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I'd like to get into wild herb collecting.

mewmewmintmewmewmint Raw Newbie

Anybody have advice on this? In particular it would be helpful for me to know what to look for in my area, and what is easy to find. I live on central Vancouver Island, BC, Canada…. in Campbell River.

I know dandelions grow like crazy around here… it’s crazy to think that in the UK they PAY for dandelion!! _ I’ve got books on identifying mushrooms and edible plants… which I am currently reading.

Comments

  • RawsikiRawsiki Raw Newbie

    I always wanted to get into this too. I heard about some man who is going to live on wild food for like a year or so…just collecting wild mushrooms, berries, nuts, and even…roadkill. Yeah, that part, kinda not so cool. I live on a farm, and it never really occured to me how many things I collect from the wild. Guavas, berries, flower pollen, peanut flowers…things I would just pick and eat! It really is beautiful to be that connected to your food in such a simple and natural way. Are dandelions edible? They’re my favorite flower, and we have tons of those dotted all over campus! Sorry I wasn’t much of a help, I like your idea though. :)

  • heathermarsbombheathermarsbomb Raw Newbie

    There is a program coming up at a local library near me…why dont you check your local branches? Plenty of books out there too, but its probably better to have someone experienced show you what to look for. If I dont have to work on the 27th I am going to the one near me crosses fingers

  • I often collect wild plants for eating, and I never pay for the dandelions when I’m the UK. I talk a lot about plants to people and I noticed that a lot of people have a problem recognizing species. I assume you don’t have this problem. Get a good local plant book, so you can identify the plant, spending time with someone who knows a lot about the local plants is better way to learn I suppose. When looking up if certain plants are edible, beware that books make mistakes too. I once saw dandelions mentioned in a poisonous plant book. One excellent source about edible plants is Plants For A Future, where you can find a database with edible plants (there are a lot of ornamental plants that are edible as well, I love the Abutilon flowers: my photo). When collecting, go for the smaller younger leaves they usually are nicer.

  • mewmewmintmewmewmint Raw Newbie

    yah… i saw one time that there was an edible plant tour at a nearby island… i’ll definately go the next time it’s going on.

    i’ve got 3 different books on edible plants, and a book on identifying mushrooms… so i’m busy reading those right now… definitely gotta be careful about eating something poisonous

  • I’ve been wanting to do this as well but haven’t had the time to do the research. I’ve been contemplating about just buying some seeds from mountainroseherbs.com, as they carry dandelion seeds, nettle, and some other wild plants. I figure than I can have my own wild edibles in my garden. Not quite as exciting as foraging (and a bit like cheating I suppose) but at least I could identify what I was eating. :) http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/seeds/seeds.php

    One of these days I’d like to go foraging. I’ll have to check out Plants For a Future chaewen.

    mewmewming, good luck with your search.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    Ok, just be careful you are picking what you are supposed to be picking…do not forget christopher mccandless from “into the wild”.

    i have gone on herb walks with professionals. it is definitely far better than a book.

    but some of the best tasting plants are wild edibles. here’s one that is abundant in my area (and probably in vancouver too) and easy to not mess up eating: rosemary flowers. just eat the purple flower that pokes out of the needles. it’s sooo delicious and sweet.

    rawsiki, i do not think the dandelion flower is edible, just the leaves. they are very good for detoxing. *I am editing this because this is mis-information, see my comment below*

    good luck mewmewmint.

  • I live in Victoria and lately I’ve been eyeing our abundance of dandelions (or their leaves, more accurately) as a green smoothie addition.

  • dandelion is best at the beginning and at the end of its season.. other times it is more bitter -too bitter for me actually..

  • heathermarsbombheathermarsbomb Raw Newbie

    Yes, ‘into the wild’ would make anyone extremely cautions about wild foraging…

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    A helpful place for you would be a yahoo group called Forage Ahead. If you are not sure of what something is you can post picture on there and people on there will help you identify it based on your area etc. “Wildman” Steve Brillman posts on there.

    Yes, be very careful what you pick. My bf and I had a great who was a very good forager but died making a smoothie out of some wild greens that unforatunatey had such a close look-a-like poisonous “cousin” that she died after drinkin her smoothie. (the plant she thought she was picking was mullein and instead it was the poisonous look-a-like Fox Glove – it is very difficult to tell them apart).

