Foraging C's

Please try at your own risk. Please note that I have not personally tried all of these before and they are all taken from research I've done over the last few years. Proceed with caution. Do your own research before trying any of these.

Canada Wild Ginger

It is unrelated to the ginger commonly used in cooking, but the root has a strong, ginger-like
flavor. Native Americans used it in cooking and to treat a wide variety of maladies, including coughs, colds, stomach pains, and poor digestion Rhizome is edible raw.  Rhizome can be dried and ground. The variety in Manitoba is Canada wild ginger. Grows in moist, shaded foothill and montane regions.
Habitat: Forests
Leaf type: the leaves are simple (lobed or un-lobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry: there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals: the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube

Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe

Calamint

Think mint. Now think oregano. Put them together, mint and oregano and you have the Lesser Calamint. Important to Italian cooking, it is an old-world plant found in flower gardens and a smattering of states from the Old South northeast to New York.  Hardy perennial to two feet. It is said to be indispensable in bean and mushroom dishes. The regular Calamint also has edible blossoms as well though its flavor is a cross between mint and marjoram, read not quite as strong. They have been cooking with it in Roman since the Romans, particularly meat dishes. Toss the pink to lavender blossoms in salads or use to flavor dishes.




Carnations

There are few flowers more common than Carnations. They have been cultivated since ancient times
and were quite popular in Rome during the empire days. Originally just in shades of pink or peach now a rainbow of carnations are available, each keeping it clove-like scent. Like many blossoms Carnations were used to convey sentiments in times when overt expression of love where frowned upon. Thus, many a bouquet was carefully constructed to send just the right message with just the right color.





Catnip

In humans it makes you sleepy, like chamomile though in large amounts it is emetic. Catnip is an herb of the mint family and at one time was spice found in the kitchen. Although a native to Europe, it has been exported to the rest of the world and in some places, is considered a weed. It is naturalized in every state except Florida and the entire first tier Providences of Canada. When protected catnip grows to about a yard high, branches much, and is topped by small white flowers with purple spots, a common trait of the mint family. The leaves can be candied or brewed into a mint-like aromatic tea. In Europe the leaves and young shoots are put into salads or seasoning for sauces, soups and stews. While the flowers can be sprinkled on salads they are usually used to make tea, often along with leaves. Catnip is also high in Vitamin C. Young leaves are edible raw. Older leaves are suitable as a seasoning agent. Grows in dry and disturbed sites.

Cattails

Don’t eat the fuzzy flower heads, but rather, the rhizomes and lower stalks. They are starchy and sweat with a very mild flavor and scent, packed with Vitamin C, potassium and phosphorous.
Most of a cattail is edible. You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes of the plant. The
rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash it. The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw. Boil the leaves like you would spinach. The corn-dog looking female flow spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing, has a corn like taste.
Tender, white inner part of shoots/plants is edible raw. Cattail pollen is bright yellow and can be gathered by shaking a pollen-laden spike into a bag, which yields about one tablespoon of powder. Pollen can be used as flour, suitable for pancakes, etc. Pollen is available to gather before the plant develops its long, brown cylinder resembling a hot dog on a stick. Green flower spikes can be cooked and eaten like corn on cob. Starchy white core of rhizome can be eaten raw. White core can be boiled, baked, or dried and ground into flour, or boiled into syrup. Roots can be peeled and crushed under water, the fibers strained out and the starch washed in several changes of water. Fluff from the brown-cylinder can be burned to separate and parch the seeds, which are edible. Varieties in Manitoba are Common cattail and Narrow-leaved cattail Look for cattails growing on the shores of lakes and ponds, in flooded areas and in ditches.

Cilantro

If you do like Cilantro, then the flowers are Cilantro lite. The plant has a dual identity. The green part much used in Vietnamese cooking is called Cilantro. Its seeds however are called coriander. While its seeds, coriander, are quite aromatic they don’t seem to engender flavor disagreements like the leafy parts of the plant.








