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Tragopogon, Grass Rooting

20 Nov

During July I seen a large area of Tragopogon pratensis which seemed suitable for gathering this plant if I can recall the location for next spring, this post should help:) Often this plant grows very well along roads and railways, the type of places you (do not) want to gather food from. Occasionally T prantensis will also grow in grassy areas along brooks & rivers which can provide for some safe gatherings depending on what is upstream. So since I’m right here right now actually searching for another plant of course lets see if I can find some T pratensis plants amongst the grasses.

If you look at the green plant leaves to the left of the center of the photo you will see the most dominant plant here which is a grass I can’t identify and to the right of center is a Tragopogon with very similar looking leaves though they are more numerous and you can circle them with your hand and follow them back to root.

Usually my main edible interest in this plant are the early spring growth of stems and leaves, today well into November with the temperature near 0 C the greens are less appealing to me so I think it will be time to dig a little deeper and see what the late fall roots look like. The more numerous and larger leaves should point to the largest roots.

These roots were a lot easier to remove from the soil than I expected. Many of these roots the size of a medium carrot. The leaves still are edible and nutritious but are most tender towards the root.

These are one of the better tasting wild roots, as good as most garden vegetables. Like Jerusalem Artichoke and Burdock, Tragopogon pratensis is a member of the Asteraceae family and it also contains inulin in its roots so many may get windy after a good feed of them. Tragopogon pratensis roots boiled for 5 to 7 minutes are very tender, I added butter and a little lemon juice, salt and pepper, very good.

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Fall Foraging and Photos

13 Nov

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November in New Brunswick Canada can present you with some interesting wild food opportunities. Recently I revisited this field I gathered a variety of wild greens in during June and returned here for tubers and the hope of maybe some winter annual greens. In the photo’s bottom left corner we see a wild radish plant and the rest of the photo features mostly the brown remains of the mint family member Stachys palustris with a few straight beggars tick stems which I attempted to slalom around to avoid getting coated in seeds.

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Here we see what was just under the soil below the old Stachys palustris plants. Some fine tubers you can eat fresh or cooked or dried and powdered into flour.

 

Of the greens available it was by far the wild radish stealing the show.

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Most the new fall growth were on old mature blown down stems from summer. These greens were in suitable shape for cooking and drying with even a few plants with new pods and flower buds. Good chance if a warm spell appears in Dec there will be plenty of other mustard family members available for Maritime foragers to gather:)

Jack Pine Mushrooms

9 Oct

Here is a new edible for me, these Hawk wing mushroom are easy to ID to Sarcodon but a little tricky to nail down all the way. These in the above photo appear to be Sarcodon squamosus due to their large size with some caps in the surroundings being 20 to 25 cm across, also they were not bitter tasting and grew in Jack Pine, all factors to help with identification. These mushrooms tend to get mixed reviews as edibles so leave this one off your list unless you are very experienced with edible wild mushrooms. In the jack pine forest visually Hawk wing mushrooms are a very pleasant find.

Now these above Lyophyllum mushrooms are very interesting to me also and may actually be Lyophyllum shimeji which is a prized edible in Japan. Lyophyllum shimeji has been found in northern Europe and recently NFLD so this maybe more than just wishful thinking on my behalf as the sandy acid soil with plenty of lichen under jack pine trees fits the bill for Lyophyllum shimeji. It has been a very dry year for Moncton area mushrooms but even this type of year can produce some nice surprises.

Chokecherries

18 Aug

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Trying a few new food things with chokecherries which I’ll probably post on down the road. Here is a phone photo trailer for you which seems to nicely capture a forager’s view of this abundant wild Maritime fruit. Ciao

 

 

 

 

Amelanchier berries

5 Aug

 

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Adding this photo to my wild fruit page and should also say a few words as this is one of our most spectacular wild fruits when ripening. Sometimes there can be numerous trees with plenty of these white, red and purplish blue berries which are very showy. These Amelanchier berries are also quite tasty especially when cooked in pies, scones and muffins.

We have around 20 different varieties of Amelanchiers here, one with a miniature American football shape which I enjoy seeing and eating. Amelanchiers vary in size from a foot high plant to 25 foot trees. Amelanchier berries are not commonly gathered in the Maritimes though in the Prairie Provinces it is an old favorite which goes by the name of Saskatoon berries. Hope you folks get a chance to see this member of the rose family one day in all its glory in a moist thicket, you’ll be pleased.

