What’s a better way to get into the Thanksgiving than foraging? Reconnect with your ancestors and kindle your feeling of thankfulness by taking a walk in a nearby park, field, or forest and forage a few easy plants to add amazing flavor and nutrition to your holiday!
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is an amazing plant that grows all over many yards, parks, under trees, etc in Eastern U.S. It can be tricky to find because it’s seasonal, coming up early winter and then dying back when it gets too hot. So now’s the time to head out to your yard to look for it – you may be surprised by what you find!
Chickweed is an amazing plant that grows all over central Virginia in yards, parks, under trees, etc. It can be tricky to find because it’s seasonal, coming up early winter and then dying back when it gets too hot. So now’s the time to head out to your yard to look for it – you may be surprised by what you find!This tiny plant has many amazing benefits – it has nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs to thrive. Vitamins A, C, D, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine plus the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, sodium, copper and silica. It has 83 times more iron than spinach and has many medicinal uses.All of this is great, you may be asking yourself, but what about taste?
Well, an important perk is is that it is also delicious! Chefs in New York City and Vegas are getting hooked on it . . . it has a leafy almost grassy flavor most people find pleasant. Not spicy or sweet, but an excellent addition to salads, burgers, and side dishes.Other than straight from the ground, my second favorite way to eat this plant is to make pesto. All you need to do is follow a generic basil pesto recipe, but add chickweed rather than basil.
Autumn olives are an invasive species commonly found on farms or roadsides. Birds love the gorgeous, fall berries, especially cedar wax wings.
Some people love the berries, some find them a bit tart. They are significantly less tart and sweet after the first frost of the fall, but they also will quickly fall to the ground after that.
Making gnocchi is very easy and it’s a great way to use potatoes. It just takes a little bit of time. It takes me about an hour an half. You can use gluten free flour with xanthum gum or regular flour and the results will be very similar.
Wild field garlic or another species in the onion family is likely growing right in your yard – just make sure it has a strong onion or garlic smell. Otherwise, it’s likely something else.
Wild field garlic is green in the cold season but dies back in late summer.
You can top with Chickweed Pesto or your usual pasta sauce.
Wildcrafting Wild Garlic Gnocchi with Chickweed Pesto
Making homemead wild greens pizza is super fun because pizza is such a popular food in America and it’s a great way to make it healthier, organic, and at least partially locally.
Dock is a fairly common, perennial weed introduced from Europe. Found in most states in the Unites States, you’ll also find it in New Zealand, Australia, and many other countries throughout the world.
It’s in the buckwheat family, Polygonacea, and often called cushy-cows, butterdock, kettle dock, curly dock, and smair dock.
Maitake Mushrooms, or Hen of the Woods, are commonly found in the deciduous, mature woods in North America, Japan, and China. It grows at the base of oaks, elm, and maple trees. It can be cultivated at home, though the wild one usually fair better. They are usually found in the fall.
This is also a wild mushroom you can buy at higher end grocery stores, like Wegmans or Whole Foods, and at farmer’s markets.
There are many mushroom recipes, but one of my favorites is risotto. It’s easier to get anyone who is less excited about mushroom eater to try risotto. The flavors are very appealing.
Start this recipe about an hour before eating because you don’t want to be rushed when cooking the rice.
Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is one of the first wild edible plants I learned and began foraging on my own. This small plant is surprisingly tasty, with a pleasant sour burst. You can eat it plain or sprinkle it on a salad to boost flavor.