I'm going to continue on a bit of a "New Year's" theme for today's post, and write up my foraging goals for the coming year. This is something I didn't do last year, and as a result the foraging efforts were sporadic and haphazard. As I said yesterday I am aware of the fact that I also was getting used to doing all of this now with a baby, so I am not down on myself about how it went last year, but I know that I can probably do better. This year I wanted to give myself some specific goals to accomplish so I would have a clearer plan.
I really want to capitalize on the incredible, free bounty of asparagus we have in our area this year. It blew me away that I could go on a nice walk for about an hour, and come home with 2.5 kilos of food! It is plentiful, and delicious, and I want to make the most of it.
I noticed this growing in quite a few places last summer, but I never seemed to get around to collecting any. This Christmas, I was making some batches of herbed bath salts for some postpartum ladies, and I realized that this would be the perfect thing to include, only I didn't have any! This is definitely on my list to gather for next year.
Similar to the above, this (kind of ugly) plant grows all over the place where I live, and it is supposed to be good when used in healing salves.
4. OREGON GRAPE
This was such a good find last year. A lady from my church gave me a tip and took me to the biggest patch of it. We were only there for about half an hour, but we gathered several kilograms. It made a seriously delicious jelly. I am hoping to go back for more next summer and make more things using its delectable, complex flavour.
These cheerful, humble flowers are so plentiful. All I have to do is step outside and I am greeted by all their smiling yellow faces. I made some syrup from their blossoms last year, and pesto from their leaves and those were both really delicious. I want to make more with them next spring, and also to learn to harvest and use their roots in the fall.
6. SPRUCE TIPS
These have the most incredible flavour, but for some reason I keep missing out on the season. This is the year!
7. ARROW LEAVED BALSAM ROOT
There is a time of the year when these flowers burst into flower all over the sunny hills near my home. I have no idea what to do with them, but I have read that all parts of the plant are edible. I am especially interested to try using the roots since I have heard they can be roasted, dried, and ground into a sort of coffee type drink. I am definitely NOT looking for a replacement for my beloved coffee, but it sounds interesting to try all the same!
8. WILD STRAWBERRIES
Last spring I found a patch of them in blossom, but I never made it back to gather any when they were ripe. This year I would like to (being respectful of the size of the patch and the fact that they are food for the local wildlife) come back and gather a few when they are ready for eating.
9. LEARN MORE
I want to educate myself more this year about what to go out looking for. I want to read more - online, but also in print - and find people who have knowledge to pass on. I am very interested in learning to forage mushrooms since I have heard that morels are in our area. I am cautious to do this on my own since you are risking quite a bit when you are foraging mushrooms, but if I find someone reputable is offering a course somewhere nearby I would be very interested in taking it!
Ok, these are not in my area, and that is why this is the last item on my list, but if anyone has a tip about where to find these (also called 'High Bush Cranberries') please let me know! They are so delicious!