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dankphishin

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Magictofu, thanks for the tips on where to find morels - when I was a kid we always searched for them in forests, but I never paid any attention to the type of trees.

And I had no idea that milkweed shoots are edible! I would assume at the very youngest stage? What's the best way to prepare them?

For morels, blacks tend to grow in forested areas, especially on disturbed ground (e.g. forest fires) while yellows grow under poplar and elm trees. At least around here.

You can pick the shoot when they are between 1 and 3 inches long. You then need to blanch and shock them at least once (I was told that they can be bitter in some regions and that people need to blanch them 3-4 times... here once is enough). Then I just gently saute them in butter and add salt. My guess is that you can probably prepare them as you would asparagus.

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In Chicago, look for Nance Klehm, who leads foraging groups and does classes, etc. Never taken one, though, but her name comes up all the time.

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A group is just what I need. Time to google Nance Klehm; thanks for the tip Marmish.

No problem. There's another group that meets further west. Naperville-ish maybe? My friend went once. If you are out that way, or would travel out there, I can ask her about it. College of DuPage has a horticulture program and lots of community programs. Might be another place to check.

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I went morel picking this morning and came back home with about 60 mushrooms. Not bad for a 2 hour leisurely walk in the woods. With work and a 2 years old toddler I don't go mushroom picking as often as before and I tend to forage around home. These morels were all picked within the city limits. If you like foraging for food, there are probably many options available to you near you... even in Chicago.

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:cool:

I'm still finding dandelion greens (pre-flower) young enough to use in salads, but the season's nearly over by me.

I ain't telling where my favorite raspberry and blackberry brambles are. Some damnfool government agency'll mow them down if I do, I'm convinced.

My fave mulberry bushes are all on private property which belongs to people who are only too happy to have me show up with a bedsheet, take the fruit away, and come back with jam.

:biggrin:

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The wild fennel in the canyons is providing a nice bed for baked chicken, fish and pork.

The loquats on public property (but hidden away) are really flavorful this year. I think the lack of rain concentrated their flavor.

The mulberries and blackberries (still mostly green) are also a little sparse due to lack of rain, but the ones near flowing water in the bottom of the canyons will do just fine.

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I went out today and the only thing I found was a small cluster of oyster mushrooms. Half of them had worms (unusual for oysters around here). :sad:

We are in the peak of the morel season so I'll probably try my luck again this week.

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I was gone on conferences during what I thought was the core of morel season. I'm assuming it's all done now? In between trips, I was in Toronto with some friends and we found 4 morels growing on the lawn! It was my first time eating fresh morels and they were delicious.

I also discovered wild leeks this year (although I didn't forage them myself). They are my new favourite spring green. They seem to significantly enhance everything from sandwiches to stirfys!

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I figured this question would fit best in this topic, rather than starting a separate one.

I think I have a bunch of purslane growing in my veggie garden (let it go a bit, and just got down to weeding it today).

Could someone confirm my identification?

If this is purslane, any thoughts/recipes for what to do with it (I found some stuff on the web, but mostly mixed in with other things, not on its own--which is how I'd like to prepare it. Best to leave it raw? Cook it? Best seasonings to pair with it?

Thanks much!

Here's the pic:

gallery_53596_4954_839872.jpg

Edited to embed image

I wish I had looked in on this topic a couple of years ago. Yes, that appears to be purslane and, if you let it go to seed in 2007, you can probably now feed everyone who ever posted on this site with your crop because it produces a horrendous amount of seeds per plant. I have been fighting purslane in my garden for nearly two decades now but I do enjoy nibbling on it raw once in a while. I've never cooked it but I have been tempted to rent a flamethrower and barbecue it right there in the garden. I don't know how the seed might be harvested but I understand it can be used as a sort of flour.

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I was gone on conferences during what I thought was the core of morel season. I'm assuming it's all done now? In between trips, I was in Toronto with some friends and we found 4 morels growing on the lawn! It was my first time eating fresh morels and they were delicious.

I also discovered wild leeks this year (although I didn't forage them myself). They are my new favourite spring green. They seem to significantly enhance everything from sandwiches to stirfys!

It's not too late for morels but we're getting to the end of the season now. Those you should find now will be big and yellow... very easy to spot.

How did you cook your morels?

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. . . we found 4 morels growing on the lawn!

That adds a whole new dimension to foraging.

There are many things right under our noses that are perfectly delicious. I grew up battling dandelions with no idea how good they can be, and clover too. I've never seen a morel on my lawn but I get tons of wild strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

I could probably survive a year living off my lawn, longer if I include the mammals.

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It was a great find to be sure (they say chance favours the prepared mind, and I have been thinking of morels an awful lot). I simply sautéed them with butter, salt and pepper. They were delicious and what I especially noticed was their meaty texture and quality. One thing was that there was a lot of grit left in them. I initially didn't want to soak them or run them under running water, but I think that will be necessary in the future.

