Foraging A-B

As I've said in my last post Foraging - Get to Know it  I did a heck of a lot of research before I tasted anything that I foraged. Even if you think something is a particular plant, it could be something that looks similar, you do not want to eat the wrong thing, that can lead to sickness and possibly death. Throughout my next few posts, I'm going to be posting some edible plants from around where I live. Be sure to consult local information before eating anything that you don't know what it is. Better safe than sorry.

NOTE: I have not tried all of these plants before and this information was collected from online and in books over many years. I am not a professional. If you try this at home, it is at your own risk. Ingestion of certain plants can lead to sickness and possibly death. Always follow guidelines listed for each particular plant and if you aren't sure don't try it.

NOTE: I would not recommend trying to forage for wild mushrooms. While there are many different edible varieties, some toxic ones look similar and even well train professionals have been know to get sick and/or die. Do not try this at home.


Acorns

The ultimate survivor food, packed with fats and nutrition. Along with black walnuts, butternut walnuts, pecans, hickories, beechnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, acorns can be gathered from the ground. They must be soaked in warm water to remove irritating bitter tannic acids. They can also be ground into flour
One ounce of acorn nut meat from any species of Oak contains a little over 100 calories. These are high carb nuts, with some fat and protein, giving these nuts a nutritional profile similar to bread. Just shell them and soak them in water for a few days to remove their bitterness.

Acorns can tend to be bitter, they are highly recognizable as well, they should be eaten cooked and a limited amount.


Amaranth

These small shiny black seeds contain 90 calories an ounce, 3 grams of protein, and some calcium and iron. The leaves are also edible, but have very low nutritional value.

Can eat all parts of the plant, but be on the lookout for spines that appear on some of the leaves. While not poisonous, amaranth leaves do contain oxalic acid and may contain substantial amounts of nitrates. Recommended that you boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates. Don’t drink the water after you boil the plant. Can eat raw if worse comes to worst.

Artichoke Blossom

That said we really don’t eat the blossoms of the artichoke. They are actually bitter but if you want to have at it. We eat the floral bracts, read fat leaves below what will become the flower. We eat them raw, boiled, steamed, baked, fried, stuffed, and marinated. When marinated they are called artichokes hearts. In Europe they are dried and used in soups. The inner portion of the flower stalk is also edible, much like true thistles. The flowers themselves are used for a substitute for rennet, meaning they will curdle milk. I said they were bitter. Young artichoke leaves are fed to snails to improve their flavor. Yum. Artichokes have been around for a long time.

Arrowhead

Entire rhizome edible. Underwater tuber can be dislodged from main roots with toes, floats to top. Tubers are edible raw. Raw unwashed tubers can be stored for several months. Tubers can be cooked, sliced, dried for storage, and later boiled. Tubers are usually several feet from parent plant. Stems can be cooked. Varieties in Manitoba are Arum-leaved arrowhead and Wapato. Grows in calm water in plains, foothills, and montane regions. Warning: some species can cause skin reactions.

Asparagus

Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the store-bought variety. Reliable source of vitamin C,
thiamine, potassium and vitamin B6. Eat it raw or boil it. Young shoots are edible raw, shoots are best when cooked, plants grows by roadways, disturbed areas and fields, handling young plants can cause contact dermatitis.

Bachelor Buttons

Also called the cornflower, they have been tossed into salads and used for a garnish for a long time. They got the name cornflower because the hardly species grew in English grain fields, and corn once meant any grain. Their flavor is spicy, sweet, reminds one of cloves.






Beach Lovage

Use the leaves raw in salads or salsas, or cooked in soups, with rice, or in mixed cooked greens. Beach lovage can have a strong flavor and is best used as a seasoning, like parsley, rather than eaten on its own.  Beach lovage tastes best before flowers appear, and is also called Scotch lovage, sea lovage, wild celery, and petrushki.



Bearberry

Berries have thick skin and a mealy taste. Berries can be dried for storage. dried berries can be ground and cooked into a porridge. dried berries can be popped when fried in grease over low flame. varieties in Manitoba are Common bearberry and Alpine bearberry. grows in dry open woods and gravelly or sandy soils in arctic and alpine regions. warning: may cause nausea or constipation if eaten in quantity, prolonged use may cause stomach and liver problems and should be avoided by children and pregnant or breast-feeding women.

