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dankphishin

Foraging for favorites

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I don't forage often anymore, but my parents are avid mushroom hunters. Morels mostly, but thanks to their hobby I've also sampled maiitake, chicken of the woods, and puffballs. A good thing too - wild mushrooms were the only thing that convinced me that I didn't hate ALL mushrooms as a kid (I'm still not a big fan of button mushrooms).

Except for the one time I convinced my mom to help out with a batch of crabapple jelly when I was about six, it was never formal foraging, I guess - just snacking on things I ran across when hiking with the family in the woods, or that I found growing wild around my neighborhood. I still do this now, occassionally. Black/raspberries of course, and the most memorable part of our family vacation to Maine (apart from the lobsters and bears) was wild blueberries. Mulberries from the tree in the church cemetary. Sorrel (we called it "sourweed"). Tiny sour apples. One of our regular hikes was thick with wild onions, which I used to chew on contentedly for hours.


Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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Living in urban southern California, all I can say is that I'm very jealous of you foragers out there. I should be able to get wild fennel in the hills where I go hiking, but I haven't bothered to really check this out since I've heard it's very similar looking to hemlock. As close as I get to foraging is gathering boysenberries in my yard during the summer -- in fact, I was just out picking about the last of this year's crop.

My only real foraging includes finding small, wild strawberries and wild onion growing in my grandmother's yard in PA. We also picked wild blackberries in the woods once near her home, but I don't remember the eating being particularly noteworthy at the time. My cousin insisted we buy those packaged "shortcake" rounds from the store and we ate them with that. :wacko:


Edited by mukki (log)

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LittlLea

(Loquats are probably the easiest to find... occasionally you could luck out and find a passion vine fruiting.... they grow wild everywhere.)

*bouncing excitedly in my chair, with a Huge grin on my face*

I have seen pretty purple Passion Flowers growing all over my place! I thought they were just planted by previous owners. C00l! Tell me alllllll about them, What is edible? When? How?

I realy love discovering new "to me" things! :biggrin:


Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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:biggrin: Wow!  I am so enjoying reading all these posts.  Isn't it great how just chappie.........Daylilly bulbs, are these the same ones that we grow? Orange?  I have seen these in the woods here, all over the place.

And, please spill about the green tomato hornworm, that has gotten me very curious!

Yes, the common orange daylillies are the ones. Around here they grow everywhere.

As for the green tomato hornworms, here's a thread I started about the experience a few years back:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=0entry962965

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Well I need to go back home to Wales and visit my Mum as London is not top for foraging but in reverse order:-

Go home is September and:-

4. Wild plums - small tart fruits that make a great sauce to go with duck.

3. Mushrooms - oh so many - I'm hyper safe so tend to leave the possible ones, but some great puffballs, boltius and others.

2 Wymberies - think of a very small wild blueberry (the bush is only 4 inches tall) but that tastes much more earthy and is 1/4 the size or a normal blueberry.

1. Sloes - the fruit that if you bite one turns your face inside out. But home made sloe gin is nectar aand nothing like the rubish sold as sloe gin. However the &*%*&% at the local council cut down a whole hedge of sloe trees - they could have trimmed as they were impinging on a road but no they hacked them down - bring back the death sentence for crimes against food. So no idea where to look this year.

Other times, elderflower, chestnuts, don't know what it's called but a tiny sharp tasting plant (I think is wild sorrel), wild mint and watercress


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Foraging around the rice paddies and the nearby beaches during my formative years were my most memorable experience. Having emmigrated to Canada in 1977, the target has now become wtaercress, black berries and raspberries. I just wish I had better luck with morels.

The rice paddies provided my cousin and I quail eggs for snacks. The nests were easy to find on the embankments of the rice paddies. And when it was rainning, the quail's flights were restricted to short distances and were easy to chase down and were caught by hand.

On the beach, clams left sign where they were easily dug out and a gallon bucket is were easily filled for a nice gingered clam soup. A short snorkle yielded scallops but not the fancy ones you would find in markets. These were thrown on a bed of coals and were dipped in a Kalamansi limes and fish sauce(Nam Pla).

Smaller versions of fiddleheads were also available at one of the mountain streams. They were always served with fresh water snails from the same stream cooked in coconut cream, ginger and garlic.

Those days are gone! Pollution and poor natural resource management practices have destroyed this once ideal paradise. I continue foraging here in Toronto but memories of my childhood are still alive in me.

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Thank you Fugu, you've created the most lovely vissions in my head....sounds like a fantasy childhood, I can see how you came by your love of good food.


Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Thank you Fugu, you've created the most lovely vissions in my head....sounds like a fantasy childhood, I can see how you came by your love of good food.

You're welcome, nonblonde007. I have more stories than the above post. My cousin was a regular jungle boy and lived off the land. A skill he learned from a mountain tribe(Ita). Some of the things he ate were just way out there for me. He ate beetles, frogs, leaves even fruits that I have never ever see anywhere else.

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Thank you Fugu, you've created the most lovely vissions in my head....sounds like a fantasy childhood, I can see how you came by your love of good food.

You're welcome, nonblonde007. I have more stories than the above post. My cousin was a regular jungle boy and lived off the land. A skill he learned from a mountain tribe(Ita). Some of the things he ate were just way out there for me. He ate beetles, frogs, leaves even fruits that I have never ever see anywhere else.

