Sunday, October 11, 2009

Foraging Report 10/11/2009

Quite an active week for hearty autumn foraging. Nuts are ready, and we have picked up some black walnuts (Juglans nigra) which are drying in the window. There was a surprise drive-by find of chestnuts--Chinese species (castanea mollissima)--but still roasted and delicious, hoping to head back this week. Hickory nuts are also ready and dropping fast, it is almost difficult to get them before the squirrels do. Shagbark hickories (Carya ovata) tend to have bigger, meatier nuts than shellbark (Carya laciniosa) and pignut (Carya glabra) hickory.

For mushrooms, we needed some advice and went on a tour with Wildman Steve Brill. We found some adorable pear-shaped puffballs, honey mushrooms, and something he refers to as a Reishi mushroom.

One of our favorite wild edibles is at top gathering quality right now, the autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). It grows at the edges of open areas, abundantly along roadways. The silvery foliage is dropping, and the red berries are heavy on the branches. We have made two batches of jam, fruit leather, and purée for the freezer, and will pick more for wine and to freeze whole.

We used our shovels for some ramps (Allium tricoccum) bulbs for cooking, and some sassafras (Sassafras albidum) root for teas. We gathered some garlic mustard (Alliaria petiola) seeds for seasoning, and Lambs quarters (Chenopodium album) greens are still tender enough to eat.

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