Chamomile

The small flowers taste like the tea, on the sweet side and apple-ish. Chamomile has very low amounts of thujone, which is credited in significant amounts to getting people high. It’s one of the compounds in Absinthe. All Chamomile tea does for me, and most, is make me sleepy. If you are allergic to ragweed, however, you might want to avoid Chamomile. The two plants are related, and Chamomile can bother some people with a ragweed allergy.

Chervil

Use Chervil as a flavoring. In a casserole you put alternating layers of thinly sliced potatoes and sliced onions, a layer of one then a layer of the other. You would dab each separate layer with real butter and then a pinch of tarragon and a sprinkling of Chervil. Then a bit of salt and pepper on each layer to taste. You fill the casserole that way. On top you spice it up one more time, add more butter, and a sprinkle of paprika. Into the oven it would go until tender. It also made great hash. The Chervil was a subtle flavor, and loses much to heat. That is why when you use the flowers for flavoring in a dish or a salad you add them last, in a dish just enough to heat, in a salad just before serving. Their anise flavor is subtle, but the nose knows all.



Chickweed

Found virtually all over, chickweed sticks around through the entirety of the winter, even in cooler climates. It has a tender, mild flavor with just a bit of tartness, and it is delicious raw. It has star-like white flowers, it’s also easy to identify. Look for open sunny areas, and lawns and gardens.
Leaves are hefty, and you’ll often find small white flowers on the plant. They usually appear between May and July. You can eat the leaves raw or boiled. They’re high in vitamins and minerals. (Pregnant women and breast-feeding woman should consult a physician first before use
Also known as: Chicken’s Meat, Chicken weed, Stitchwort
Birds and chickens love to peck at the flowers and seeds of this widespread and abundant sprawling annual, which persists throughout winter in mild climates. It spreads and forms masses of leaves on weak stems that creep over the soil, forming clumps up to 35 cm (14 in) but usually less.
The plant produces white, star-like flowers about 9 mm (3/8 in) across throughout the year, but mainly in summer. With a cosmopolitan nature, it is found throughout the world; indeed, claims have been made that it is the most widespread and abundant of all wild plants.

You’ll find it: on bare ground, especially in light, cultivated soil where seeds quickly germinate and create carpets of leaves, stems and flowers.
Leaves: the abundant soft, bright green oval leaves clasp stems; as they age, they become darker and tougher
Harvesting the leaves: if tugged sharply, whole stems complete with soil-covered roots are pulled up, so use sharp scissors to cut off only the young, leaf-clad stems. If they appear dirty, wash and allow to dry.
Using the leaves: young leaves have a mild flavour and can be eaten raw in salads, when they are at their best. Young stems are just as tender as the leaves and can also be eaten, although some people remove them. Add the leaves to scrambled eggs, use in soups or gently soften in butter which makes their flavour resemble spring spinach.
In times of scarcity, Chickweed seeds have been ground to a fine powder and used to make bread or to thicken soups; the leaves were picked, dried and infused in boiling water to make a tea.

Young leaves are edible raw. Leaves are safer and better tasting after cooking. Leaves contain vitamins A and C. Cooked leaves have a taste like spinach. Seeds are edible. Grows in lawns and disturbed areas at low and montane regions. Identification tip: stem has a single line of fine hairs running between each stem node. Warning: eating excessive amounts can cause diarrhea and/or vomiting, not suitable for pregnant women.

Chicory

It’s a bushy plant with small blue, lavender and white flowers. You can eat the entire plant. Pluck off the young leaves and eat them raw or boil them. The chicory’s roots will become tasty after boiling. And you can pop the flowers in your mouth for a quick snack.