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Dandelion greens, fiddleheads, cattail shoots, oxeye daisy buds, milkweed pods, assorted mushrooms, assorted edible flowers and evergreen parts, blueberries (the most abundant wild crop here if you know where to look), raspberries, strawberries (takes a lot of foraging, they're few and far between but they're out there), pincherries and chokecherries. I don't have a lot of time for foraging these days but I try to get out and gather at least a little of everything when it's in season.

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I admit that I'll put just about anything in my mouth unless I have a reason to fear it, and reading about all of your noreasterners eating fiddleheads got me out in the Wilderness recently where I knew ferns grew (they aren't common here, but they exist). I never found fiddleheads, but lots of baby ferns and new leaf groupings. So I ate them. I lived. At least for now.

But now I'm wondering how safe...safe enough for customers? I enjoyed the texture and could see me using them in some form or another, but as always, I prefer not to kill my customers, especially the regulars. I've got the question posed to a couple of my local botanic experts, but haven't heard back yet. Any idea?

On a related note, I recently tried yucca blossoms (petals only) and they are another super texture that I've confirmed to be safe - just the petals.

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I think most North American ferns are toxic. Even the ostrich fern which gives us fiddleheads has some level of toxicity. Your customers might not enjoy the upset stomach.

There are tons of very nice edible wild plants that you ca serve to your customers without worries.

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The foraging is going pretty good right now. I've picked 15 gallons of wild blueberries so far and the wild raspberries are coming in nicely. Both were later than normal this year due to an unusually wet and cool summer.

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So the blueberries are winding down, if I counted correctly I got just over 60 gallons as of today (no, I didn't keep them all for myself :blink:). A mushroom hunter friend said the chanterelles are out now (running a little later than usual this year) but I haven't seen any. I stumbled upon a HUGE patch of wild horseradish recently but haven't done anything with it yet... but I'll be going back to get into that. Matsutakes should be starting before too long but everything else was late this year so we'll see. I'm waiting for frost to go back out to the area where I pick blueberries, it's full of wild roses so I'm going to forage up some rose hips as well. Foraging is fun.

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Love the mushroom theme through these posts, they were the first foraging I remember, for the huge field mushrooms in cow paddocks after rain. Then later it was nardoo (an Australian water plant, bush tomatoes and quandongs in the local bush.

Later I moved to the coast (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia) where lots of European pines have been planted a long time ago. With them came the spores of beautiful big apricot coloured pine mushrooms, and I was fortunate to have a big patch regularly sprout on my front lawn! Cooked them with garlic, fresh herbs, a dash of white wine and sour cream and ate them on crusty sourdough toast, or fettuccine.

Now living in the tropics of Australia and I've been foraging local indigenous rainforest figs, mangos from feral mango trees, jackfruit, limes, the occaisonal mangosteen (highly prized!) and lemon myrtle leaves (taste similar to lemongrass or lemon verbena).

We also go down to the local coarse sand beach and shuffle into the sand at the tidal mark to scoop out pippis, to take home and transform into fettuccine alla vongole, probably my most favourite pasta dish.

I was happy to discover, via my car dealer (!) who is of southern Italian heritage, that his family know of a spot on the tablelands where pine mushrooms grow. It's their secret, of course, but I'm alerted now to their presence here in the north so I'm now keeping my eye out for this deicacy.

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After years of seeing women harvest a particular green near the lake, I stopped the other day and asked a lovely woman what she was picking and what she did with it. She was impeccably dressed in skirt, jacket and boots, wielding a large knife and had a huge basket of the greens already harvested. She told me it was like spinach but with a strong taste some people did not like, similar to cilantro. I pinched off a good bit and used it with twice as much spinach in a simple pureed soup which was excellent. Today at the Korean market I saw it labeled "suk gat" and it turns out to be edible chrysanthemum . A great find that I will return to shortly. It is very warm after a big rain so it is growing quickly. Next time I may need to strip the leaves from the stems. I plan to use it with eggs, in a pasta dish, or as a pesto, in order to showcase its flavor.

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That is soooo cool! In Wa. I used to often see Asian people foraging in various areas, and wanted to stop and see what they were gathering. I am now sorry that I never did. I found a great morel mushroom spot on my acreage last spring, ( Yes, I did a Big happy dance!) I keep wandering by peeking, hoping and wishing they would hurry about their business! I also found last fall, an oyster mushroom tree that still has some attached, a bit dry and quite a ways above my head. I will be watching it closely as well.

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A friend of mine that lives in the Canaries once gave me a gift of some small white truffles that he had picked himself in the woods nearby. There must have been a couple of pounds of them! He mentioned that they are so plentiful when in season that his family just boil them up like potatoes.

Blackberry picking has always been a popular event in our family. They usually go into jam.

I remember my Dad making wine from elderberries that we would pick from the hedgerows.

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As the result of extraordinary rainfall in Southern California the mallows are ginormous. I should have picked them younger for tenderness, but I am going to try some just boiled and dressed with olive oil and garlic and lemon juice in a Greek prep. There is no real need to "forage", we are tripping over them.

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