|Wild Edibles Pictured: Lamb Quarters, Wild Plantains, Wild Lettuce, Wild Mustard, Amaranth, Chicory, Wild Carrot, Wild Raspberries, and Sumac|
Since I was small I have been obsessed with food. I remember vividly watching Mr. Roger's trying to figure out how they made peanut butter. He took out some butter and peanuts and smooshed them together. Then he tasted it..made a face and said. "I don't think this is how they make it." Then we followed the little train through the tunnel which magically went to a peanut butter factory. Another show I loved was Reading Rainbow. Same thing. LaVar Burton would take us to soda factories and farms to show us how magically food made it to the grocery stores.
|Chicory: The Coffee Substitute Plant|
I remember my first taste of real butter. Sitting with my Grandma in a fancy eatery eating real butter on fresh rolls. I couldn't get enough. I was five. I even remember my first food obsession. Churros at the mall in NJ when I was three years old. I remembered it forever even into adult hood. I used to beg for them. Only I didn't know what they were called. I thought they were called grovers. I was thee give me break lol. My mom had no idea what I was talking about. I even drew them from my three year old memory. All was lost until one day I was watching Food Network and saw churros on one of their "how they make it" shows.
|Use leave for green and seeds to make mustard!|
This obsession of "how" paved the way for me to find out how to make bread and cake and ice cream and candy ect, ect, ect. I wanted to make everything from scratch. And I did. This then led me to recipe creation. I loved making my own version of things and tweaking recipes till they were perfect. They were then of course my own recipe. This led to the obsession of wanting to grow my own food. I understood what was quality food and what wasn't by this time. I was fed up with what the grocery store had to offer and the exorbitant prices of road side produce markets...but the quality and variety was lacking. I wanted to garden for so many reasons. I was just sort learning about GMO's last year but my main concern was cost and quality. I learned that it's expensive to start a garden. Very expensive. I read and read and read until my eyes about fell out of my head.
I learned about companion gardening. Then the curiosity bug got me. I couldn't stop wanting to learn about what flowers or herbs to plant with certain veggies or fruits. It went way beyond basil and marigolds. This led me to learning about wild flowers and how super important they were to pollination and pollinators. It went on and on with me identify species. Now I know all about GMO's. Now I know about heirloom and companion gardening.
AND THAT FOLKS LED ME RIGHT HERE TO THIS MOMENT
I found out certain flowers were edible. Not just flowers but different parts of the plant. Like roots and leaves. Plants I thought were weeds that I wanted OUT of my garden were actually not weeds at all. We could eat them. My whole world turned upside down. I wanted to know about all the plants that were edible in my area. Now as a forewarning some plants you have to be super careful of. Don't eat it unless you are POSITIVE it's edible. Not just the plant but different parts of a plant. Certain parts are edible and some parts can be bad for you. Like kill you bad.
Many people will suggest to buy a book or borrow one from the library. I suggest the internet. There are tons of experts who haven't written books out there. Locals to your specific area who know what to watch out for and what is great to eat. And then read and read and read some more. Compare. Use judgement. Enjoy!
The fact is many of you have edible plants right in your own back yard. To make a point I stayed on my one acre of land. With one exception. Raspberries. I'm a sucker for raspberries that grow wild along the field and border the forest.The rest however grow as "weeds". Everything in the above picture is edible. Even if you don't garden..you have one out there waiting for you.
Kelly over at The Morris Tribe has been writing about her foraging efforts. She has inspired me to do the same. So far she has written about foraging for crab apples and lamb's quarters. I'll be sharing some of the stuff from our area when it's available. Hopefully we'll all be alive by the end of the summer.