Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Foraging Finds!

May is a great month for foraging in Middle Tennessee!  Everything has come to life.  There are lots of flowers and the beginning of many berries and fruits.  Mulberries are nearly ready, crab apples are now small on the trees, and wild grapes have formed their shape.  It's a perfect time to pick out where your wild blackberries are growing because there are currently white blooms on the bushes.
Ground Ivy is growing profusely! Strong herb in the mint family.
Edible Lawn Daisy!
White Clover Flower, great for salads or dried for tea or making flour.
Pineapple Weed, smells like pineapple and makes a wonderful tea or cheesecake!

Curly Dock, leaves are a great potherb, seeds will eventually turn red and can be used for flour.
Red Clover, tastier than white clover but more elusive!
Tulip Poplar tree, you can drink the sweet nectar in the tulip "cups".
Honeysuckle is in full bloom.  You can make Honeysuckle Jelly and Syrup with the flower.
Milkweed.  It has multiple edible parts but I prefer the unopened flower buds which should show up anytime.  They taste like asparagus and you can dehydrate them! Make sure the back of the leaves are fuzzy and the stem is hollow to be sure you have the right plant.
Thistle.  Use gloves.  The best part is the center of the leaves after the prickly parts are cut away.  Very tasty but a real pain to get!
Plantain, popping up everywhere!
My favorite find this month!  Lamb's Quarters, Chenopodium album (pronounced with a hard k sound as in key-no-po-dee-um), a wonderful wild edible often described as better than spinach!  I had given up hope finding it in Middle Tennessee and here it is in the middle of a soccer field. Go figure.
Yellow Water Iris, aka Flag Iris, Iris pseudacorus, while not edible does have an important function.  It cleans the water (though this plant is considered a noxious foreign interloper).  See the watercress in the picture?  Upper left. Watercress is starting to bloom with little white flowers.  You can still pick it, but it has lost that traditional "watercress" look.

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