You can eat the flowers and the bud, or pickle the buds. The root has been roasted and used to extend and flavor coffee.
Leaves can be eaten raw. Leaves are best when young and/or growing in areas protected from direct sunlight. Older leaves are best when cooked in several changes of water. Young plant, including flower heads can be cooked. Roots can be eaten raw when young. Roots can be split, dried and roasted to make coffee substitute. Look for chicory on disturbed ground, ranging from plains and foothills to montane regions. Warning: excessive/prolonged use may damage retinas and cause sluggish digestion.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum, also called Mums. Yellow and white “mums” are the ones usually used in the kitchen. The blossoms are boiled to make a sweet drink. In salads the raw flowers are pungent, if not bitter. Use sparingly. They are also used to flavor wine, the leaves are steamed or boiled and used as greens. The greens also dehydrate well.

Clammy Ground Cherry

 When ripe, the cherry is inside a dry papery husk. Cherry has a pleasant sweat/sour taste. Cherry can be stored at cool temperatures for several months. Can be dried for storage. Plant grows in fields and open forests









Clary Sage

Like many edible flowers it is found mostly under cultivation. It’s called “clary” because the sticky seeds were used to help get small foreign objects out of the eye, to help on see clearly.  Young and tender leaves are dipped in cream and fried, often eaten with an orange sugar sauce. They can also be dipped in an egg batter and cooked into fritters. The pleasant-flavored flowers are sprinkled on salads.

Clovers

Found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area. You can eat them raw, but they taste better boiled.

Warning: difficult to digest, can cause bloating. Warning: red clover in autumn should be avoided or not be eaten in large quantities due to alkaloids. Best when cooked or dipped in saltwater to counteract bloating.
Above-ground parts can be eaten raw. Best when cooked or dipped in saltwater to counteract bloating. Flower heads can be eaten raw, dried or cooked. Flower heads and seed heads can be ground into flour. Sprouts have the best taste. Creeping stems and roots can be cooked. Varieties in Manitoba are Red clover, Alsike clover and White clover. Grows in a wide range of terrain, look in disturbed soil areas. Berry has improved flavour when cooked or after freezing. Berries remain on the shrub all year.

Common Sweet Clover

Young leaves gathered before flowering can be eaten raw.
Seeds and flowers can be used as flavouring.
Grows in disturbed sites.
Warning: do not ingest moldy plants due to the presence of dicoumarol, which reduces the ability of blood to coagulate


Coneflower

Flowers and Flower Buds Are Edible Raw. Leaves and Stems Are Edible Raw. Plant Is Suitable as A Potherb. The Variety in Manitoba Is Narrow-Leaved Purple Coneflower. Grows in Areas Ranging from Moist Woods to Dry, Rocky Prairie Areas. Warning: Not Recommended for People with Autoimmune Disorders. Warning: Should Not Be Consumed with Drugs Known to Cause Liver Toxicity.






Coltsfoot

Young Stems with Flowers Can Be Roasted, Boiled or Stir-Fried.

Leaves Can Be Cooked Like Spinach.
Leaves Can Be Rolled into Tight Balls, Dried, And Burned to Ash as Salt Substitute.
Grows in Moist Open Plains, Foothill and Montane Regions.
Varieties in Manitoba Are Arrow-Leaved Coltsfoot and Palmate Coltsfoot 
Warning: Should Not Be Eaten in Large Quantity, Due to Alkaloids. May Cause Miscarriage in Pregnant Women If Eaten in Quantity.

Curled Dock

It’s distinguished by a long, bright red stalk that can reach heights of three feet. You can eat the stalk raw or boiled. Just peel off the outer layers first. It is recommended that you boil the leaves with several changes of water to remove its naturally bitter taste. Young Leaves Are Edible Raw, But Sour. Leaves Are Best When Boiled in Several Changes of Water. Fruit Can Be Winnowed to Separate Outer Hull for Collecting Seeds. Seeds Can Be Boiled to Mush, Or Ground into Flour. Seeds Can Be Leeched in Cold Water Before Using as Food. Varieties in Manitoba Are Curled Dock, Western Dock and Willow Dock. Grows in Moist Areas and Disturbed Sites in The Plains, Foothills, And Montane Regions. Warning: Raw Plant Is Toxic in Large Quantity Due to Oxalates, Which Interferes with Nutrient Absorption

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...