While riding my trials bike through the woods of SE MN a couple weeks ago, I came upon my favorite wild edible: Sulphur Shelf, aka, ‘chicken of the woods.’
The photo on the left is from the Wikipedia page, but the photo on the right is from our stove… Robbie’s stir-fry concoction. Yum!
What items do you eat from the wild?
I’m partial to morels (particularly since they’re one of the very few fungi I can eat and identify without fear of death!): I blogged about them this spring and have a few more photos of them here.
Anyone out there want to teach a Community Ed class on wild edibles? I’d be all over it.
Bruce- I love the morels, also. I haven’t had any luck finding them around here, though. Where I grew up in SE Iowa, they were an every spring ritual around the house.
The other thing I love are the wild black raspberries that grow in the ditches around here.
We like the immature flower stalks of cattails (around here, early- to mid June) and eat them like corn on the cob, ie, heated in hot water and dabbed in butter. They come on a stick — very handy!
Gee, Griff, you sure like to live on the edge! Seriously, eating wild is a tricky and risky business, cuz so many plants look a lot like other plants and plants are constantly changing as they go thru the life-death cycle.
I mainly stick to my goji berries from my own bush, as well as rose hips, that are best picked red and right after a hard frost, usually.
If you really want to go wild and be safe, watch the wild animals. Acorns, boiled until changed water is clear of brown tanins are a great wild find…just follow the squirrels. Acorns can be pounded into flour as well as used for tea and nuts.
Some pine needles make great tea as well.
For people who want a nice backyard fruit, try kiwi bushes. See more at:
Griff- The other end of a cattail is good, also. When you pull the whole plant, there is a bulb-like root at the bottom. Peal off all the brown fiber covering and you have something much like a water chestnut. Its great, if you like water chestnuts, that is.
Actually Bright (comment #4) – the Sulfur shelf has no imitator. They don’t have the gills on the bottom and are prone to insect infestation very quickly. They have to be super fresh to be good and are very easily recognized.
When I was in college we would hunt for something we called “shaggy manes” and “Inky caps”. I was taught by someone that really knew what he was doing. I don’t think I would trust myself to identify them now but boy were they good.
I’ve found a few morels locally. And, like John G., I’ve eaten the bulb end of cattails. But my favorite (from times when my father was laid off from his job and we had no money for food) was deep-fried tigerlily flowers.
Rob & Bruce- Congratulations on your morel finds. Back home, getting a morel hunter to divulge his locations was kind of like asking for his firstborn, so I won’t even ask. I do have some frozen SE Iowa original ones left in my freezer.
Well, what about the lowly dandelion? Young leaves are good chopped up with scrambled eggs, or tossed into a salad or soup (at the last minute before serving). Dandelion heads can be dipped into egg batter and fried like fritters. Just be careful to pick dandelions from a source you know has not been sprayed. Don’t assume anything.
Or how about wild spearmint? Good in tea, salads, with cream cheese and ice cream.
And don’t forget wild walnuts!
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