I recently watched an episode of “the Genesis of Healing” on the Veria channel. This particular episode featured information about the life of Euell Gibbons, as well as experts discussing foraging for wild edible foods.
The episode subject was very timely, since I have recently become very interested in foraging. I’m excited to pick a salad of dandelion, sorrel, and clover leaves from our backyard this season!
I picked up some wild edible food books from the library this afternoon, and I have a few more requested. I’m hoping to learn more about edible wild foods, and maybe even mushrooms, although I don’t know that I’d have enough nerve to actually eat wild mushrooms! Maybe someday! A Planet Green article suggests building your knowledge and experience for 2 full years before actually eating any of your mushroom findings. That’s good advice if you can stick to it!
Anyway, back to the Genesis of Healing episode.
Some interesting info I learned from the show:
- Acorns can be boiled, then dried out, then finely ground to make flour for bread, etc.
- Edible wild plants they recommend include: wild spinach, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, lamb’s quarters (related to spinach), Cattails (very nutritious), wood sorrel (tart flavor)
- Fall is a great time for to find fatty, richer edibles like seeds and nuts.
- The colder months (Jan-Feb) are great to pick bitter weeds, as the cold weather makes greens less bitter, more tender. Dandelions are great in winter months.
- Poke weed & poke salad: boil green leaves in water 3 times, changing water each time to remove toxins. It’s still very risky to eat though.
- Bonus if you can find the elusive wild asparagus
- Forage at least 10-15 ft from highly trafficked roads for safe, clean edibles.
- Learn from someone that knows what they are doing. It’s dangerous!
In the show they said that a lot of other naturalists thought Euell Gibbons was a sell-out for his Grape Nuts commercials.
I find it really funny (or is it ironic?) that so many jokes were made at his expense because of the commercials, (talking about eating pine cones and tree bark) and now, years later, it’s cool to forage for wild edibles again. The times they are a changing!