Why is foraging in the woods so exciting to me? Free food. Fresh. Finding treasure! April 25, 2014 I shared with you my past experiences with foraging and plans to continue on the Olympic Peninsula. Exactly one year after that post, I enrolled in a class, “Wild Edibles” through the Peninsula College. Let me tell you, the “O” Peninsula is a treasure trove of plants that are both edible and have medicinal properties.
Our first class on April 25, began with a quick overview of approximately 20 plants. The class was held outdoors at the Railroad Park in Sequim (old forest area with trails, restored railroad bridge provides biking/hiking trail over the Dungeness river). After the quick introduction, we headed into the woods to identify the plants. We only took 2 steps and immediately found edibles—miners’ lettuce, dandelions, nettles, and much more. The miners’ lettuce is unbelievably good—smooth texture, mild pleasant taste, and so pretty! It grows in the shade everywhere! [Photo left by Hank Shaw]
The second class (there are six sessions) was held in the kitchen preparing different parts of the dandelion. This time of year, the dandelion root and leaves are bitter and I am not a fan, will try again January through March when it is supposedly “sweet”. BUT..the yellow flower made into a syrup is a cross between maple syrup and honey. And I am a big fan!
Today, we learn how to pick stinging nettles and “dead” nettles (not really dead—not stinging). In the kitchen we’ll prepare a nettle pesto sauce and a tea. [Photo of nettle right] Will let you know how it is…