When I told Ben we were going to forage for dinner, he was skeptical. My sister, who lives in Deep Creek Lake, Md., was going to guru us around her 5.5-acre property, teaching us how to feed ourselves if we didn’t have the Rovr Cooler. We thought we would be traveling far and wide, digging through decomposing tree stumps, and scaling branches to get to fruit. In reality, we never lost sight of the house. Reade, my sister, told us you often step over highly nutritious greens to get into the grocery store to buy less nutrient dense lettuce packaged in plastic. There is a wide variety of edible plants, and if you’re outside, there’s probably one within arm’s reach. Below is a recipe for a salad made from the backyard, and a few hints and tips to start foraging on your own!
Pictured in this photo is Reade holding a wild strawberry, and Roxy holding a blade of grass. It is a steep learning curve when foraging, always go with someone knowledgeable, or bring a lot of books!
Speaking of books, here are a few to get you started! You can also try out PlantNet, a mobile app that helps you identify native wildlife.
Not only can you eat plenty of things you are probably stepping on, there are many plants with healing properties. Pictured above is yarrow, which is traditionally used for anti-microbial and styptic (helps staunch blood) properties.
It’s always good to forage with a buddy! Looking for plants can take you well off the beaten path, and two brains are better than one for getting back to the trail. It is also good to forage with mesh or loosely woven cotton bags (not pictured) to spread spores from any mushrooms collected.Pictured above are mature wine caps (Stropharia rugosa-annulata). Picking the younger, smaller ones can lead to a delicious side dish or salad topping. Don’t forget your mesh bag!In our amateur foraging hour, we found the highly sought after morel mushroom! The taste lives up to the legend, did someone say umami? Ben said umami. Featured in the salad above is:
Local lettuce (grown in the garden)
Wild violets (leaves and flowers, purple and white)
Sheep sorrel (lemon taste)
Wood sorrel (lemon taste)
Chickweed (high in omega 3s)
Dandelion greens and flower
Arugula (very spicy)
Garlic mustard (eat your invasives)
We found all these things in Reade’s backyard and ate a wonderful salad after only a few minutes of walking around. No grocery store needed.
Make sure you are positive on your identification before consuming, it’s best to do some research or have someone who is confident in their skills before consuming. You are responsible for your own foraging safety and health! Thanks Reade!
Like the gear we’re rockin’ ? Check out the clothing from La Sportiva, featured in the images above!