Forager Weekly is a wild harvesting project that will take you through a year of what Vermont’s edible landscape has to offer. Each week I will harvest ingredients for a new dish that will be posted at the end of the week. 52 weeks, 52 recipes. I would categorize myself as a creative and competent home cook and as such, some dishes will be winners and some may need some additional tweaking. My goal is to show that wild foods don’t have to be scary. They are like any other ingredient in the pantry, except that the story of how it made it into that pantry is usually better. There is a wealth of flavors that once were part of our everyday palate but have long since been cast aside in the name of convenience and mass production. This project is my way of throwing my hat into the ring among those seeking to resurrect these lost flavors.
It is important to remember that unlike foods purchased in a grocery store, these ingredients don’t come pre-identified. You are not going to find any printed labels in a floodplain forest to help you distinguish between the fiddleheads of ostrich fern and sensitive fern. I will cover some identification tips on this site, particularly when dealing with plants or mushrooms that have poisonous look-a-likes; however, you should always seek out the advice of a local expert and do your own research before trying to identify and consume plants or mushrooms harvested from nature. NEVER NEVER NEVER eat something without being 100% positive of what it is. There are some plants that could kill you if consumed and plenty others that won’t kill you outright but may make you wish you were dead. Please take identification seriously.
That being said, identification does not have to be an intimidating stumbling block for first time foragers. There are dozens of field guides tailored to any region of the country as well as countless online communities that can get you started, though nothing is better than spending time in the field with a local expert.