Spring is upon us and it is the perfect time to get outside for plant ID and harvesting seasonal greens. One of my favorite things to do when plants start unfurling leaves and blossoms bloom is to go on wild wanders with my kids for forest browsing. Some of our favorites are…
Dandelion Some see this as a weed, I see this as the base for my salads. We also pick the flowers, dip them in pancake batter sweetened with honey and fry them up for what my kids call Dandelion Donuts.
Stinging Nettle Yes it stings when it’s fresh, but after steaming, boiling or frying, you have a plant with more flavor than spinach. We use bread crumbs, eggs, garlic and chopped nettle to make Nettle Patties we fry on the stovetop or bake in the oven.
Oregon Oxalis This plant is a tasty trailside nibble. It’s got a tart taste to it, a little bit like a green apple. My kids eat it fresh while playing in the woods.
Remember, when harvesting any wild plant its important to get a good field guide to properly identify the species as some plants have toxic lookalikes. Here are a few guides we like to help learn proper identification skills:
- Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast The classic guide to our local ecosystem.
- Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide A real cool guide to the identification of wildflowers.
- Botany In A Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification Tom Elpel’s excellent guide should be a textbook in every school.
- Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate One of the best guides out there. From John Kallas, local author and friend of Trackers.
See You In The Forest,
Founder & Mom