Spring is a time for many things garden related. It’s time to start seeds in flats for transplanting after frost, it’s a good time to thin those iris bulbs, expand your garden beds. Your list goes on… and on, and on. As if that weren’t enough, outside the garden space there is a whole world of spring activity and culinary exploration as well – Spring Foraging.
Now, before I get into the wonders of foraging it’s important to mention that you’ll want to go with somebody who knows how to ID edible wild plants or bring a really good guide-book such as Edible Wild Plants, A North American Field Guide By Elias & Dykeman. And please, don’t eat anything unless you are 100% sure of what it is.
During the spring many plants can be eaten and are quite delicious and nutritious (many are medicinal as well, but that’s another post in itself). You’ll want that experienced forager with you to know which part of the plant is edible too. Some of the commonly foraged plants in the North East are Pigweed, Cattail (photo at right), Lamb’s Quarters, Plantain, Garlic Mustard, Wintercress, Black Mustard, Evening Primrose, Dandelion, Chicory, and Fiddlehead Ferns.
Some foraged plants are great to eat raw while others are better cooked. My absolute favorite spring wild edible is Wild Leeks or Ramps. These days I eat them with every meal. I throw them in my morning egg just at the last minute of cooking, or put them on my sandwich raw, or chop them and toss them into a salad or bake them on top of a pizza (photo at left: shiitake mushroom, ramp & bacon pizza).
When we harvest anything from the wild it’s important not to take too much. We want to make sure the plant has no problem regenerating. Every plant is a bit different in this regard, so it’s really important you talk to some seasoned foragers and do a little reading on your own. A recent post sites research on Ramps that says harvesting more than 10% over 10 years could devastate the population. Now that’s not much at all.
Here’s the post for you:
Anyone who has come across the Ramp, or Wild Leek, allium tricoccum, likely can’t help but feel a sense of abundance; the spring ephemerals often show up in clusters that can range from a few square feet to a solid quarter acre or more of green…..but are we taking too much? Full Post: http://agroforestrysolutions.