Wild Edibles Identification Guide

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by gillis » Wed May 19, 2010 12:56 am

Blast wrote: ...removed to save space....
-Blast
Thanks Blast! I will update this when I hear back from the experts at Dave's Garden. Pretty unreal how much chokecherry I found. and mmmmm nettle with Sardines is a real delight.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by M°87 » Thu May 27, 2010 5:51 am

I love fiddlehead soup! We still pick them every season.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:26 pm

Wild Strawberry.

Wild strawberries are an easy to identify edible as nearly everyone is familiar strawberries from the market. I usually find these on the margins of fields, sides of roads or trails and in other open areas that aren’t overly shaded. Often they will grow in a patch though rarely do I encounter large patches within my AO.

A small strawberry patch found on the side of a trail.

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They grow on the ground with green leaves in groups of three.

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There are a few differences between wild growing strawberries and those found in the market. Often fruits and vegetables grown on the farm are selected for size, color, harvesting/market durability and flavor. They employ fertilizers, chemical insecticides and selectively breed plants. Even Organic alternatives are grown to promote positive market characteristics. In short many wild edibles are much smaller than market produce. Strawberries turn from greenish to red as they ripen.

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However wild strawberries share the same basic color, shape, favor and external seed structures as those in your kitchen.

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Strawberries bloom in early spring. The white flowers stand out and helps me to locate a patch for later foraging.

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Within my AO these are a late Spring/early Summer wild edible that tastes great. Naturally not everything red growing near the ground is a strawberry so if yea don’t know it’s best to error on the side of caution and seek expert advice in the field.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by gillis » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:54 pm

Check it out Blast.. as a direct result of you recommending Sam Thayer's book to me I was able to successfully identify and harvest the following.. ;)

Please do not eat anything you are not 100% sure of. Please do your own research

Here is some wild Stinging Nettle I found in the canyons on a camping trip. Boiled the leaves for about 10 minutes... tasted great.

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Jaguar Kill - Yes they are in the US... google it. Saw it
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What not to pick when looking for wild edibles - Poison Ivy
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Testing my Katadyn Pro Hiker 2 miles into the canyons (spring)
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Young Yucca Stalks - Tasted great.
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Salsify - yum
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Rumex - Curly dock
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Wild Riverside Grapes
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Chokecherry or Poke Berry??? PokeBerry is poisonus!!
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Veritas » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:33 am

Not much, but I am pretty sure I got the id correct, used my wild edibles book, fairly certain I can confirm it via Blast's website:

Shepherd's Purse:
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Did not taste good though. I collected it in April so it shouldn't have been too old. Anybody else tried it? Sorry, no pics in situ, my camera died and I had to wait until I got back to take the pics.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Jamie » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:35 am

I'm gearing up for a wild edibles camping trip in the near future...plants and fish/mussels and maybe some squirrel...

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by riverjoe47 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:37 am

nfa wrote:I'm gearing up for a wild edibles camping trip in the near future...plants and fish/mussels and maybe some squirrel...

jamie

My son and I used to do that a lot . Usually in a canoe . Those big clams in the river looked like they ought to be pretty good but I never met any one who tried them . We mostly stuck with smallmouth ,rockbass and some easily identifiable funghi Clavicorona which taste a lot like Morels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clavicorona_pyxidata" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , chicken of the woods etc . We did try Staghorn Sumac tea one time which required a lot of staghorn without a lot of payback . Usually went in the fall when skeeters slowed down. Did cook a squirrel on a spit one time which although tastey was one tough mother .( reccomend you hump a pressure cooker into woods )
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Jamie » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:51 am

riverjoe47 wrote:
nfa wrote:I'm gearing up for a wild edibles camping trip in the near future...plants and fish/mussels and maybe some squirrel...

