burdock (for its rootstock)
• cattail (for its starchy root and the base of the stalk)
• dandelion (for its leaves and flowers)
• wild rose (for its petals this time of year)
• lambsquarters (for its leaves)
• greater plantain (for its leaves)
• purslane (which appears almost to be a "succulent")
• wood sorrel (a lemony flavoring)
• clovers (for the blossoms)
• stinging nettle (for the leaves)
• salsify or goats beard (for its root and flowers mostly)
• canandian thistle- second year (for its flower and inner parts)
(quite a few edibles available to me on that day and all are favorites of mine)

   And on this day, I was also looking for some wild asparagus that I had seen a patch of in previous years, but saw none so I settled for just some cattail stalk bases, lambsquarters and some stinging nettle leaves.
   I decided to take a little video of my foraging efforts and how I turned my gatherings into a delicious soup. So here is the video and I hope you enjoy it.

   It was a fun hike and a good chance to get away for awhile and to enjoy one of things I like about the passing of winter and the abundance of good things to eat. As you might have noticed, there was a lot for me to choose from and I know that there will be a lot more soon. I could see the wild strawberries were starting to bloom, and soon the wild crab apple blossoms will be out. There were even some wild violets to harvest and even the box elder trees were still running with sweet sap. Later the sumac berries will be coming out as well. There will be some much more to forage for as the summer goes on.
   Yes, it is a safe bet I will be eating a lot of wild edibles for the rest of the summer and I hope to increase my knowledge of even more wild edibles in my area as time goes on. It takes practice, but it is well worth the time.
   I hope this will encourage you to begin to learn at least a few of the wild edibles in your area and as always, be sure to check with a local expert before harvesting and eating any wild edible. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

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