On a recent post-rain hike, my partner gathered five pounds of prized chanterelle mushrooms! We don't usually think of foraging for wild food in winter but depending on where you live, there may be some treasures right in your backyard or local park. The chanterelles Gregory found in Southern California included two species: Cantharellus cibarius, or golden chanterelle, and Cantharellus californicus, or mud puppy or oak chanterelle. Even though he was fairly confident about his discoveries, he double-checked with our local mycological society and a couple of mushroom experts to make sure they were safe to eat.
Meanwhile, I was visiting family in the Hill Country area of Texas where I found edibles like chile pequín, sumac, and prickly pear fruit.
Even if you live in a colder region, you may be able to find foods like nuts, sorrel, field garlic, and winter cress. Do you have any winter foraging finds to share?
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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