Favorite wild foods


apple harvest in Colorado Springs

Round 2 of our apple harvest!

There are a couple of locations around town, one on the far north end, and one on the far west side, where I like to pick apples. They’re allllmost ready. They’re still a little green, but ready to pick before the birds, bears, and deer get to them.

If you find a good tree, you can just shake one of the main branches and the ready apples will fall off the stems.

Speaking of apples, you can also use the abundance of crabapples that are all over town. There are some on common areas which we’ve picked and no one has ever prevented us. The best kind are the large, purple ones. We still have several gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of them from last year’s harvest. They make great jam!

On our trip yesterday, we harvested about 40 pounds of apples in less than an hour. I was in the tree shaking branches while Beth and Havi were collecting. Jonathan had climbed up his own tree and was picking and eating! I’m sure more apples went into him than into our bucket.

 

Wild plums and elderberries

Wild plums and elderberries

The season is almost over, but there remains a few survivors out there. As many of you know, I am a portrait photographer by trade, and last Saturday I was photographing a family in a local park. After the session, my son, Josiah, and I went searching for some wild things to eat. Here’s what we found! These are blue elderberries and wild plums. We came away with about a dozen of the plums and hands-full of the elderberries, which we enjoyed on the drive home and in our oatmeal the next morning!

So, there are still some things out there, but probably only for a few more days (or until I get to them! 🙂

-Tracy

Man Eating Bugs?? Check it out on 8/21 at 6:30 at Bear Creek Nature Center

Man Eating Bugs?? Check it out on 8/21 at 6:30 at Bear Creek Nature Center

This Friday, August 21, at 6:30pm, there will be a great Wild Edibles class at Bear Creek Nature Center.

There will be 3 of us teaching that night. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about edible plants, mushrooms, and bugs. Yes, you read that right. I said BUGS!

Plus, you’ll get to sample some treats from each category.

Before you start grossing out about eating bugs, remember that there are many cultures and civilizations on almost every continent which eats bugs, either alive or cooked. I’m certainly not saying that I enjoy eating bugs, but I have done it at this class.

So, if you’re adventurous, or you just really like unique gastronimic experiences, then head out to Bear Creek Nature Center this Friday and join us for the class. I’ll be bringing a salad mixed with some wild plants and some “lemonade” made with a very tart berry which grows abundantly at BCNC. Ken will be bringing some mushrooms cooked to perfection, and Todd is the man with the bugs!

Hope to see you there.

-Tracy

Here’s our 3 year-old weed-eater!

Jonathan is sampling (with much gusto) his first taste of lamb’s quarter. This ubiquitous yard and garden pest is one of our favorites to find. The best part is that you can find this just about anywhere the soil has been disturbed. Stories abound of people using this as a survival food during the Depression.

It’s very similar to spinach in its taste and texture. We like to use it raw in salads, but it can be used cooked too. I even found a YouTube video describing how to make quiche with it (real wild-food-eating-men don’t make quiche out of the weeds they find – yuck!).

In fact, as I point out in my classes, foods like this commonly have more nutrients in them than do their cultivated counter-parts, which makes them very good to be harvested and consumed.

REMINDER!

The last class of 2009 is coming up on Monday, June 8. Here is a list of people that I show as being registered for this one.

  • Monument homeschool group (26)
  • Winstead family (6)
  • Gipson family (2)

We’re a little over-populated for this class, so plan for it to take a little longer than normal. We’ll try to be back to the pond area by about noon for lunch.

To get all the details on what to bring, where to go, and when to be there, read this post.

-Tracy

Wild raisins?

Wild raisins?

This photo was  taken at the end of February on the trail that goes to St. Mary’s Falls off Gold Camp Road above Colorado Springs. The berries you see are perfectly edible still, though they tend to be a little dry this time of year. But, the nutritional value and flavor is still intact. In fact, you can collect as many of these as you can find and you can make a wonderful and very healthy tea with them.

What are they? Wild rose hips. They’re full of vitamin C, and even when they’re in this stage you can make a trail snack out of them. These are not one of my favorite wild foods to eat on the trail, but we have used them to make teas, especially if a cold settles in one of us.

Head out there and find some of these wild raisins!

-Tracy
The Colorado Springs Photographer

Golden Currant blossoms in late April. My personal favorite wild food of this region.

Golden Currant blossoms in late April. My personal favorite wild food of this region.

Summer is a great time for harvesting the best of the best of wild foods. My personal favorite are the berries, but I know people who can’t wait to head into the foothills and mountains and start gathering mushrooms.

What are your favorite wild foods? We want to know!

We’ve just enabled a poll which you can see on the sidebar on the right side of the main blog page, so cast your vote!

-Tracy