jamie

My son and I used to do that a lot . Usually in a canoe . Those big clams in the river looked like they ought to be pretty good but I never met any one who tried them . We mostly stuck with smallmouth ,rockbass and some easily identifiable funghi Clavicorona , chicken of the woods etc . We did try Staghorn Sumac tea one time which required a lot of staghorn without a lot of payback . Usually went in the fall when skeeters slowed down. Did cook a squirrel on a spit one time which although tastey was one tough mother .
A friend of mine promised that they were edible one time when we were camping, and nobody died...they're pretty rubbery, but if you cook them with enough butter and beer and garlic then they taste a little bit like rubbery beer/butter/garlic... :wink:

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Wild Tea's

Post by aa1pr » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:43 am

Wild Tea’s

** If there is one thing I must convey here is that if you are unsure of what you are touching or going to consume DO NOT** get the correct books or do the research before you venture out. As in most cases a very small nibble or portion could/can kill you. **

Pineapple weed is another one of those wild edibles we walk all over and consider a weed. These are found in the cracks of sidewalk, abandoned fields or most any where in very poor soil conditions where it is sunny. The flowering heads almost look like tiny pineapples and the leaves are very fine almost fern like. I leave the roots there and cut this plant right off above ground when harvesting.
You can gather up the leaves, flowers and stems and boil in water for a nice tea that helps to relieve an upset stomach or even insomnia for those unrest full nights.
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Wild spearmint [center of photo] in moist areas by lakes, rivers and streams. The smell is very distinct as when I found these you could smell it in the air. It has the distinct pattern of two alternating leaves each 90 degree from the one above or below them. The leaves themselves are sort of what is called lance shaped. I have seen the leaves with a smooth edge and those with a jagged edge. The vein pattern is pronounced when located I feel.
Again I boil or steep these in water with some of my other wild edibles for an added hint of flavor.
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Wild Clover flowering heads I feel are one of the easy wild edibles to identify. They grow in open fields and meadows and almost any place where grass can be found.
Gather up about a cup worth and let these steep in the hot boiling water for say ten minutes and you have a delicious tea. Or you can eat the flowering heads as they are.
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I gathered all of these within a 100 foot radius along the shores of Lake Champlain.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:09 am

There are a lot of books on edible plants available on Amazon. Which one would you recommend?

Here are some that I am looking into, but not limited to:
The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
4.5 stars
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A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)
4 stars
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The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants
4 stars
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Stalking The Wild Asparagus [Deluxe Edition] [Paperback]
4.5 stars
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by gillis » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:23 pm

CipherNameRaVeN wrote:There are a lot of books on edible plants available on Amazon. Which one would you recommend?

Here are some that I am looking into, but not limited to:
The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
4.5 stars
Image

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)
4 stars
Image

The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants
4 stars
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Stalking The Wild Asparagus [Deluxe Edition] [Paperback]
4.5 stars
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The Forager's Harvest - hands down, second to NONE! His second book is good too. Nature's Garden.. I recomend The Forager's Harvest paired with Natures garden. Sam just takes it to a level no one else does and he stands behind his knowledge... he is not just copying other people's work.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by NoAm » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:14 pm

This post has been WONDERFUL! We have so many different things that we find on our "Explores" but so many of them we have NO idea about. This has inspired me to figure it out, we may need it one day.
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Wild Edible Thistle

Post by aa1pr » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:41 pm

Thistles.


** If there is one thing I must convey here is that if you are unsure of what you are touching or going to consume DO NOT ** get the correct books or do the research before you venture out. As in most cases a very small nibble or portion could/can kill you. **


Here I have the thistle laid out on a rock so hopefully you can get a better look of it.
Thistles can be found in areas with disturbed soils. Along road sides (be careful of pesticides or vehicle waste) and are another plant that came from Europe and is now considered a weed. It has very pronounced leaves with spikes along the edges. It has a flowering bulb on the top of the plant that is usually red and that even has thorn like projections on it.
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Here my son started to scrape off the outer sheath of the thistle and you can either consume the bottom portion of the stalk or the top. I prefer the top of these as they seem to taste better and are softer. You remove the spines from the stem. You can either boil them or eat raw as they are. Not one of my favorites …but will sustain you. The first year growths you can boil the stems and consume those.
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**The only known look a like is horse nettle so please be sure!**

So hopefully this gives us one more to add to the books.