That sounds like a great new topic!!! Please start one, I am sure that everyone would enjoy reading and adding to it. I would! :biggrin: Sorta like AB, or Zimmerman, What are your odd food explorations. :wink:


Edited by nonblonde007 (log)

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Yum, I forgot fiddleheads. I saute mine in butter with chopped garlic and S&P. 

Speaking of fiddleheads, try sautéeing them in butter, then adding some fresh lime juice and fresh grated ginger (a little salt too of course). That's how my old chef taught me to prepare them, and I still haven't found a better way.

Back to the original question. When I was a kid we'd go around foraging for wild strawberries on a fairly regular basis (they grew in the woods around the farm), but not much more than that. Nowadays I like to experiment eating stuff when I'm hiking in the backcountry, but I grew up on farm vegetables and whatnot, I'm not very experienced with foraging I'll admit...

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My foraging experience is pretty limited [standard berries (cloud-, blue-, rasp-, straw-) and some mushrooms (chanterelles and lobster mushrooms)]. I would love to learn more: does anyone have comments on Euell Gibbons' other books, Stalking the Healthful Herbs and Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop?


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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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


Edited by Anna Friedman Herlihy (log)

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foraging in scotland, it really is a huge larder :wub:

wild strawberries (rarely found these days) and wild raspberries (though these suffer from maggots often.)

wild garlic (ramps I think) in season are delcious and grow like weeds, they can be found almost everywhere.

jack by the hedge, another garlicky leaf, but milder than ramps and good for soups.

blaeberries, tiny wild blueberries that grown on exposed bits of hillside, this year is going to be a great crop, the weather (though bad for us humans) has been great for blaeberries.

brambles, yum, my favourite, but I think this may be a bad year for them unless the rain lets up over the next couple of months.

elderflowers and elderberries, one for fritters and drinks, the other is for jams, jellies and cough syrups.

rowanberries, great, these (once you shoo the clinging spiders off) make a pinky red jelly that is good with lamb or venison. it's a bumper crop this year, and they're so red!

rosehips, for rosehip syrup (full of vitamin c) or rosehip spread, like a fruit butter and delicious on toast.

crabapples, for jelly

I dont know enough about mushrooms so I leave them be... yes puffballs are recognisable, but I rarely see them these days.

beech nuts can be eaten, but it takes a lot of foraging to get very many! tasty though.

chickweed is great in salads, also dandelion greens. young nettles for soups, or beer/wine making.

we never look for shellfish, partly because our family isnt keen on fishy things, partly because our local shores are very polluted.

since we recently moved to an area which is populated by ancient beech forests on nice soil we are thinking of training one of our dogs (a spaniel with a busy nose and a huge appetite) to hunt for truffles.


Edited by binkyboots (log)

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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Many spring greens will also start growing: garlic mustard, milkweed, nettle, etc.

And let's not forget cat tail shoots!

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I don't have very much experience foraging for anything (except chanterelles, which are so plentiful in NB that no skill/effort is required save the ability to withstand the onslaught of mosquitoes). It's something that I've always wanted to learn more about, though. What's a good starting point?


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I don't have very much experience foraging for anything (except chanterelles, which are so plentiful in NB that no skill/effort is required save the ability to withstand the onslaught of mosquitoes). It's something that I've always wanted to learn more about, though. What's a good starting point?

best thing is to look for a local club and go with someone who know's what's what.

this book is a very good source of info on identification:

Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-kitchen Guide

Amazon.com


respect the food, something died to provide

Lotto winner wanna-be

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I completely missed your question about foraging. I think the best starting point are berries, but you know most of them already.

For mushrooms: morels, chanterelles and ceps are easy and extremely good with wild game (which after all is the main topic here). I have heard that many hunters pick them while walking the woods for game.

For wild veggies, fiddleheads are easy and abundant but the season is about to end where you live. Milkweeds are also easy and so are cattails.

There are numerous books available to help you with these and I believe you should always double check every plant or fungi in one or more books before eating it. Good books will identify dangerous look alike.

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Here's something I always wondered. Do a lot of people forage for seaweeds? Are there books or other reference on the subject?

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Here's something I always wondered. Do a lot of people forage for seaweeds? Are there books or other reference on the subject?

I found this one at my library. It's not very good, there must be something better out there. I suspect it's an almost lost art.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Scuppernongs -- wild white muscadines. There is no better jelly. Looks like apple, tastes sort of grape-y. And wild blackberries; smaller and tarter and much more blackberry-y than the cultivated variety. Incredible with sweetened creme fraiche, over shortbread.

Does fishing count? My very favorite is bream. I can eat a half-dozen fresh-caught, pan-fried ones, about 3/4 of a pound whole, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 pound dressed (including bone).


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Here's something I always wondered. Do a lot of people forage for seaweeds? Are there books or other reference on the subject?

Maxine, see if you can find Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop by Euell Gibbons. It's all about foraging at the beach or shore.


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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This thread has made me really excited that it's spring time again.

For me as well, morels are the holy grail of foraging. Finding ramps, wild blackberries, persimmons and nuts are all also at the top of my list.

It's been awhile since I've been out foraging though - living in such an urban area I find it challenging. Does anyone have any tips or know of any urban foragers in Chicago?

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kitchensqueen, in an urban setting the key is to find places where the soil is not too contaminated. Then you can easily get green veggies like edible weeds. Some are surprisingly delicious.

I recently picked a bucket of milkweed shoots and these were incredibly good and reminiscent of asparagus.

As for morels and ramps, I guess you might have to get away from the city. That being said, agricultural land that has been abandoned for a few decades and were poplars are often growing are common around my city and prime hunting grounds for morels.

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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?

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