Tag Archives: wild edibles

Not all they’re cracked up to be

30 Jun

The folks on my street should back me up on this one, I do not mow the lawn very often, but today I gave it a whirl. What my neighbors don’t know and I hope you’ll keep my secret is, I avoided cutting the so-called weeds in the sidewalk cracks.

This is a bit of an eye test so you may choose to click on to enlarge the photos, but in this one shot we have from left to right (1) yellow wood sorrel, (2) dandelion greens, (3)  plantain, (4) pineapple weed and (5) sheperd’s purse, so a nice group of edible and medicinal plants which I won’t recommend you using from a site this close to a street, but these are potential collecting locations for seeds to be grown inside or in gardens or wild gardens.

Here are the same plants from a different angle. Sidewalks and gravelly train tracks have been generous providers of plant seeds from plants that are rare this far north such as milkweed and purslane. So I think I’ll collect some yellow sorrel and pineapple weed from a patch I have at the edge of my garden, which I didn’t mow today as well and try them combined in an ice tea as it’s 90 plus here. Wishing you a very weedy weekend. ciao

Western goatsbeard has rolled into these parts

16 Jun

Actual my intend was to see if any wild oyster mushrooms had appeared on the aspen trees in my area, but the wild oyster plant relative western goatsbeard stole the show instead.

Western yellow goatsbeard appears quite common along the main railway line heading north through eastern New Brunswick, farther east in Nova Scotia I haven’t noticed this plant yet.

In this photo we have a western goatsbeard in the early stage of seed ripening along with the common eastern variety of yellow goatsbeard on either side. There are a few differences including the western Tragopogon dubius has much larger carrot-like roots, swollen stem just below the flowers and less purple coloring, longer green bracts than the yellow florets, longer seeds, so it will be interesting to taste the differences as well. I suspect it will be eastern Tragopogon pratensis for the spring shoots and western Tragopogon dubius for its salsify-like roots in the fall or spring. I’ ve collected both types of Tragopogon’s seeds today and will ripen the seeds a bit before sprinkling them in a less polluted area. I’ll keep an eye out for any other stragglers heading this way. ciao

Lost brook cave

10 Jun

This was my first trip to the Lost brook valley which features some gypsum and limestone caves where many thousands of bats hibernate for the winter, unfortunately some campers a few miles from the caves mentioned possibly all the bats died inside the different caves this year due to the white-nose fungus. So I followed a path as the campers directed and took a few photos near one of the caves. When I returned home I checked for info on the white-nose fungus and the campers were quite accurate in their figures as researchers did say 100% death rate in the caves was their estimate, normally around 6,000 bats enter the caves and the fungus was initially detected in this area 2 years ago.

This area has some plants species which are rare south of the arctic though today I will just show a few common ones to most rivers of the maritime provinces in Canada.

The second year stage of evening primrose, (Oenothera biennis), a fine medicinal and edible plant. This healthy one in the photo could easily reach 7 feet high near the end of summer.

I have not gathered or used this plant before, Purple avens (Geum rivale) though I may try it this year as its roots when boiled are supposed to have a flavor similar to hot chocolate once sugar and milk are added.

The light green leaves in the center of the picture are Orpine (Sedum telephium) which soon I will do a whole post on, as this plant I suspect will be of interest to some of you.

Good old Yellow goatsbeard, has these petals hauled in like a rain hat, I must admit I could have made good use of one today as well. rain for now

Under the pines and aspens

27 May

Here is a look at a fully ripe teaberry, (Gaultheria procumbens) these little treats have a wintergreen flavor, but if your allergic to aspirin you’ll be unable to eat these safely. With the aid of a white pine cone I was able to display the expanded fruit’s interesting shape which naturally faces down. Click on to check it out.

Lady’s slipper (Cyrpripedium acaule) are real common in many of the maritime forest types and this one is no exception.

A close-up

Bunchberry appears to only have one flower though each little section in the central part could produce a red berry, so this one may have a dozen berries in a few months. This forest plant is very common here.               Enjoy the common things,—- when——now, ciao.

The (yellow goatsbeard) is always greener, naturally

15 May

Usually if you find one yellow goatsbeard, there will probably be hundreds to thousands close by. The trick is to return to an area where you have noticed they were blooming in the previous summer or fall.

