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Daily Foraging

 
pollinator
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Happy spring, permies!!! This growing season, I have challenged myself to eat 5 veggies a day that I produce or forage. Since my garden is teeny weeny this time of year, that means I'll be foraging all I can in the beginning. From April to the end of September, I am trying this. I'm excited to see what I learn! And what new recipes I come up with. But mostly, I want to get in the habbit of eating what's seasonal. Of taking the time to bring home and prepare edibles I see. Of taking a big step away from the grocery store and the industrialized food system.

So far, I have prepared doc greens, mustard greens, mint, and evening primrose seeds that were all foraged. (Since I began April 1st)
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Steamed Doc greens
Steamed Doc greens
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Primrose seeds going into my smoothie
Primrose seeds going into my smoothie
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Dandelion root tea
Dandelion root tea
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Mustard greens "omlete" with green onions and sunchoke hash
Mustard greens "omlete" with green onions and sunchoke hash
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Tiny mint buds just emerged from the earth. I was overjoyed to see them pop up and had to take some home for tea.
Tiny mint buds just emerged from the earth. I was overjoyed to see them pop up and had to take some home for tea.
 
gardener
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Do you roast your dandelion roots before making tea from them, or no?
 
master pollinator
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Location: Wabash, Indiana, Zone 6a
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You can dry dandelion roots and grind them up in a coffee grinder then brew like coffee, too. It’s pretty good.

j

Rachel Lindsay wrote:Do you roast your dandelion roots before making tea from them, or no?

 
Rebekah Harmon
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Hello, Rachel! No, I didn't roast them. I haven't tried that yet. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I don't desire the feeling of a coffee. A cuppa tea is what I want most days
 
Rebekah Harmon
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It's true, Jim! And I have several dried roots. However, they have to be sliced pretty thin before drying, otherwise a coffee grinder won't break them up. They get too tough
 
Posts: 107
Location: SE USA, Piedmont uplands, Zone 8a/b
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I'm already enjoying the pictures. Seeing the end product of foraged food is helpful and encouraging from my beginner's viewpoint. Looking forward to lots more!
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Spring is coming slower than I thought. So far, just dock, dandelions and mints are up. I'm finding myself relying heavily on items that I preserved last year in order to keep up this challenge. But I have been outside foraging more!  And maybe it's a bonus that I'm watching nature turn green and noticing which things green up first.
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first radishes of the year!
first radishes of the year!
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doc, still tender and green. I creamed this batch
doc, still tender and green. I creamed this batch
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wild mint, or poleo, growing by the lake
wild mint, or poleo, growing by the lake
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Baby nettles! this lot went into a veggie juice smoothie
Baby nettles! this lot went into a veggie juice smoothie
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Are there a lot of critters on and around your harvests, or have they not "woken up" yet?
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Hey Rachel! The doc I pick by the river has a bug bite here or there. The patch by the library is covered in holes. I'm not really sure what is eating them? But something is!
 
pollinator
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5 a day is pretty ambitious, wishing you willpower and good luck! I have set the bar at 1 per day for myself for the last couple years, and I have found the greatest benefit is mental health and mood improvement from the whole process. During growing seasons I would say I average 3-5 a day, but I don't ever want to force stress around gardening and foraging, I want it to remain an organic process. I'm sure my nutrition is better for it, but the most noticeable change is definitely intangible feelings. Have you found yourself 'feeling' better?
 
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Our Dames Rocket is already producing flower buds. Nice cooked up as broccolini. The garlic mustard is already flowering, but still nice added to a chicken and potato bake.
 
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I admire your dedication! I don’t think I’m there yet but I would sure like to be. I am wildly excited by your pictures because I wasn’t aware that the dock growling all around the homestead is edible! I haven’t really explored foraging so much as I’ve been trying to learn herbalism so I would appreciate a suggestion for a guide, if you know of one that might cover the southeastern U.S.A.
 
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I love that you’re doing this! A mixed greens wild salad is great this time of year when most plants are not bitter. In addition to the ones you’ve named you can also add plantain, ground ivy, violet leaves and flowers, peppergrass, cress, garlic mustard, wild chives, shepherds purse, mallow, galinsoga, chickweed, bee balm, wood sorrel, lambs quarters and amaranth. Some tree leaves are also good when tiny. You can try hawthorn, sassafras and spice bush. These are from NE United States. Good luck foraging!
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Thanks, Kim! Depending on where you live, I think Walden Farmacy offers classes. I think Appalacian School for Natural Health is also SE USA. Since I live in the NE rockies, that about all I know. But that's a start!
 
gardener
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Location: 4200 ft elevation, zone 8a desert, high of 118F, lows in teens
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I'm so impressed!

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest coastal forests, where spring foods are everywhere.  I moved to the mid-elevation desert SW, where though there is a wide variety of foragables, they are a "feast or famine" depending on the variable rainfall.

For example, the first year we were in this community we had heavy winter rain and a fantastic flush of pigweed amaranth and wild rocket.  Then the next three winters had barely any rain and almost no spring greens. Almost no wild greens until late July or August.  

