Sometime back I learned that several plants in my yard were edible. Knowing that I went out one morning probably in the late spring and picked the plants I could identify. I took them and washed them and fixed myself a salad for lunch.
Everywhere you turn people are doing all the “latest & greatest” diets. Only eat this food, don’t eat any of that food. Watch your cholesterol, don’t eat too much of that. If you introduce some of these wild plants into any diet, you shouldn’t have to worry.
Listening to all this I decided I was just going to eat healthily. Eat well and in the process may be, lose some weight. There’s only one problem. Eating healthy gets boring.
My sister introduced smoothies to me and I began making them for myself. They sounded great. Adding things like wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, flax, chia, dandelion, pineapple weed, and spinach to the already great low-fat Greek yogurt, juice, and fruit. I can change up the fruits, change the spinach for broccoli or carrots and it’s a whole different meal. Check out this great blog
Dandelions, Fillery, Pineapple weed, yarrow, garlic, mustard, alfalfa, clover, and plantain are a few of the ones I have tasted.
Getting back to the spring I picked the plants in my front yard. I picked fillery, dandelions, clover, and even nettles and made a salad from all the green new plants I found. Make sure you pick your greens early in the spring. The longer you wait to pick them, the more bitter they become. Picking them a little late resulted in them being bitter. I saved the ones that were ok and just put more spinach and lettuce with them. The next time I go foraging I will make sure to go early in the spring.
Road Ways & Sidehills
I have even dug up wild onions in the fall. Wild onions are very small with pretty pink stems. You can find them along driveways, on sandy or rocky sidehills facing South. You can see their pretty pink patches on the dry hills all summer. Oh, yeah, you do have to dig up a whole bunch to make enough for stew.
Maybe you want to add something a little different to your menu. Try wild asparagus. It grows along irrigation ditches, riverbanks, and cattle ponds. The USDA puts out an asparagus map to help with finding an area. Asparagus can be found near small trees, briar patches, or with hemlock or wild mustard in full sun in the spring.
Let’s not forget the mushrooms. Be very careful. Mushrooms can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar with them.
The morel mushroom is the most prominent in our area and my favorite. The best place to find them is in an area that has had a fire or the soil has been disturbed. It’s usually best from May to June just after the snow melts. You just follow the snowmelt up the mountain. Mushroom hunting here is almost as popular as deer or elk hunting.
There are many other wonderful wild edibles out there. In the fall I love to go berry picking. Thornberries, chokecherries, and elderberries not just blackberries. Wild plums, apples, and apricots. My sister makes wonderful jellies with all the berries. I love to make blackberry pies and elderberry syrup. A great winter tonic to ward off the flu is elderberry syrup as it is full of antioxidants and vitamins.
I love to go “foraging” around my yard and pasture to see what I can find for lunch. The best thing about this is it is all free! I can make my smoothies or salads or even cook them up as a side dish. My own free market! What a deal! Go have an adventure!