Spring is finally here in many areas of the country. Hurray!!! For many of us nature lovers this means foraging and wildcrafting begins in earnest. The first fruits of spring bring such great joy and feelings of awakening and rebirth. Our heavier diets from the winter are gladly shed for the first spring greens and mushrooms.
Before I began learning to forage for food my favorite thing about spring was flowers. Now my favorites are ramps and morel mushrooms. What could be better than gourmet cooking ingredients foraged for free?
There are many different medicinal and edible plants as well as fungi that arrive in spring for you to look for and enjoy with abandon. Here are a few of them…
- Ramps (Allium Tricoccum or wild leeks) – Here is my article on foraging and cooking ramps.
- Morels – The granddaddy of gourmet mushrooms. Check out my morel hunting tips.
- Dandelion – So much more than a weed. You can make teas, salves, coffee, cookies, and even wine.
- Wild violets – Make violet vinegar or honey
- Clover – Great for making clover honey and baked goods. Very high in vitamins and minerals
- Fiddleheads – Another sought after gourmet treat ripe for the picking! Cook them with asparagus, garlic, and butter!
- Stinging nettle – Edible and medicinal, just bring gloves to harvest. Throw them in some salsa or pesto and use them for allergies and hives.
- Purple dead nettle – I have tons of these all over my property. Great for salads and pesto.
- Plantain – Edible and medicinal. Great in soups and stews and when used as a poultice for scrapes and stings.
- Cleavers – Use this common weed in teas, vinegar, salad dressings , and smoothies.
- Oyster mushrooms – Another delectable fungi, I love to use them in soups, stews, and asian dishes.
- Porcini mushrooms – Gourmet ingredient for hearty soups and stews.