Those years the rabbits and pecarries (similar to a wild boar) were so desperate they dug up plants left and right, ringed trees and ate every cactus they could find. Seeing a pecarry eat a cholla was impressive foraging. In that very dry year, the cholla did not bloom and so it wasn't able to provide the pinnacle spring crop, cholla buds.

I have learned a lot watching the animals and the choices they make in different years.

Currently this year, from our garden we are eating celery, self-seeded carrots, fennel, parsley, mint, Sylvetta (perennial arugula), cilantro, giant red mustard, green onions and bulb onions scapes. And small amounts of culinary herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme and the bee balm Monarda fistulosa.  It tastes like oregano and lemon combined. We just finished picking asparagus and Mexican elderberry has just gone into full bloom, if you like flower fritters.

Bulb onion scapes come from bulbs I left in the ground and they are surprisingly juicy and delicious.  They are good fresh or cooked. We've been making a lot of salsa and fajitas. And tuna salad.
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Celery, overwintered in zone 8a
Celery, overwintered in zone 8a
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Juicy onion scapes
Juicy onion scapes
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Asparagus and self seeded carrots
Asparagus and self seeded carrots
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Thanks, Kim! Some of those I am not familiar with. But many of those will start popping soon. High-elevation, zone 4 dessert here, so some things are limited. But once the snow melts, there is always something to eat. We'll, til the freeze I guess.
 
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Wow, what a great idea, 5 a day! I saw the price of greens in my local co-op this spring and decided to just eat from my yard. I have been stir-frying a lot of dead nettle, dandelion greens, nipplewort, and bittercress. I add them to scrambled eggs, make pesto, or just saute with some onion as a side. I do have one collard plant still going from last year, so I add that to the mix. I also have lots of garlic growing, so I have pulled a few early to add to my meal, though I have a lot of garlic stored from last year's harvest.

I also forage for stinging nettles every spring, but I forgot my gloves this year, so the harvest was small. I gave up after all my fingers were tingling!

Look forward to reading more about your 5-a-day journey.

Thanks!
 
Rebekah Harmon
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I visited warmer places this week, and had the opportunity to eat something besides dock and Dandelion for a couple days!! So grateful 😉 Elm seeds have popped there, and the stinging nettle is growing strong! I also found some tender trailside cleavers. 😋

I've also tried dandelion hearts this week. Like the crown section? Not bad. But I'm not sure it's worth the effort. If there were multiple crowns in the same area, brown slime stuff had to be picked out from between them. I was hoping for a crunch, but got a soft-ish almost fuzzy texture. Anyone else done this? Had better results?
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This stinging nettle veggie juice was the BOMB!
This stinging nettle veggie juice was the BOMB!
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Elm seed "cereal"
Elm seed "cereal"
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Cleavers snacking
Cleavers snacking
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Dandelion hearts
Dandelion hearts
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Lambs quarters salad
Lambs quarters salad
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Back at home, lambs quarters have come up in my greenhouse, so I had a whole salad this week. I used to rip these out and toss them. Now they are my fav. Green! Even tastier to me than spinach. And they grow more reliably with less attention. Goosefoot love, anybody?
 
Rebekah Harmon
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My elm seed cereal recipe:
https://youtu.be/JbmStZwBL8Y?si=qY1B2xXJ1WcjPfXf
 
master pollinator
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Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
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We've been eating never ending soup for several months. Some beans, potatoes, onions. Very heavy on the wild greens. By the time stinging nettle was ready, we were all WOWED by the taste.

I think it's great even when not comparing it to dead nettle and creeping charlie.
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Hey permies! It's been awhile since I've posted in here. High school and Jr High track are kicking my butt! It's alright. I've been eating lots of greens from my two little greenhouse beds. And swiping elm seeds/stinging nettle whenever I can. Found out henbit is not nearly as yummy as dead nettle. Still palatable, tho! Maple blossoms are tasty! Dandelion salads are TOTALLY ON! I Found an unharvested parsnip in my garden as I planted raspberries and made a soup.

But the FUNNEST harvest of the past few weeks was definitely trout! My 5 year old thinks he should be fishing if he is awake, haha! His papa usually takes him (my dad) but he is in Argentina doing service. Kinda far away for a fishing buddy. So the kid bugs me every day to take him. I finally bought a license and headed out to a fishing hole. With my husband's advice, I baited and set my first line ever by myself. AND I CAUGHT A FISH!! Two, actually. It made a DELICIOUS supper. Doing that again, for sure.
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Oops, the pictures part.....
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henbit, a wild mint variety.
henbit, a wild mint variety.
IMG_20240427_175637.jpg
maple leaves and blossoms
maple leaves and blossoms
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I flung the poor trout up on the shore. A little excited
I flung the poor trout up on the shore. A little excited
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small, but yummy!!
small, but yummy!!
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sauteed fish and doc greens
sauteed fish and doc greens
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greens from the garden
greens from the garden
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funky parsnip root. Anybody else think "mandrake" when you harvest parsnips??
funky parsnip root. Anybody else think "mandrake" when you harvest parsnips??
 
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