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JennyC
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Thanks, Douglas. I can see you've spent a lot of time thinking about this!

Down here, I think it might be possible to meet the needs for oil and protein with nuts -- our native black walnuts are very oily, and there's always some oil to be had from the hickorynuts and pecans. Animal options are varied, but there are squirrels, deer, possum, rabbit, etc, not to mention freshwater fish. I actually don't know if our wild turkeys are native to this area or not, but there are a lot of them.

We have cattail native here, and I think groundnuts (same as your wild potato, isn't it?), though I haven't located any nearby. What we have in abundance is wild carrot, though I don't really think of that as a starch. Oh, and daylily tubers, also in abundance.

There's also the advantage of a much shorter, milder winter to contend with! I might well be able to "store" my root vegetables by leaving them in the ground (assuming they don't rot). The ground will be hard frozen some days, but not most, even in winter. I fully intend to try this with some of my (non native) potatoes this winter.
Jenny C

koonaone
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Location: Lillooet - HighBar - Cariboo, BC - Bioregions of Corrdilera

JennyC, I envy you having nuts readily available in your neighbourhood. From where I live it is a 60 or 80 mile trip to the Marble range mountains, plus a two or three thousand foot climb to find White bark pine Pinus albicaulis nuts. they are much like pinyon nuts, maybe better. Unfortunately to remove them from the cones is a major chore involving fire and good timing. Finding them in quantity before the Clarks Nutcrackers, squirrels and grizzlies stash them away is problematic as well.
Our wild potatoes are Claytonia lanceolata (probably var ) multiscapa one of the purslane group. They truly are like a small rich potatoe and will grow well at lower elevations but as the foliage vanishes very early when the plant goes dormant they are hard not to lose in a normal garden, I kept some going for 4 years once. I suspect those golf ball sized individuals I mentioned are several years old to be that big. There is probably a species down your way, as the Claytonia derives from a Mr Clayton, a Botanist in late 15th century Virginia.

I haven't visited your part of the usa but my son now lives in S caralana and has produced a grandchild so that may be remedied in the future.

I believe some people try ground nuts in their gardens up here but it's not native and I understand it's iffy

I think the nutritional quality of native plant foods is invariably better than most domesticated plants but I would have to think it would take considerably more land to grow an equal quantity of them.
Cattails are an exception if you have the mineral soil based wetland but they sure are a lot of work to harvest in the fall. At least the mosquitoes are frozen off by then though. I would rather dig clams, or trap geese.

Are you solitary in your stalking the wild whatever or is there a group involved? If it is solitary then i have to ask repectfully, whatever possesed you to begin the endeavor?
douglas

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

TheLorax
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I have problems enough beating the critters to the wild strawberries around here. I'm afraid I'd probably lose a considerable amount of weight if I was forced to play survivor woman up in your neck of the woods.

opabinia51
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When I lived up island, it was a short bike ride into the forest via the logging roads where I would find: Salal, hucklberries (the size of a small grape!), 4 varieties of wild raspberry and 3 varieties of blackberries. Slimmer pickings down on the Southern Island but, still good.

But, yes there are tonnes of native fruits and vegetables in North America. I went to a native plant sale this spring and there were the above listed berries, saskatoon berries, crab apples (I really like crab apples and even though they are native to the coast have yet to find a tree in the wild. The search continues.) There are all sorts of edible flowers out there and I am currently writing an article on that topic for the site.

But, a lot of stone crop flowers are edible, you can eat cow parsnip but, it has to be prepared so don't go out and harvest and take it right to the table. Giant and common camus are edible but, DO NOT eat the white variety known as death camus. You can understand why from the name. Incidentally, death camus is the one flower that 100% for sure, deer won't eat.

Pansies aren't native (to my knowledge) but, they are edible.

Every part of a dandelion is edible except the stem. Really nice too. Well, when the plants are young. They get bitter once they are old.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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JennyC
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Opabinia: I'll look forward to that article!

TheLorax: Maybe foraging is an even better diet secret than the tomato-leaf diet you guys were joking about over in the tomato forum. :wink:

Douglas: The forging is a new thing (well, new/old -- more on that in a minute) for me, really started by this conversation here. So, yes, I'm solo, and I haven't gone off this farm with it except for one big patch of dayliles along a dirt road on the way back from a workshop last weekend.

I really like the idea, and there's so much right here where I am -- all the nut trees I mentioned are on the farm, there's an old crabapple, field greens are plentiful, blackberries (the best bushes are in a neighbor's field -- I owe him a cobbler), wild roses (blossoms and hips), amaranth (whether I want it or not -- you should see my garden!) -- you get the idea. Curly dock, which it seems horses won't eat. Cattails down by the stream.

My husband and I put a lot into relocating here from the city (saved up, left good jobs we loved, etc) and I want to make the most of it. It's wonderful so far, almost a year in, and I feel like I'm just beginning to appreciate everything that's here. I haven't quite seen it through a full turn of the seasons yet, and the drought was so extreme last year that I haven't seen anything like a "normal" fall, anyway.

And foraging isn't a totally new idea to me. My parents taught me a lot of the edible plants growing up, and we ate them on many occasions. We'd have eaten more poke salat if my father had had his way, I imagine, but my mother's not as fond of greens as he is. So I come to it without the prejudice against "stuff that just grows" that many urban/suburban dwellers have.

I'd like to meet others with similar interests near me, and one of the organizers of the workshop last week mentioned someone I should talk to. I also have a friend who's an herbalist about twenty miles away. So it looks like I can make more contacts, which is good -- I'm not great at recognizing new plants from pictures, so I've been sticking mostly to ones I already knew. My mother taught me yellow sorrel as a toddler. I remember gathering hickory nuts with my father. The pecan I don't remember from my parents, but they'll take away your Southerner membership card in Georgia or Alabama if you can't recognize a pecan tree!

