I recently realized that I've done a lot of posts on edible wild food, and with Spring coming up, I decided it would be fun to create a roundup as a definite guide for you all, so you can go out and forage for some tasty things to eat! I think everyone should experience the simple pleasure of hiking in a park or field and picking enough greens for a salad, or berries for pies and jams. Some of my favorite childhood memories are foraging for wild foods with my parents, my brother, and our dog in the North Carolina mountains.
I am not including mushrooms in this guide, as I've done so many mushroom posts and I plan to do a separate mushroom roundup at some point, so I am limiting this to certain types of foods. As I discover and write about more types of wild foods, I'll continue to add to this guide.
As with any wild food, please be sure you aren't eating something that has been sprayed with chemicals or herbicides, or is growing in an area where there is raw sewage. Don't eat anything that you can't positively identify; refer to guidebooks and pay attention to leaf shape, flower color/flower shape, growth medium (does it grow in soil, or on trees?), and any other clues such as thorns, vines, shrubs, fruit, etc. Be sure to ask permission before picking on private property. Protect yourself from sunburns, thorns, and insect bites, and have fun!
• Neighborhood Fruit
• Fallen Fruit
&bull Rose Hips
&bull Nasturtiums - this also falls under the "Edible Flowers" category
&bull Miner's Lettuce
&bull Lamb's Quarter
&bull Stinging Nettles
&bull Dandelion Greens
Nuts and Seeds
&bull Ginkgo Nuts
&bull Walnuts - use the leaves and unripe green nuts for homemade walnut liqueur!
• Pine Nuts
&bull Nasturtiums - this also falls under the "Leafy Greens" category
&bull Choosing & Preparing Edible Flowers
&bull Ramps - a delicious wild leek available for a short window of time in the Spring
&bull Fiddlehead Ferns
&bull Wild Thistle
• Sea Beans - forage for these at the ocean!
&bull Lotus Root
&bull Persimmons - not technically a wild food in the US, but you might have a friend or neighbor with a persimmon tree!
&bull Dates - while not native to the US, date trees are found in desert areas in Southern California and Arizona, either as wild trees grown from dispersed seeds, or as ornamental trees.
&bull Pink Peppercorns
• Prickly Pear Fruit
(Images: Kathryn Hill, Gregory Han, Emily Ho, Wikipedia, Riley's Farm, Whole Foods, Sunrise Seeds, Flickr member threelayercake, Chris Diewald, Flickr member akeg)