I was inspired – and perhaps emboldened – by Samuel Thayer's guide to identifying, harvesting and preparing edible wild plants titled: Nature's Garden. In his book, he covers a small number of plant species in detail, replete with thorough preparation instructions and photos.
He cautions his readers to never eat a plant unless you are 100 percent positive of its identity. Oh how I love a good challenge!
He goes on to outline the five steps to positively identifying a plant. His steps include making a tentative identification, backing it up with a trusted reference comparison, cross-referencing with at least two more field guides to double and triple-check your identification and then go on a specimen search to ensure that you can find and identify the plant in diverse stages of growth and growing conditions. His last step involves being absolutely confident that you have identified the plant correctly, being sure enough to bet your life on it. Yikes!
Here's what I gathered in my bucket.
|Chickweed. We have been eating it all week and have not died from it yet.|
I've served it raw and sauteed.
|Wild garlic. It has a hollow stem and strong oniony smell.|
|Mustard Garlic. Highly invasive, so I pulled these up roots and all. Stems are particularly good.|
|Ramps. From our original creekside patch that Maggie planted five years ago. |
Just this year, Ed and I planted 3 dozen ramp sprouts and about 50 ramp seeds.
The sprouts are sprouting! Not sure about the seeds.
|The bees love our dandelions and so do we. Be sure you harvest chemical-free plants.|