French Sorrel Soup with Dandelion Flower Garnish

Oak Trees - Quercus spp.

Prickly Pear Cactus - Opuntia spp.

Lambs Quarters - Chenopodium album

Fireweed (not local)- Chamerion angustifolium

Yaupon Holly - Ilex vomitoria

American Lotus & Sacred Lotus - Nelumbo spp.

Salsify, Goatsbeard - Tragopogon spp.

Pawpaw - Asimina spp.

The Question: Why forage for edible wild foods?

The Answer: There are sooooo many reasons....

When I started foraging as a teenager, I thought it was cool to be able to just walk out into the woods and find something free to eat instead of doing what I watched others do - buy groceries in the store. The color pictures in the back of that mostly black and white Army Survival Manual were mesmerizing, magnetic - even hypnotizing to me. In retrospect, the pictures and descriptions weren't all that great - luckily I didn't poison myself. Our ancestors foraged for food in Europe and many of those plants are found growing here in the United States as they followed our ancestors. Also, there are many plants that were eaten and used for medicine by the Indians before our ancestors even stepped foot on this continent. For those of us who have European and Native American ancestors - we feel right at home surrounded by both the native and the introduced edible wild plants. I think it's both wise and fascinating to learn about wild foraged foods and also the old ways of preserving foods for the harsh winter months arrive. Our ancestors did these things without the aid of electricity, freezers, or for that matter, mason jars. Much of that information is not being utilized today and the fear is that collectively it's being lost to new generations who have become increasingly dependent on a more fragile system. I forage because I enjoy it. It gets me out in nature and constantly reminds me that there's more to eat in the woods than the traditional wild game and fowl.

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