Thoughts, Recipes & Experiences of a Forager Chef

It’s not especially easy to convince people to eat Wild foods. Their first thoughts go towards our childhood teaching of ‘Don’t touch & ESPECIALLY don’t consume’ because you’ll die. However, we must all remember that all cultivated foods had a wild start. Most of the foods I use are not easy to cultivate. Hence, the reason they are not in regular rotation at your local grocery store.

Wild Ginger – Asarum Canadense. A popular wild edible foraged by my students. Unlike the Asian counterpart, it is not hot and has natural wild yeasts just waiting to be fermented. The taste profile is sweet, acidic yet very floral. Pictured is an early Spring Wild Ginger. You don’t want to harvest until late Summer into Fall while you wait for the tubers to grow thick and hearty. Although, I truly love the early Spring fresh growth. If you’re lucky to see the early growth, it has what I can only describe as a metamorphoses. The leaves look like butterfly wings and as they spread apart to reveal the orchid like purple flower hidden below you start to realize this plant is something very special to behold. The fuzzy velvet legs on this plant in Spring remind me of puppies… but truth be told… you would have to look very closely at this plant to see both the velvet legs AND the flowers. So small are they and so well hidden. They are a favorite of mine to harvest for a couple of reasons. One being they are abundant where I live. So abundant that I harvest seeds, transplant the rhizome tuber and do all that I can to make sure this Native plant to our growing zone 5 will be proliferated wherever I hike. The Tubers, when ready to harvest, are small and can’t compete with it’s Asian counterpart.

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