Lowbush Blueberries

29 Jul

Super short post on a Maritime wild food favorite, low bush blueberries which tend to grow well in sandy acidic soils, usually dry ones.

Often around this time of the year wild mushrooms are my focus, but with a very dry July in my neck of the woods blueberries came through as a nice alternative which will be much appreciated this winter in many ways. Blueberries are great in desserts and are surprisingly attractive and tasty good in soups, casseroles, etc.

I claimed it was a super short post so I’ll end with the above photo which stirred the stream of thoughts of these lucky blueberries enjoying some lovely shade under a canopy of pleasant scented sweet fern, at a restful blueberry resort right here in New Brunswick 🙂

Leccinum piceinum

20 Jul

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Here are some photos from a few weeks ago when I gathered a bunch of Leccinum piceinum for drying. The safety in eating orange and red capped Leccinum has been in question for the last decade as a number of folks in NA have suffered GI distress after eating these mushroom fresh and possibly under-cooked but maybe well cooked as well? Supposedly no one has had any issues with the dried mushrooms which can be used in soups or cooked after rehydration. I suspect drying is the way to go if you have any interest in eating red or orange capped Leccinum mushrooms which are usually difficult to identify to specific name.

These mushrooms are real standouts in mossy spruce forest anywhere from late June till November when conditions are right in the Maritimes.

A look under the cap at the pore layer and loose tissue along the edge of the cap.

This is probably the easiest red/orange Leccinum to ID due to it growing in mossy spruce areas with no birch or poplar trees to complicate matters as there are several types of Leccinums growing under those hardwood trees.

Last look at quite a photogenic Maritime mushroom. ciao

 

 

Poplar Music

6 Feb

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Sharing something a tad unusual here, an experience from last weekend that I decided to video on my phone as I just walked in to hear the opening notes as some thin poplars were being de-glazed by the warming sun after an ice storm.

If you just watch this video on your computer you will see a bit of ice dropping and hear a lot of it hitting the ground below the trees which is kind of ho hum interesting but to closer see why I videoed this as it occurred it is best to put on some earphones which for some reason picks up reasonably well the background rumble the actual poplar trees were making which I’ll compared (to stir your interest) with the sound of a large pod of screaming whales.

So if you want to hear something really different, plunk on your earphones and listen to the sun prying the ice off the poplars. đź™‚

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Chaga Mushrooms 2017

7 Jan

A phone post on some of the chaga mushrooms I’m seeing in this new year and also other wintery sights of interest from our Maritime forests. The above photo reminds me of a hidden puzzle game or a piece of art you can’t stop staring at it. 

Ice pans or ice disc, first time I witness these around here. I’ve read they can on occasion be quite large, these little ones stayed spinning around this pool for sometime, made for a good rest spot after leaving the birch woods, this was a few days ago and below we get to zone in on how you can usually tell from several hundred feet if a chaga mushroom is a good size for gathering.


 If from afar you see a snow cap on a dark hump on a tree trunk in a hardwood forest with lots of birch in the mix then this calls for a closer look, real simple. Here we see one near the center right of above photo.


Ah, this chaga horn appears to be not too high up the tree. I can chop it at eye level, notice the smaller one close by.

Looking down hill into the valley and mountain across, this chaga harvesting is quite pleasant.

I’m surprised this photo is not more blurry as my out stretched arm was trembling from the weight while I was trying to hold and take this phone photo with the other hand. The pains I will go through to show off my 2017 chaga.

Anyway, now back home it is fresh chaga and matsutake, rosehip tea time. Cheers

Wild Roses Are Pretty Hip

29 Nov

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Going to add a few photos to my wild fruit page so I thought it would be a good time for a short post as well.

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Wild Rose hips are one of the most Vita rich foods we have on this planet and we have quite a few varieties growing wild right here in the Maritime provinces.

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Most of our native roses have rather small hips which turns out to be not a bad thing as you can eat the whole hip with seeds included which gives you plenty of Vit C and Vit E and much more in this healing food. Word of caution though, some may find the seeds hard on their teeth.

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If you do not want to eat them raw there are plenty of recipes, teas, soups, jellies etc available on the net.

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I should also mention our native wild roses are a healthy food you can gather the entire Fall season and even well into the winter. Even if you don’t want to eat them, I hope you enjoyed seeing them and will take note of their brightness this Fall and Winter on your travels. ciao