This photo here highlights the issue, yellow goatsbeard is all but indistinguishable from many of the meadow grasses, so walk slowly and only look a few feet in front or to the sides and often there will be a joyous realization you have entered a place where the grass is never greener or tastier. 

Enjoy your gatherings as this must be one of the easiest wild edible plants to collect as it is very similar to being in a very pleasant garden, where you are relaxed in a gentle focus.

Here we see the brown latex yellow goatsbeard releases when cut, it has a mild bitterness which is pleasant if tasted raw. I cut the white sections of these plants shown here which measures around 3 inches and steamed them and simply ate these with butter, salt & pepper. I’m somewhat surprised Tragopogon pratensis & also T dubius are not already commerical crops. I suspect it is a shelf life issue as these are comparable to the best items in any vegetable market I’ve been to. If may also be the fact this relative of Salsify has a smaller root than the famous European plant, thought the secret to yellow goatsbeard are the parts above the roots, so for now lets enjoy this wild one.

The remaining upper leaves can be cut into small pieces and added to salads or you could do as we did today and make a (cream of yellow goatsbeard) which is even tastier than it sounds. Enjoy these common gifts presented naturally to you. chow for now

A family resemblance

4 May

I’m in my driveway and over against the apartment building 15 feet away is one of my favorite wild edible plants standing taller and nestled amongst another very wholesome edible and medicinal plant. (Yellow goatsbeard with some Dandelions) Since the location they are appearing in is one from which I have no interest in gathering from I thought it best to at least get a few photos to share with you before my neighbour clips these plants. If you’re a person who enjoys gathering wild food it is a valuable asset to know your plants in all their stages of development, as often you will find unexpected plants while searching for other plants and mushrooms and may choose to gather some seeds or roots for introducing in other locations.

Yellow goatsbeard (Tragopogon pratensis) is also very similar to the vegetable Salsify and although the roots are alike I personally prefer to eat only the early shoots leaving the roots to produce another stem which will also produce flowers and seeds  during the early fall. Below is a photo of one from a harvestable area and in good condition for eating. So now you can see this plant in 2 different stages the shoot stage (below) and the flowering stage advanced by the sunny apartment foundation (above).

The taste of Yellow goatsbeard either raw or cooked is very mild, something like green beans. There are many other possible ways to enjoy eating this lovely plant, which in my area is common along river meadows and in semi tall grassy places and I’ve noticed they tend to grow along the edge of blueberry fields and roads, of course don’t collect in areas where you suspect potential toxins. Beyond eating the shoots you could sprout the seeds, roast the roots for coffee, cook the roots like (Salsify also known as Oyster plant), eat the flowers and cut up leaves in salads and they along with being tasty are also nutritious like their little brother Dandelion.

Last photo is of young caraway greens, I usually dry my caraway seeds I collect from the wild in my shed so now I have plenty of caraway plants surrounding my indicator garden  and they made their way over just a few feet from the yellow goatsbeard plants in this post, all kinds of goodies around. ciao

Northern fly honeysuckle coming out of its shell

3 May

Now is the best time to notice northern fly honeysuckle (Lonicera villosa) in the northern states of the USA and in southern Canada, it starts to bloom even before the amelanchiers (juneberries) in my area and is difficult to locate by the end of the month when the surrounding plants are also covered in leaves.

I will be returning to take more photos of these plants in a short time as they will be covered with  bees and I am interested to see which types of wild bees will be present for this early feast of blossoms.

Northern fly honeysuckle (Lonicera villosa & caerulea) has been developed into a  commercial crop in some parts of Asia, especially so in Japan and there are a few growers in North America as well, the berries are usually marketed as (Haskap or Honeyberries) which taste like a cross between raspberries and blueberries and are much larger than the wild varieties. Hopefully at some point you will have a chance to try Haskap or the wild fly honeysuckle as when fully ripe they have an excellent flavour and boost impressive nutritional figures. Also I should mention a few other varieties of honeysuckle blossoms are added to salads or added to teas and they are sometimes dried and used for cough relief and for asthma.

The last photo is what I suspect is a ring-necked pheasant egg and it inspired  the title of the post. This egg was laying a few feet from the fly honeysuckle bushes on the opposite side of the egg the shell was broken and dry so it appears a chick had recently emerged. The egg was approximately 2 inches long by 1 and a half inches width, similar to a small hen egg, if your familiar with wild bird eggs do you have another suggestion on what type of egg this could be? ciao for now