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Wild Edible Milkweed

Post by aa1pr » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:29 pm

Milkweed

** If there is one thing I must convey here is that if you are unsure of what you are touching or going to consume DO NOT ** get the correct books or do the research before you venture out. As in most cases a very small nibble or portion could/can kill you. **

**There are several poisonous look-a-likes for example Dogbane** Remember Milkweed does not have branches like the deadly ones.**

Hopefully we all know what it looks like but if not or just in case here is an example.
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Milk weed leafy tops I gathered along the trail today.
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Next I wash off all the leaves and separate them from the little bit of stalk/stem that remains.
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I read that these need to be brought to a boil and the water changed for three times even though I prefer four.
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These are so tasty and tender.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:30 am

In your first post, regarding fiddleheads, you wrote "It is also recommended that you: “When cooking fiddleheads, first remove all the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boiling’s. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.” According to the USDA". I've seen fiddleheads listed as edible in many references, but it's still on my "get to it one day" list, so I haven't tried them myself yet. But I'm wondering, if we're boiling these to remove tannins and toxins (especially the toxins part), why are we eating them? How high a toxin level are we talking here? If I recall properly, bitterness is often caused by the presence of tannins, and the bitterness can be used to roughly rate the level- can you confirm this for me, or correct me if I'm wrong, please?
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by aa1pr » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:34 am

KnightoftheRoc wrote:In your first post, regarding fiddleheads, you wrote "It is also recommended that you: “When cooking fiddleheads, first remove all the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boiling’s. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.” According to the USDA". I've seen fiddleheads listed as edible in many references, but it's still on my "get to it one day" list, so I haven't tried them myself yet. But I'm wondering, if we're boiling these to remove tannins and toxins (especially the toxins part), why are we eating them? How high a toxin level are we talking here? If I recall properly, bitterness is often caused by the presence of tannins, and the bitterness can be used to roughly rate the level- can you confirm this for me, or correct me if I'm wrong, please?
Awesome thread, wish I'd found it sooner- THIS is the stuff I'm here to learn!
I cannot find that link I was referencing in regards to the toxins. Raw I can only tolerate a few every so often.

This is not my thread but was lucky enough to be chosen and have Woodswalker use mine for an opening post. since I have the time I have been trying to add to this thread just as anyone can. This is one thing we can all learn from each other just as Dannyskillz, WW and others posts I have learned from.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:28 pm

aa1pr wrote:
KnightoftheRoc wrote:In your first post, regarding fiddleheads, you wrote "It is also recommended that you: “When cooking fiddleheads, first remove all the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boiling’s. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.” According to the USDA". I've seen fiddleheads listed as edible in many references, but it's still on my "get to it one day" list, so I haven't tried them myself yet. But I'm wondering, if we're boiling these to remove tannins and toxins (especially the toxins part), why are we eating them? How high a toxin level are we talking here? If I recall properly, bitterness is often caused by the presence of tannins, and the bitterness can be used to roughly rate the level- can you confirm this for me, or correct me if I'm wrong, please?
Awesome thread, wish I'd found it sooner- THIS is the stuff I'm here to learn!
I cannot find that link I was referencing in regards to the toxins. Raw I can only tolerate a few every so often.

This is not my thread but was lucky enough to be chosen and have Woodswalker use mine for an opening post. since I have the time I have been trying to add to this thread just as anyone can. This is one thing we can all learn from each other just as Dannyskillz, WW and others posts I have learned from.
Leaching out tannins is a perfectly acceptable preparation step for some wild edibles. Fiddleheads are one of the more palatable wild edible options available though regrettably they are now past season.

