We often think of springtime when we hear the word, foraging. But actually, fall is a great time to eat nature's bounty! Look around—fall is the harvest season. Trees bear fruit, grains yield seeds, and plants produce starchy tubers. Nature is providing food for the winter, not only to plants and animals but also to us---if we train our eyes. What is "out there"?
Here are some common fall wild foods to try:
- Wild Grapes –make jam or juice or eat them raw—look for curly tendrils at the end of the vines
- Rose Hips: the fruit of the rose—look for a berry-like fruit on rose bushes---eat them raw or steep for tea, high in vitamin C
- Persimmons—best after a frost—hard to separate the pulp from the seeds but so worth it—use in place of pumpkin in recipes
- Sumac—fuzzy red berries on the branches of the sumac bush make a lemonade type drink when steeped in water
- Wild garlic and onions—taste just like their commercial counterparts—make sure you've harvested the real deal by noting the trademark smell
- Sassafras—look for the tree that has 3 distinct types of leaves (oval, mitten, 3 lobed)—the roots make good tea, twigs when steeped yield a citrus type drink and dried leaves are an ingredient in Cajun recipes
- Hickory nuts and black walnuts---an acquired taste, a challenge to harvest but many fans will tell you worth the effort
- Acorns—yes—the squirrels are on to something—soak and re-soak to diminish bitterness caused by tannin—then roast or add to stews, or eat raw
- Hedgehog Mushroom ,Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Lions Mane Mushrooms—please go with an expert, do the research before eating any wild fungus!
So, go outside, tromp in the woods and gather yourself an interesting feast!
Try this recipe—Let me know how you liked it!
- One egg
- 1 tsp. oil
- 1 tsp. honey or sugar
- ½ cup leached and ground acorns
- ½ cup whole wheat or white flour
- 2 tsp. double action baking powder
- ½ tsp.salt
Break egg into bowl and add all ingredients, beating to create a batter. If batter is too thick, thin with additional milk. Pour batter onto hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown. Flip to brown opposite side. Serve with butter and syrup or jam—and enjoy!
Source:Texas A&M University AgriLifeExtension