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Old 08-20-2009, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DezertGirl View Post
Besides the obvious hunting, clamming or fishing (and I realize these endeavors are not for everyone), I am curious as to what wild foods people may be harvesting to supplement their diet. I, for one, make use of the abundance of yucca blooms available in the spring. They are delicious in stir fry or steamed by themselves with a dash of garlic. And perfectly edible.
Health Natural, Information for Natural and healthy living - Yucca
When in Oregon during the fall, we hunt for Chantrelle mushrooms. Fantastic grilled over an open fire!
I have also been known to collect wild mustard greens, wild berries and the elusive feral asparagus!!!
Is anyone else utilizing wild foods? If so, please provide links so we can all benefit from learning more!

Hi DezertGirl,

My current wild food/unusual selection that I have gathered and eaten is:

lambs quarter
wood sorrel
milk weed
creeping charlie
garlic mustard
sow thiste
service berry
ground elder
black raspberry
wild carrot
pineapple weed
wild parsnip
wild apples
choke cheery
black cherry
wild raisins
wild grapes
wild black berries

Of course it is seasonally dependent. The rain has probably washed out much of the sumac Indian lemonade for the season and the milkweed is rapidly moving from the last stage of good edibles being the pre-silk. The fruit of the season now is wild grape and apples. I just had dried apple leather for lunch and nature paid the bill. I am also getting a lot of my cultivated stuff right now.
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 3-Oaks View Post
I also would like to know what kind of ferns....We have tons of ostrich ferns. Are they edible in spring?
Hi 3-Oaks,

Make sure they are ostrich ferns. Not all fiddle heads are edible like Cinnamon ferns. However if you do identify them the shoots are edible. I could not find any wild so I planted them. Asparagus needs light and for those shady spots in the yard one may have a nice edible in the spring. Same with Hosta lancifolia.
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Annie3 View Post
This is a great thread! Can anyone recommend a good book/guide for identifying edible plants in Illinois/Midwest? I'm sure there are plenty of good books out there, but if someone has experience with a great one that would help a lot. Thanks!

I have poke in my backyard, so I'm going to mark where it is now so I can harvest the young leaves in the spring. I love greens so I'm looking forward to it.
Hi Annie3,

That's easy. Samuel Thayer. I have his book and you can find many articles online. He hails from Wisconsin which makes him a very good source for the Midwest.

For example:


For those in the south east specifically but still very good for general purposes is Mr Green Dean on youtube. Search for "eattheweeds".


The man is better than anyone you would find on PBS and the videos are very entertaining.
My favorite:

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Old 08-24-2009, 11:05 AM
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In the Southeastern U.S., look for kudzu (shouldn't have to look far) - the entire plant is edible - from roots to leaves.

Also in the Southeast: pawpaws are a great wild food. They grow on trees, and they taste a little like bananas. There are recipes you can find online to make use of these fruits. I have made "banana bread" and muffins out of them.

One more in the Southeast - young poke greens - these are really wonderful. They taste very similar to asparagus or Chinese broccoli. Just make sure you pick them young.

In the southern U.S. from Mississippi to Southern California, there is a squash vine called Chayote, that grows rampantly. If you find (or plant) a patch of Chayote, you'll have an excellent food source for several months a year. The squashes are very, very ugly, but taste great. You can cook them just like baked potatoes, or use them to make zucchini bread.

Last edited by timelesschild; 08-24-2009 at 11:17 AM..
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:34 PM
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,717,718 times
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"Eat the weeds at your feet" by Joan Elk. This book is illustrated with b&w drawings by the author's daugher.

Joan sent me a copy years ago. I'll think I'll put it to use with the advice from this thread!

Kate in Oregon

PS I read a great tip for getting to have ready to eat dandelion greens: sprout them in your kitchen, in a jar!!!
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