Bedstraw

Stem, leaves and flowers of plant can be eaten raw. plant is best when collected before fruiting. Raw plant has mild/no taste and older plants have an unpalatable texture. Plant is best when cooked. A good source of vitamin C. Varieties in Manitoba are Cleavers, Northern bedstraw, and Sweet-scented bedstraw.  look for bedstraw alongside low-growing vegetation and disturbed soil sites. warning: acts as a mild laxative when eaten in quantity.

Begonias

Begonia blossoms are edible raw or cooked, as are the leaves of most of the Begonias, particularly the Wax Begonias. The flavor, like the tulips, varies with the color. It can range from swampy to sweet. The leaves reduced to a paste and mixed with sour cream, a little sugar, and then baked make a delicious tartlet. And of course, the blossoms are an attractive and tasty addition to salads.



Bistort

Leaves and shoots are edible raw. Rhizome can be eaten raw or be steeped in water, roasted/dried, and ground into flour. Rhizome is suitable for use as a potherb. Seeds are edible, either roasted whole or ground into meal/flour. Small bulb lets can be eaten raw. Plant is rich in vitamin C. The variety in Manitoba is Alpine bistort and grows in moist, open areas on montane, alpine, and subalpine slopes. Warning: eating raw plants in large quantities can cause diarrhea.



Bittercress

Plant is edible raw, plant is best when cooked. plant has a peppery taste. the variety in Manitoba is Pennsylvania Bittercress. grows in moist woods and meadows in montane and   subalpine regions.








Blue Porterweed

Blue Porterweed blossoms are edible. No doubt their edibility was known long ago because the flower has been used for at least a few hundred years to make tea, beer and as a flavoring. Two versions, a native which grows low, and a tall cultivated one. The flowers on both are edible, and the odd part is they taste like raw mushrooms. As with many delicate flavors the nose is quite involved, and it takes a few moments for the flavor to come through. Tasters find it amazing. The flavor does not survive cooking. Incidentally, the leaves are used to make a tea and beer and the stem is used for flavoring.

Bugleweed

Roots are edible raw. Roots are best gathered in spring. Roots were traditionally steamed or boiled. Roots have a mild, sweet taste. Roots can be dried for storage. Varieties in Manitoba are Northern bugleweed and American bugleweed. Grows by lakes and streams, in marshes and in peat bogs.







Bulrush

Shoots and lower stalk are edible raw. growing tips of rhizome are edible raw. dried rhizome can be crushed to remove fibers, ground into flour. fresh rhizomes can be boiled into gruel. The gruel can either be dried and ground into flour or used wet in pancakes/breads. Young rhizomes can be crushed and boiled to make sweet syrup. Pollen can be pressed into cakes and baked or mixed with other flours. Seeds are edible raw or parched. Seeds can be ground into meal. Sweet dried sap that exudes from the stem can be rolled into balls for storage. Varieties in Manitoba are Hard-stemmed bulrush and Soft-stemmed bulrush. Grows in shallow calm water.

Bunchberry

Berries have mild taste, berries have hard/crunchy central seed, which is edible, plant can be found in foothills and montane regions. Warning: unripe berries can cause stomach cramps.





Burdock

Known as wild rhubarb, it has large woolly heart-shaped leaves and reddish steams. The roots can get
a little bit woody in the winter, but just boil them longer to make tenderer. Tastes like a cross between parsnips and carrots.
Large sized plant with big leaves and purplish thistle-like flower heads. Can eat the leaves and the peeled stalks of the plant either raw or boiled. The leaves have a bitter taste, so boiling them twice before eating is recommended to remove the bitterness. The root of the plant can also be peeled, boiled and eaten.
Young leaves are edible raw. Older leaves are best when boiled in 1-2 changes of water with pinch of baking soda. Roots of first year plants can be cooked in a soup or stir-fry. Roots can be mashed and fried as patties. Roots can be dried for storage. Roots can be roasted or ground as coffee substitute.
Roots are best when shredded/sliced and soaked in water for 5-10 minutes to reduce harshness. White pith of young flower stalks is edible raw.

varieties in Manitoba are Common burdock and Woolly burdock. Look for burdock on disturbed soil sites. Do not confuse with Cocklebur whose leaves are poisonous if not thoroughly cooked. Cocklebur has rough rather than velvety leaves and has more solid burs.

Homemade Bread

I've always loved making bread, but I've never really been good at it. I think it was a mixture of having old ingredients and having...