The general guidance is that if it can be foraged in Missoula we can put it on the list. We've occasionally strayed from that guidance and then it opens up a huge can of worms with plants from all over the place being suggested.
Stringing nettles (Urtica dioica) are one of our favourite foraged foods and we spend a lot of time each spring gathering them. We typically harvest the growing shoot and the next pair of leaves, pinching them off the plant. It's quite a long process but the result is delicious and feels incredibly healthy.
Whilst we usually restrict ourselves to tea and nettle soup, this year we are quite excited to try nettle alloo, nettle-stuffed tortelloni and maybe even nettle quiche!
Mike Jay wrote:Make a cup of tea from one of:
- rose hips
- pineapple weed
What might be added to this list?
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) - leaves, twigs, berries - depends on season and final flavor you're after
Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy...and a LARGE number of other common names) - I've used it 50/50 with mints like peppermint, spearmint, etc.
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) - roots...if you're not concerned about safrole or think the concentration falls within your acceptance levels. But grab the leaves while you're at it to make filé powder for the spice rack (if you like it)! The leaves have minuscule amounts of safrole.
Rubus sp. (blackberry & raspberry) - leaves
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) - actually any of the monardas near you.
Rhus spp. (several sumacs ..NOT poison sumac which is Toxicodendron vernix) - berries - can use hot or cold. Best when the berries are fresh and have all the hairs, but ok later into winter as well (but you'll need to use more). Make sure you strain it well.
"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need] Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro.
White clover is one of the most abundant friendly wildflowers in my backyard.
I gathered two cups of blossom heads, moving around the area as I went so as not to noticeably diminish any particular patch.
Having rinsed the clover flowers, I poured about eight cups of boiling water onto them in a glass pitcher. I steeped the tea for an hour, tasted it, and added the juice of half a lemon and about half a teaspoon of honey. All done, I poured myself a serving over ice and garnished. The tea is nice but a bit mild, so I will steep it longer next time. I may also add some spirits for a lovely clover cocktail.
Note, I have included a few pictures of four-leaf clovers I encountered this week for an extra bit of fun.