Gardening Tips and Tricks

Edible Wild Plants In The Pacific Northwest

Edible Wild Plants In The Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of wild edible plants.  If you know what your looking for it can be a great source of food while you wait for your garden to grow. Or just something to munch on while you walk down the trail.

I wanted to tell you about my favorites, instead of just giving you a list of all of them.

  • Miner’s Lettuce is a delicious edible green leaf plant for salads.  Right now is the perfect time to go hunting and gathering it.  In order to locate miners leaf you need to go to a woody semi shady area.  This plant grows in patches so where there is one there will defiantly be more.  The best way to harvest it is to pull it right out of the ground.  Miners lettuce has a very shallow root system and the leaves are fragile.  The flavor is very mild and can work well with any other flavors it’s incorporated with.
  • Fiddle Ferns have recently become popular.  I recently read a article where these little guys were being sold for 19.00 a pound.  I was shocked!  That said, I know how delicious the fiddle fern is and timing is everything when gathering it.  Ferns live near the edge of the water in a semi-shady areas.  These ferns are hard to find so you need to keep your eyes peeled and watch your step.  The young fiddle ferns are what you are looking for.  The ferns will be curled up in a spiral like a pigs tail and quite small.  To harvest this fern just simply break off the stalk.  The flavor is similar to asparagus and you can cook it many ways. However always cook for at least 30 min to remove any toxins.  My favorite is to saute them with butter and garlic, after I have parboiled them.
  •  Salal is a wild low growing plant that tends to make it’s home under trees and spreads like wild fire.  I personally do not eat the young leaves of this plant but, have read that you can.  The dark almost black colored berries are what you want to eat and are best mixed with other berries like blackberries.  Salal is often seen in flower arrangement’s so it is possible you have seen salal many times and had no idea this plant had edible berries.
  • Currents are a amazing bush.  They have the most beautiful flowers in early spring. (mine are bright pink) After the current has flowered the berries will start to form.  These berries are very small and you will need quite a few to make anything with them.  I usually gather enough to make a sauce with some honey and use it as a topping on my pancakes.

I absolutely love gathering wild edible plants on my property, but I do a lot of research in advance before putting anything in my mouth.  This post was to entice you to get out and explore what is edible in your back yard.

These are a few books I recommend if you are going to forge for food.

Thanks and happy foraging!


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