The rule of thumb for this topic is if uncertain to any degree don't eat it.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by riverjoe47 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:53 pm

Basswood that most useful of trees . Also known as Linden in some parts . A mild faintly limey tea is made from the flowers and what looks like a leaf attached to flowers with a stem growing down the middle .
Pick flowers and dry for a few days and use just like tea .
Good for sweating out a cold .
Also the huge soft leaves can be used instead of paper products . Lots of times in an emergency Basswood came to the rescue when I really really needed paper if you know what I mean .
The bark is only matched by the slippery elm in its usefulness . Makes a really strong flexible cord which can be tied into knots . Here I show it holding one of my most prized possessions .
My source for these photos is a group of "suckers" that have grown out of the stump of an old Basswood that had been logged out . Most people probabley won't mind if you use those ,but it would be a good idea to check with owner before you harvest any bark .
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:12 pm

Wild blueberries.

These are another easy to identify wild edible but be warned that not everything blue is good to eat. Once again if there are any questions whatsoever as to the identity don’t eat it. Miss identifications of any wild edible can have fatal consequences.

Wild blueberries are often referred to as huckleberries but differ in a few ways. Within my AO blueberries ripen earlier in the season. They have numerous very small seeds unlike huckleberries which have fewer larger seeds usually around 10. The lower bush/shrub berries are often found at higher elevations. It’s not uncommon to find huckleberries within the same area. Blueberries like an open area that has the proper amount of light and other factors which are to their liking.

Blueberries turn from green to blue as they ripen. They have a white haze almost as if someone tossed some talcum powder on them. On the top there are very small growths in a circular pattern. The berries come in various sizes nearly equaling those found in the market to much smaller.

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Wild blueberries grow in a patch and these patches can cover a good area if the habitat is suitable. If you find one patch there could be others around. However sometimes they can be found in smaller numbers of just a few bushes. The lower growth bushes are often less than 2 feet high.

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When in season it doesn’t take long to collect a good number.

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If yea like blueberries from the market these will be a big hit. They taste great and good for you too.

High growth blueberry bushes in spring bloom.

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Low growth doing the same thing.

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Blueberries and huckleberries have bell shaped flowers.

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High growth Blueberries on the bush.

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Blueberry issues.

Bears feed on both blueberries and huckleberries so one might imagine these areas would be a draw to them. I have never had a conflict of any kind when gathering blueberries but the possibility is still on my mind. On the flip side a good berry crop may equal well fed bears which could be less likely to come sniffing around my camp. This is all bush speculation on my part so take anything I am saying about bears and berries with a grain of salt.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Nailz » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:34 am

What a great thread!!! Thank you all and I've placed my order for The Forager's Harvest. Hopefully this can help me get my foo foo wife out in those darn woods! If not, me and the boy (turning 5) will have all the fun. Thanks and keep it up!!
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:24 am

Wild Berry Hike.

I set off today with the intent of finding as many edible wild berry species as possible. Covered about 5 miles of trail and even did some bushwhacking but paid for that with a tick bite. My targets were the following.

1. Black Raspberries.
2. Red Raspberries.
3. Huckleberries.
4. Low growing Blueberries.
5. Grapes.
6. Strawberries.
7. Blackberries.

Foraging is a hit or miss proposition, something that is often overlooked by those unfamiliar with gathering. You're subject to weather, geography, seasons and competition from other critters. So let’s see how this panned out.

1. Black Raspberries.

I found none on this outing despite knowledge of favorable growing conditions. Perhaps these are past season in the area but didn’t even find any bushes. Oh well.

2. Red Raspberries these are Wineberries

This was an easy score as they were growing on the edge of the parking area. Margins of fields and other open areas seem to their liking. Also nearby there was the only stream that still had flowing water and perhaps with was a factor as well. I wolfed down more than my share.

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3. Huckleberries.

I had high hope for these but am forced to put this into the fail category. What could be found looked more like dried up raisins and the berry photos don’t even warrant posting. Found these bushes (larger green patch in the center of photo) at higher elevations which is often more suitable to them. Darn shame the lack of rain was against me. I will go more into these when I find some better bushes.

