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April 25, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 5 Faves: 1

Trend Spotting: Foraged Food

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Gastronomics Blog Series

As you may have gleaned from my recent blog (DIY: Wilderness Garden Boxes), I love being outdoors. Though I’m about as far from an athlete as a person can be – failed high school gym, shriek and duck when a ball is thrown toward me, got shown up by old ladies in aerobics, and have no idea what the rules of football are - I gladly walk for hours in my woods whenever I get the chance. Though my feet may ache, and my arms and legs may be scratched when I get home,foraging I’m reinvigorated. The sight, the sound, the smell, the peace, and the feeling that I’m doing what I was built to do is meditation for me.  As such, I could not be more thrilled that spring is finally here - especially since I’ve started to combine my love of nature with my love of food and taken up foraging.

While I’ve been woods-crazy since I was a kid, when I first moved into my country home three years ago, I had no idea of the bounty growing there. As a mushroom lover I was both shocked and delighted to find morels growing in our yard. Later, I had very nearly taken sheers to all the blackberries growing around the perimeter of our yard before I realized what I had. In these two discoveries, my curiosity was sparked. What else had I been missing?! Researching the subject, I was amazed by just how much wild food had been growing around me all along. Now, not only do I get the satisfaction of preparing local ingredients I collected myself, I have one more excuse to head outdoors, and something to amuse myself while I’m out!

Call it hunting for vegetarians. ;) Turns out I'm not the only one heading outdoors to track down a meal.

Who Says It's a Trend?

Gourmet Heartbeat: Foraging: The Next Big Food Trend

"Why bother to forage when you can just drop by the local grocery store to buy what you need? Well, modern foodies are rediscovering some good reasons... Foraged food is free food...Foraged food is always healthy and often more nutritious than store bought food...Foraging is fun"

The Telegraph: The wild food gastro trend

"Foraging is the latest big gastronomic trend and courses in gathering wild food are popping up all over the country. Some of Britain’s most prestigious restaurants are also taking a keen interest, with chefs such as Mark Hix and the two Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw offering foraged ingredients on their menus."

Reuters: From mushrooms to dandelions, foraged food finds way to U.S. tables

"The trend has gained cachet among foodies, with dishes featuring everything from exotic mushrooms found deep in forests to humble dandelions that are the scourge of suburban lawns. Foraging tours have cropped up across the country and farm-to-table dinners are giving way to forage-to-table affairs."

Chicago Tribune: Foraging for taste of the city

"Foraging, it's kind of the thing that the chef, Iliana Regan, that young soft-spoken woman in kitchen whites with her arms covered in tattoos who just served "edible soil," has become known for. "She forages," I whispered."

The California Report: Urban Food Foraging

"Are you ready for the next food trend? First it was organic, then local. Now, a new food movement is sprouting in California: urban foraging."

Spring Foraging Guide and Recipes By the Veg

Want to try your hand at a foraged meal? It's simple!

The following are truly just a fraction of the most common wild spring foods to get you started. If you enjoy being outside and like the idea of gathering your own sustainable, local ingredients, I encourage you to find a foraging guide for your specific location.

DISCLAIMER: While luckily most toxic plants taste so horrible, you wouldn’t want to eat more than one bite, and certainly not enough to make yourself sick, please use common sense. Do not eat any plant unless you are certain of what it is.

 

 stinging nettles

Dandelion

Stinging Nettles

 wild onion

wild asparagus

Wild Onion

Wild Asparagus

 fiddleheads

wild violet

Fiddlehead Ferns

Wild Violets

 wild carrot

 lambsquarters

Wild Carrot/Queen Anne's Lace

Lambsquarters/Wild Spinach

watercress

morel

Watercress

Morels

PHOTO CREDIT

nothingtosay@flickr

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Annie&John@flickr

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firexbrat@flickr

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Hella Delicious@flickr

LexnGer@flickr

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Ivan Tortuga@flickr

Michael Hodge@flickr

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5 Comments

  • We lived in an area rife with poisonous hemlock, which very much resembles Queen Anne's Lace. Unless you are very experienced in foraging, I would not recommend guessing on this one based solely on pictures. For reference and comparison: http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/plants/pppoiso.htm

  • Terra - It's true that they look very similar and people shouldn't forage poison hemlock based on photos alone (though there are subtle differences in appearance), but as I mentioned here ( https://www.smartlivingnetwork.com/food/b/gastronomics-wild-carrortqueen-annes-lace-foraging-guide-and-recipes/ ) the scent is VERY different from one to the other. Wild carrot smells exactly like the grocery store carrots people are used to. Poison hemlock on the other hand, smells terrible - like poison.

  • Some plants look similar...

  • But some, like hemlock, can be unsafe to touch when you are trying to figure out if it is the real deal or not. Words and pictures are not a substitute for learning from someone who can take you out and show you the difference.

  • ^ Only attempt to forage queen anne's lace if you can smell the difference between carrot smell and revolting poison smell. :)

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