    So, have fun but please be careful! Esp with the mushrooms! :)

    My bf is a very good forager but he make sure he only picks things that he knows definatley what they are (and has eaten them before so he knows they are safe) and he doesn’t pick things that have any very close poisonous look alikes and he can’t tell if they are the right species or not. When it doubt, do not pick or eat! There are plenty of easy to indentify plants that are safe to eat – why take chances?

  • I wouldn’t eat Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) as it contains rotenone (used as an insecticide) and coumarin (can prevent the blood from clotting). Actually I avoid eating plants from the Scrophulariaceae family.

    I would like encourage everybody to learn about wild plants, it is a cheap way to get some real green power. I got on the raw food track by noticing the effect (raw) wild salads have on me.

    Satchy’s idea is excellent, if you don’t know the plants and have a garden start to grow them. Be careful pricking those nettle seedlings out! If you have a garden you might want to know more about the weeds you’re pulling, they might be tasty.

    Plants tend to become stronger tasting (more bitter) as temperatures rise.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    I have been amazed at how many green dandelion leaves are out this time of year. So I foraged some on the hillside this afternoon and put them in a smoothie. A bit tart but some raspberries balanced it out…go for it pomegranate!

  • bitt, you mentioned the flower tops of dandelions are not edible. Really? I’ve heard otherwise. Does anyone else know if they can be eaten or not? if so, can they be added to green smoothies?

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    Ok, I am wrong about the flower. I remember learning it somewhere but of course then that person was wrong. I’ve just done a little research and nothing I have found says that any part is toxic. The flowers are often made into dandelion wine, and roots can be roasted or made into tea. I’m not sure how they taste—I guess I’ll have to try some!

    This season is the best for harvesting the leaves. They are very nutritious and contain lots of good calcium.

  • Some people eat dandelion flowers. And I’ve been wanting to try it. If anyone has any experience that would make me happy. :P

     

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    The dandelion root is edible but it is very bitter – even roasted it tastes quite – I don’t know – rooty, I guess. If you have ever had chicory coffee, you will know what taste I mean.

    The flowers are edible (people make wine out of it )so yeah, you can put it in your smoothies if you want. The whole plant is edible but not the most flavorful raw.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    I juice nettles it is a very buzzy energetic juice, it doesn’t taste too bad either. Just have to use rubber gloves to avoid the stings.

    Wild garlic grows pretty much everywhere, and burdock is common too. I have gathered old mans ears mushrooms which are delicious, and puff balls which are like steak! There are some youtube vids on wild food gathering, one with David Wolfe on it -for you Wolfe fans ;)

    I have a book called “Food for Free” it is really good. And I think some people down South do wild food walks etc. I have a feeling Funky Raw Rob would know about this, maybe he does it.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    I got some ‘wild edible’ flashcards (someone mentioned them on another post). I haven’t eaten wilds… just learning about them. WLIR posted about someone who leads hikes about wild edibles… but I can’t find the post.

  • amysueamysue Raw Newbie

    My daughter and I have been going through our yard with Peterson’s guide and our greatest find is sheep’s sorrel, which I used to hate because it would take over my flower beds, but it tastes tart and lemony and is high in vitamin C. Right now we’re also eating violet flowers and leaves, dandelions and the biggest surprise – daylilies which we have lots, apparently all parts are edible. My daughter loves munching on the flowers later in the season. The book has definitely changed the way I look at weeds.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    amysue I love that sorrel. It is so yummy. I haven’t found it anywhere, but I used to get it at this garden I worked at. Delicious, you are so lucky!

  • CarmentinaCarmentina Raw Newbie

    I love foraging, but wouldn’t have the guts to eat foraged mushrooms. It’s really common to forage for them here in Italy, but I know a whole family that died from intoxication…so sad. Just be EXTREMELY CAREFUL.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Sorrel? I had a sorrel drink… it was supposed to be high in iron or something. It tastes like some kind of prune juice… except worse. Is this the same sorrel?

  • amysueamysue Raw Newbie

    germin8 – I can’t see the connection between sorrel and…prunes. Sorrel, the basic garden variety is chartreuse green with juicy tart leaves and comes up as soon as spring arrives, like now. The neighborhood kids have all grazed mine down to nubs, they love it. I had to give the little boy next door his own division. Sheep’s sorrel is a low spreading weed with much smaller leaves that also taste very tart and are meant to be high in C, not sure about iron. It’s a very successful weed too, spreading by thread-like runners AND by prolific seeds, so I’m planning on eating lots of it this summer! I saw Anthony Anderson (Raw Model) talking about sheep sorrel in a youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfi14dGTxkY so I was very excited to discover it was my most hated weed.

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