Well, the foraging season is behind us now and it’s safe to say this one was far from overwhelming. Each is different, of course, and not every fruit, nut, or fungus is going to give generous harvests in any one year, but this one seemed more universally disappointing. Most folks would be quick to blame the drought that defined the summer, myself included.Continue reading “Making the most of the foraging harvest”
Ramps are special, and the season is short. For some foragers, it’s the taste of Spring, and they wouldn’t miss it. I’m not that fervent, but I do like them nonetheless. This year, I made a point to branch out and do more than scrambled eggs with ramps. Now, I’m no chef, so don’t expect any groundbreaking ideas or recipes here. My perspective is that of an avid forager and great fan of trying new things. Continue reading “What to Fix: Recipes for Ramps”
Believe me, I’ve been there too. You find yourself in the presence of an abundance of some kind of foraged treasure- perhaps for the first time– and you collect more than you know what to do with. Most of the time these things can be preserved, and we can decide what to do with it all later. For some reason I always seem to envision this taking place on a January day that’s so nasty I can’t even go ice fishing.
Anyway, the time to decide what to do with all those chokecherries has come. If you’re like me, you’ve made a couple batches of pancake syrup and/or jelly, but there are still several bags of berries waiting down in the basement freezer. The good news is, chokecherry syrup and jelly are unique and tireless, at least in our house (I believe every forager owes it to themselves to at least try the pancake syrup). The better news is, you don’t have to restrict yourself to syrup and jelly. If you use your imagination a bit and have the patience to endure a little trial and error, there are lots of uses for your purple tree caviar. Continue reading “What to Fix- Chokecherry Recipes”
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- Foraging in Minnesota: Wild PlumsWhen it comes to foraging, nothing says “end of summer” like wild plums. During that late August/early September time with cool mornings and moderately warm afternoons, I know without looking that American and Canada plums are ripe. Prunus, spp. Most people don’t know it, but Minnesota is home to two species of wild plums. American plum (Prunus americana) ...
- Foraging in Minnesota: Chicken of the WoodsDo they really taste like chicken? If you’re not too critical, yes.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Wild GrapesWild grape jelly is, admittedly, better than the stuff from the store. I say “admittedly” because I’d heard such claims and didn’t believe them— until I made my own.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Sand CherryIn Minnesota, Sand cherry is an inhabitant of dry— if not barren—places. Literally, think sand. In my quest to find P. pumila this year, I was most successful in the drier places of east central, west central, and northwest Minnesota.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Stinging NettlesThe growing season has begun, when many useful and tasty greens will appear. This includes one plant which is easily overlooked, if not considered a downright nuisance: the stinging nettle.
- Foraging in Minnesota: SnozzberriesIf you’re reading this, you probably don’t know what you’re missing. Everybody else is in the woods. The snozzberries are out.
- Foraging in Minnesota: BlackberriesIt’s blackberry season. While I sit here typing this out in mid-August, I have a hunch there are literally tons of them out there going unpicked.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Hedgehog MushroomsI place hedgehog mushrooms in the top echelon of wild mushrooms, right up there with hen of the woods, chanterelles, and black trumpets. It’s worth a trip to the woods hoping to find even a couple, especially if you’ve never before had the pleasure.
- Foraging in Minnesota: JuneberriesNever had juneberries? I’m not surprised.They’re easy to miss, but maybe you should give them a closer look. Despite having a mild, less-than-distinct flavor, juneberries (AKA serviceberries, saskatoons )are worth targeting.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Dwarf RaspberriesEvery year about this time there is a lull in the foraging season here in Minnesota. The early season has passed and the frenzy over morels, fiddleheads, and ramps is over. However, the Dwarf raspberry is here now to take center stage.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Wild StrawberriesIf you’re itching to get out and pick some wild berries this year, I have good news for you: the strawberries are in. Wild strawberries are a good way to get kids interested in foraging, or at least engage them in conversation about where food comes from.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Ostrich FernsThe Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is gaining in popularity in the foraging community. Learn how to identify and cook this springtime treat.
- Foraging in Minnesota: RampsSpring kicks off the foraging season. Ramps are popular and a delicious addition to many meals this time of year. Allium tricoccum and Allium burdickii are similar but separate species. Minnesota is host to both, but A. tricoccum is by far more common.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Black CherryI’m sure you’ve heard of “black cherry,” either as a flavoring or as a type of wood. For me, the name evokes a certain flavor of candy. But did you know it’s a harvestable fruit here in Minnesota? Yes, it is.
- Do Something New: Tapping Maple Trees and Making SyrupThis year I tried tapping maple trees and making maple syrup in Itasca County, in northern Minnesota. I had to learn how to make maple syrup, but it was worth the time and effort.
- Foraging in Minnesota: ChagaForaging for chaga in Minnesota is getting popular. Know where to find it and how to prepare it as chaga tea. Inonotus obliquus has been known for hundreds of years as a medicinal fungus; do yourself a favor and give it a try.
- Foraging in Minnesota: CranberriesMinnesota is host to two different varieties of wild cranberry: Vaccinium macrocarpon and Vaccinium oxycoccos. They can be found in the many swamps and bogs in northern and eastern Minnesota, and much of that is on public lands.
- Foraging in Minnesota: MaitakeGrifola frondosa is a sought-after mushroom. It doesn’t seem to get the hype that morels and others do, but Grifola frondosa is one of the best-tasting, most versatile, all-around great mushrooms.
- Foraging in Minnesota: Wild HazelnutsWild hazelnuts are like a smaller version of the cultivated varieties, and Minnesota is host to both the American and Beaked hazelnuts. Know where and when to look for them, as well as how to identify them in the field and what to do with them.
- Foraging in Minnesota: ChokecherriesChokecherries are widespread in Minnesota, as well as in northern and western United States. Their flavor, once extracted from the heavily-pitted fruits, is unique and delicious.
- Foraging in Minnesota: ThimbleberriesThe Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) is native to Minnesota, but is not necessarily abundant. Closely related to the raspberry, it tastes somewhat similar, but has its own unique flavor and charm.
- Foraging in Minnesota: ChanterellesAlong with morels, hen of the woods, and a few others, chanterelles are one of the most popular mushrooms for foragers in Minnesota. Their mild, sweet flavor is very desirable in the kitchen, however there are several look-alikes which need to be avoided.
- Foraging in Minnesota: The Early Season, Part 1The Minnesota spring foraging season offers much more than just morel mushrooms. Fiddlehead ferns (ostrich ferns), ramps, pheasant back mushrooms, greens, and more are all widespread and available for the taking.
On a recent outing, I managed to get 5 good-sized tullibees. The next day, I tried baking one. It was good, but with my first-ever crop of tullibee, I wanted to experiment and make the most of my take. With four more in the freezer and a big love for everything smoked, the way forward was obvious. Continue reading “Do Something New: Smoked Tullibee”