Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wild Edibles Walk

On Sunday I was lucky enough to be involved in a local "wild edibles" walk. We met at the Old Stewart Farmhouse for an amazing walk among the grasses and greens. Our guide, Linda Holley is a graduate of Dominion Herbal College. She also studied nutrition at Alive Academy. Her knowledge is vast and I only wish I had an ounce of her knowledge of herbs and wild greens in my own brain. It is an area that I have recently been interested in studying more. There is so much you can do with plants in our "own back yard" let alone throughout the world!

Here's some information I gleened from our walk. First and most importantly...get a knowledgeable guide! If you are ever in the Oregon area I would suggest getting in touch with Sergei Boutenko who runs Harmony Hikes. His website is also full of information on wild edibles as well, including photos, descriptions and some information videos. Here, Linda was extremely knowledgeable about plants and their uses and whether they are edible or not.

I was quite surprised at how many plants and greenery are NOT for eating! Good thing I didn't just run out and start harvesting greens after the talk that Sergei gave a couple of months ago! Of course, with his informative session as well as a hands on hike in our own local area I feel much more informed and knowledgeable about what I can and cannot eat. I'll have to talk another time about a "fiddlehead" experience I had and what I learned after the fact!

Our walk lasted about three hours, one hour over the original plan but we were learning so much. Certainly I will be on the lookout for a good chickweed plant near my home and start harvesting that one right away. It has more nutrition in it than a whole wack of greens you'd get from the store. In fact it is so nutritious that I would suggest to anyone that they need to begin adding this to their smoothies and salads right away.

It is important to be careful about eating anything new, however as anyone can have allergies to any plant and not know it yet because they've never eaten it. In fact maybe that was my fiddlehead issue. OK, I'll explain myself. I have waited about a year to do some fiddlehead harvesting and it was a late year this year but my mom got some on a hike she went on last month and brought them home to me. Not being one to cook things, my daughter and I ate some. She liked hers just plain while I put mine in a smoothie. She had no trouble whatsoever while I had intense stomach cramps and terrible gas about two hours later...and this didn't happen just once, it happened the next day when I added them to my smoothie (I added less and the effect was lessened as well). Hmmm. She seemed to tolerate them without a problem while I did NOT. Lesson learned. It will be some time before I try fiddleheads again.

Today my mom saw on the news that they are suggesting that no one eat fiddleheads RAW as two people have become sick from eating them this way on Vancouver Island. Interesting. So we'll steer clear for now.

Back to the hike.

Here's the link to photos that Diane so graciously posted for us all, along with a mini comment on each one.


Also, Sergei Boutenko has filmed a number of videos on wild edibles. Check out this link for his video on Wild Violets. He has one also on Miner's Lettuce. Or, check out the Dandelion one. They are extremely informative and entertaining! Thanks Sergei!

In wild edible goodness,


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