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4. Low growing Blueberries.

The blueberries growing in bit of shade seemed to handle the drought better than the huckleberries. I found bushes however those exposed to the full force of the sun were cooked. It was a plant by plant search out.

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These berries aren’t the larger ones I found a few weeks ago in Mass but basically the same thing. Tasted great! If the area had more rain there would have been better pickings.

5. Grapes.

I knew it was early in the season and sure enough they were green. Found these growing over some blackberries supported by a shrub. I didn’t count the leaves as an edible because this was a berry hunt.

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6. Strawberries.

It was totally hopeless. I think the season is moving on and with the record dry hot weather found nothing. Heck not even a patch though without the red berries they can be hard to find mixed in with other low growing plants.

7. Blackberries.

I scored big time. Some of them were dried out but the majority simply rocked. I found these in a clearing under power lines. Glad I had my boonie hat and passing clouds to keep the sun off my head.

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In the end I found 3 of my target species that were worthy of consumption. I could have eaten the Huckleberries despite being partly dried up but didn't. Most of these wild edibles have been discussed before but my point being that foraging is hit or miss. When or if an edible is found I wouldn’t depend on more resources over the next hill so to speak. Fill up a container or two just in case. On the topic of consumption I was grazing as I went. This works very well for those edibles that can be eaten raw. Calories and moisture now rather than later has its merits as well.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Tireur » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:44 am

Wow a bushcraft section! If I ever get a new camera I'll throw a bunch of things in here, but just to correct a few things even though the season is over...

Fiddleheads -- I love them, sweet tender little forest sprouts that also like to grow next to trout streams. Very handy that. Just to correct the OP, I believe the reason yours are bitter are because those are NOT fiddleheads. There's hundreds of different fern species and most look a lot alike. Proper fiddleheads only come from one species, the Ostrich Fern. To ID is easy once you know a few key things, they grow from common central knobs and their hair less stem has a strong "U" channel. Ferns that have hair, leaves or round stems are NOT Ostrich Ferns and give you varying degrees of food poisoning at best and are fairly carcinogenic at worst.

OP pic:

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Those stems don't look thick enough and are too round to be Ostrich Ferns. Here's what they SHOULD look like, no hair, thick stems with a very strong "U" shape.

Central knob:
Image

Ripe Fiddleheads, note the "U" shape stem:
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Just to add my personal favourite...even though wild leeks with their shallot flavour goes great with fresh caught fish and nobody can resist wild blueberries thrown into their breakfast there is nothing in the woods with the musky pungent awesomeness that are morel mushrooms. Practically impossible to cultivate and only in season a short time they are North America's truffle. They are also the easiest mushroom to ID, a cap that looks brain-like with deep vermiculations and a HOLLOW stem. The only thing close are False Morels, though their caps are smoother and have solid stems. Deep wrinkles in the cap and a HOLLOW stem you have a morel. Guard their location well, the most valuable mushroom next to truffles have seen gangs of commercial pickers get into knife fights in the woods up here over particular patches.

My haul from last spring, they also like the same deciduous woodland river gulleys as fiddleheads. So a feast of spring run steelhead, fiddlehead risotto and sauteed morels is an annual tradition in my house.

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Last edited by Tireur on Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tireur
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Tireur » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:50 am

Here's a quick vid on fiddlehead ID, as well as sustainability.

http://extension.umaine.edu/videos/fidd ... /index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As for toxicity...they're not mushrooms, you're not going to die from eating the wrong fern. But they do have a toxic agent in them that has yet to be identified or understood, it won't kill you but will make you feel ill. There are plenty of foods out there that need various agents neutralized before they can be consumed, i.e. rhubarb & cashews can kill you if eaten raw.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by aa1pr » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:32 pm

I stand corrected in my hastly error, thank you

this is how we all learn.

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