Sunday, May 9, 2010

Foraging Report 05/09/2010

Do we spend all of our time foraging? No, I go to the grocery store every week, Robert works, Gillian has preschool, and we letterbox, too. If we are lucky, we manage to squeeze in a bit of foraging everyday, though.

We took a trip down to a beach one day, and came across some Mayapple plants. They were blooming, one pretty white flower each, and will produce one fruit for each singular flower late in the summer. Unfortunately, this is a landscaped, high-foot traffic area, and we are thinking they will not survive until then. There was an enormous bunch of winecap mushrooms, also a bunch of enormous winecap mushrooms! We are still not totally confident with identifying mushrooms, so we only gathered one to take home to make a spore print and to study further, we did not pick or eat any more. We saw the bay laurels making their flower catkins, and saw some sumacs growing new shoots. Robert went out looking for some edible seaweeds, but didn't really find any. I found some pretty beach roses blooming pink and white, and we are looking forward to the tasty rosehips for tea and jelly in early autumn.

While out letterboxing, we picked another bagful of nettles for soup. Jewelweed, a wonderful remedy for nettle stings and poison ivy, is growing nicely in the same area. The old farmstead field contains some thistle, and curly dock. We gathered the flower stalks of each to (carefully!) peel and eat raw. We saw the wild black cherries are flowering, and a few black locust trees will flower very soon. Wild strawberries and dewberries are also flowering.

At another letterboxing site, we came across Solomon's Seal and Solomon's Plume. Robert dug a few roots from each to taste and compare. I picked and peeled some black birch for Gillian to chew on, she loves the wintergreen flavor. We noticed the grapes have leafed out, and picked a few of the curly tendrils to snack on. I noticed a small clearing off trail where there were some very large autumn olive shrubs growing in what used to be a field, and planted Foraging Autumn Olive in the vicinity. We also saw the lady slippers and trilliums blooming, such pretty flowers.

Finally, at our favorite open area very close to home, Robert stopped to pick some second-year garlic mustard tops, with the green seed pods and small leaves. Most of the flowers have gone by, and the plant is producing long, green seed pods that will soon dry out, turn brown, and release many small, pungent black seeds. The leaves are still good to eat, and we experimented with the green seed pods. We will gather the seeds to add to toasted curry spices and sprinkled on breads in the summer. He gathered some more orpine to eat raw, and to try sautéed. We also tried some milkweed shoots, lightly boiled and served with butter and salt--delicious!

1 comment:

EM said...

What a cornucopia! How was the mushroom?