Friday, April 26, 2013

Wild Edibles

In 2012, I was able to go on several wild edible hikes. While I've always enjoyed a hike when the guide knew what plants were okay to eat, I became interested in wild edibles recently again after reading The Hunger Games trilogy. The main character, Katniss, is named after a tuber that grows in the water. She was told she'd never go hungry as long as she could find herself.

I first went on a hike with Elkhart Local Food Alliance last spring. I went home with garlic mustard (an invasive species--eat it up!) and other edibles, a few sketches and photos, and an introduction to a few resources on the topic. I tried to drag my husband and three (at the time) boys along with me, but they didn't last long. I learned that sketching the plants gave more details and helped the learner remember the key characteristics better. My sons wanted to pull garlic mustard (that weed we can eat) from the backyard all spring.

About this time, Edible Michiana, a cool local foods magazine, printed an article on foraging and wild edibles in the area which included a recipe for wild ramp pesto. We love pesto at our house! The article had key tips, cautions, and suggestions for foraging. There is also a local foraging Facebook group called Eat Wild. I've just been following this for a few months, but it's been great to know what is in season at the current time, ask questions, and connect with others that are knowledgeable on the topic.

I also went on a couple of hikes with my kids through Elkhart County Parks. The naturalists are always helpful and made sure WE KNEW why it was okay to eat a certain plant. We even ate cattail trail mix cookies as part of one. My son really enjoyed the mint and sassafras teas as well. We also did a fall fruits hike which introduced to some of the fruits available in the woods during the fall.

Can you believe there are games to learn wild edibles? Here is a good basic book on the topic, too!


Have you ever eaten food from the wild? How did you know it was safe? What resources do you use to learn about wild edibles?

Watch for upcoming posts on how to learn about wild edibles in the area! Check the calendar for hikes on Sunday!