Anyway, that's what possessed me. :)
Jenny C

koonaone
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Jenny

I think you picked a good time, in a historic sense, to make that move and I doubt you will every really regret it. Foraging and learning it's intricacies is a timeless thing that anyone who is actualy of a place does as a qualification of membership. You can always tell the real natives (rural), they might not go out of their way to harvest wild food any more, but they will surely know where to find it. Besides, it is one of those combined physical, spiritual, and intellectual pursuits that builds substance as you go yet never finishes. Always something new to learn.

I'm approaching my geezerhoodness rapidly, and am quite happy transferring past decades of rambling the mountains, plains, and tundra; hmmm jungles, deserts, oceans, into creating a garden of forage-ables. So, I'm still at it.

By your descriptions, you live in a foragers promised land, good luck and good foraging

douglas

opabinia51
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I forgot to mention Highbush cranberry, saskatoon berry (I had the best saskatoon berry pie at the native plant sale!), burdock and the list goes on and on and on. Whole books are written on the topic. Check out your local library.

Look for tittles like there:

The Forager Harvester


Edible Wild Plants


Edible Plants of the Rocky Mountains
Feed the soil, not the plants.

TheLorax
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Comment- Burdock is not native. It has naturalized over most of our continent but it's anything but native.
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARCTI
It's in the league of noxious weed and invasive species.

Similar deal with the edible Amaranth, (Amaranthus tricolor) and a few other naturalized species. They've been around so long many people assume they are native species.

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JennyC
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Sorry, TheLorax. I know you're right about the amaranth (middle eastern originally, right)? But I think there will be no eradicating that one, or even really controlling it other than in isolated patches. So make a virtue of necessity?
Jenny C

TheLorax
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No easy answer to that one. I've successfully eradicated two species of burdock from my property but I do have to be on the look out for new comers. Like my friend ChemicalFree always says, one weed at a time. Miss an entire patch, no biggie... it'll be there waiting for us next year.

You know, if you're going to remove them why not eat them? The roots are supposedly very tasty and I bet they could be prepared similar to the way Jerusalem Artichoke roots are prepared. Supposedly the leaves can be tossed in salads. Next time I miss one that gets a chance to mature, I'm going to try to locate a recipe online. When life gives lemons, make lemonade and all.

They're definitely indigenous to Europe but some are also indigenous to Africa while others are additionally indigenous to Asia.

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JennyC
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I just looked up a picture of burdock (in All About Weeds by Edwin Rolling Spencer), and I have not seen that around here. Given its size, I think I would have noticed it, but then, I did miss a 30-40 foot apple tree!

I'm a big fan of making lemonade. Hence the cultivated half a bed of yellow sorrel in my garden -- silly me, I thought that was going to be onions! And it's one reason I take such pleasure in eating greenbriers, though I can't see myself going far enough as to cultivate them.
Jenny C

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Rose White
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organic dairy products

JennyC wrote:Hi, aqh88. I've been reseaching the edible wild plants around here, and we've been eating a fair amount this week. Greenbrier (some species make poky, scratchy parts on smaller plants than others!) and tons of wild strawberries around here now, plus yellow sorrel for flavor. Young violet leaves are good in salads. My radishes have bolted in the heat, so we've been eating the greens and what tiny roots I get (spicy doesn't bother me, my husband even less). I intend to try boiled clover; it's supposed to be a good protien source. Not native, but I have southernpeas and lima beans in the garden, and I'll grow soybeans this fall.

I've been vegan, but I was a teenager and not interested enough in cooking to keep myself healthy; I added back the dairy products after some alarming weight loss. Now I could probably do it, but I'm actually thinking toward goats for milk, though not this year.
I buy organic milk which does not have the hormones and antibiotics found in most supermarket dairy. I found vegan quite difficult as well.

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rainbowgardener
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Rose, you resurrected a long dormant, but really interesting thread I'd never seen before. Thanks! It's a direction I'd like to go in a little more. Being pretty city bound, I can't really forage, but there are plenty of edibles on my own property, like the early spring poke weed shoots, that I haven't tried yet!

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Ozark Lady
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You haven't tried Poke!
Do you like asparagus? Just get them real young and tender, and wash them good. Then gently steam them... Serve just like asparagus, same dressings and all... At my house that is simply melted butter, and maybe a twist of lemon.

Then when the leaves grow some (before stalks turn red) pick the leaves, you can boil and taste these... if they are too strong, pour off the water and boil them again, until... you have spinach.

Then later, use the stems... not the hard ones! You want your thumbnail to be able to penetrate them... wash and peel the red off of these.

Pare boil them, just a bit, not till soft.

Drain them, I slice them into a dish of cornmeal with salt and pepper added, then just fry them up like okra... not the same but a fair substitute, and much earlier...

Knowing how to cook the wild foods is alot of it. I don't care for asparagus, hence, I don't like Poke this way.

But, I do like spinach and okra... so I prefer poke this way!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

orgoveg
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Pokeweed is a delicacy and premium prices are paid for it in some cultures. It is quite tasty, but it can also be dangerous to eat if you don't know what you're doing. I would say that not everyone would like it, but for those of us who enjoy strong-flavored vegetables...

Caution: Poison! Pokeweed is edible only when very young and with proper preparation. Red stems. Alternate, smooth, pointed oval leaves. Sometimes leaves are crinkled. Towers over you at full height. Dark purple poisonous berries hang from stem stalks, first as white flowers, then green berries turning purple. Every part of the plant is poisonous, especially the root.

Harvest young shoots in spring before they reach 8â€

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