Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wild Finds This Week!

I should be home doing laundry. Really. I should be. But the weather has been so amazing lately that I can't stand to be in doors! So many plants are blooming and the temperature is hovering in the mid seventies which is perfect for exploring. I live in a town with many parks and walks just waiting to be seen. Here are a few things I found this week!

Canadian Wild Ginger, aka Eastern Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense.  Native Americans have used this plant as a seasoning and as a medicinal herb.  However, this plant does contain a substance known as Aristolochic acid which if eaten in large quantities can cause kidney damage.  According to Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook, this substance is not water soluble so you can make tea with this ginger with no ill affects.  He has a great analysis of this plant.

Bed of Wild Ginger.  Leaves are largish, about the size of your hand.

Golden Alexanders, Zizia Aurea, a perennial herb in the carrot family (Apiaceae).  You can tell that this is Golden Alexanders and not a look alike because the leaves have toothed edges.  Flower clusters, with the main stem removed, can be added to salads.  Leaves are also edible.  Flower heads, both ripe and unripe can be dipped in tempura and fried.  Black seeds can be used like pepper.  Roots can be eaten like parsnips.

Oyster Mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus. What an amazing find! Most often found on the surface of dead hardwood trees.  It is a delicate mushroom without a strong flavor.  Fresh mushrooms have a slight smell of anise.  These are great sauteed in butter and garlic, in stir-fry, and in soups.  You can also dehydrate them for future use.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, is a great medicinal herb for respiratory ailments.
Pennycress seeds!  I will be back to harvest later so I can make this!

Remember to do your own research!  Always use multiple sources to evaluate your finds!

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog. Looks like cool stuff. We are in Wilson County. Feel free to visit our blog @ - It's tragically lacking in wild edibles, but.... Let us know if you are ever out this way and would like to hike our property!