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It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:04 pm
by Singingcrowsings
Hello everyone!

I'm curious about what people are foraging for, given that it's spring.

Yesterday, I went down to the river and discovered stinging nettle is in abundance this year! I was able to collect over 4oz by taking no more than 2-4 leaves off each plant. It's currently drying right now, so I'll see what that translates into for dried herb, then go get more over the next bit, so I can have enough to get me through the winter.

I'm also going to try eating wild chicory this year, and a bit more red clover, burdock, and plantain.

And sumaca! I would like to try this this year. Someone pointed to the sumacs when I first moved here and told me they were poisonous, and not ever seeing a sumac, I believed them. But I've just discovered that these particular ones are not (not anywhere near water), so I'm going to try making sumacade - like lemonade but with sumac berries. If anyone has suggestions as to know when they are ready, please let me know.

Too, I saved a spot n my garden where I'm not removing the dandelion seeds that have been so abundant this year, and will allow them to grow.

I'm so excited to be learning more and more each year!

So, what are you foraging this year?

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:16 am
by NateFlory
Horray for foraging!

Staghorn Sumac suggestion, Strain, strain, strain! lol. There will be about a zillion tiny hairs on the clusters of berries, but it does make a nice bright "sumacade" drink. Enjoy!

As for myself, I've mostly been sticking to the abundant garlic mustard, violets, dandelion greens, and other "salad fixings" around here. It is definitely a bumper year for Dandelions here also, so I plan on digging up the roots for rasting later in the year. Actually most of my foraging is "on hold until later this year". :) I do have huge patches of Comfrey and mugwort and motherwort that I'm waiting on. Springtime, for my is usually more salad, less medicine. Wish I had nettle. I keep transplanting and spreading seesds, but they never come back beyond a TINY cluster near the pond that hasn't spread. Alas!

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:50 pm
by Singingcrowsings
Part of my foraging was merely learning to identify the plants I noted at the end of summer, in their early stages. And yes, salads, as well. And this year, I learnt the difference of wood nettle vs. stinging nettle.

I'm going to see if I can find some mustard here too.

Regarding the sumac, the ones here seem to be smooth sumac. Will I need to strain them as much as the staghorn sumac?

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:03 pm
by Singingcrowsings
Well, it turns out 4oz of fresh stinging nettle is equivalent to 1oz dried. I have a ways to go for a good winter's stash. ;)

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:28 pm
by ItalianBee
I actually ended up buying a nettle plant, which feels very weird to me, because there are no nettles growing wild in my area. I have only a container garden but Missy Nettle may just sneak out of her pot into the corner of the property (my landlady's property so she will have to be very quiet and secret ;) ).

As for what I'm foraging - I'm getting ready to look for clover. I also posted about gathering sweetfern; and I have witch hazel leaves drying. I have plenty of the bark, but I wanted to try using the leaves as well.

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:19 pm
by Lady Alinor
St. John's Wort, Calendula and Mullein just came into flower!!!!
So far we've harvested and processed Hawthorn, Burdock, Dandelion, Bay, and Honeysuckle.
So far I've used almost 2 gallons of 100 proof, 2 liters of Gycerine and about the same of Olive oil.
I'm going to harvest carefully this year because the West is in an awful drought, no telling what plants will be available next year. I'm already seeing fewer of our usual plant visitors (Yarrow has almost vanished from the farm, our Spring was too dry I suppose...haven't seen much of it in the mountains either...bumper year for SJW 'if' the PNW gets some rain) )

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:32 am
by CGolden
I find it so true that the plants answer calls. After my favorite stand of lamb's quarter became surrounded by poison ivy, I sent out a request. Just as I had despaired of finding an accessible stand, one materialized pretty much before my very eyes, in plain sight though I hadn't noticed it before. And another followed soon after; another after that. I enjoy the cooked greens. Does anyone use the seed? How and why?
Happy Summer!

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:24 pm
by Singingcrowsings
Wow! this all seem fabulous!

I lOVE lambs quarter, but I understand we're not to eat too much of it? Or is that just raw?

Sound like you've been busy Lady Alinor! Wow! Two gallons of proof?

ItalianBee, are you sure your landlady won't rip up that nettle plant of yours? I didn't know you could buy a whole plant! hmm. Ha ha!

Re: It's spring! What are you foraging for?

Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:48 am
by NateFlory
I had a stand of Lambs Quarter that I kept pinching off the tops so it got really bushy and full of seeds each fall. I'd use the seeds in a hearty "multigrain bread" along with chia, oats, and ground flax. Not sure if there's as much medicine in the seeds, but it made tasty bread that "felt better" to me in the sense it wasn't boring white bread. :P Your milage may vary.