I became interested in foraging when I first read the book My Side of The Mountain. I couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12 years old.
The first things I foraged were cherries. We lived in an ancient farmhouse when I was in third grade and I found some cherries in the backyard brush when either playing outside or going next door to visit my grandparents. I didn’t know foraging was a thing but I brought some in and either my parents or grandparents verified them. I don’t recall if we ate them or not.
When I learned foraging was a thing- from that children’s book, mind you, I first foraged honeysuckle blossoms. I pulled out the stigma and tasted the nectar from the bush at the end of my parents’ driveway while I waited for a friend to come pick me up.
The next thing was sassafras roots to make sassafras tea. I remembered asking my parents if it was ok to dig them up because I didn’t know if they needed to ask the landlord first.
I didn’t really forage after that until I was maybe 19? I bought an app for my smartphone. It helped me identify a few things and I picked many dandelions and feasted on blackberries with one of my cousins.
About a month ago my grandma pointed out wood sorrel growing in her garden. It tastes a lot like a mild lemon and I’ve been meaning to make a sorrel tea from it. A couple weeks ago she gave me a purslane plant. I have no idea how it’s still thriving as I usually swiftly kill plants.
She told me it goes great with egg salad, so I made an egg-free egg salad using cheap mustard(the best for egg salad), tofu, vegan mayo, and black salt. The purslane was a perfect addition. I should have added some to my lunch today!
I picked some wild plantain. There’s a bunch of varieties and apparently they’re all edible(I’ve read from many sources- do your own research!). According to my Peterson Field Guide, they’re excellent steamed or in salads. I opted for salad.
I mixed it in with a variety of organic lettuces and drizzled olive oil and included from French olives(I’ll update this with the name from the jar later).
It’s a nice little side dish to my lunch, although I think I’ll opt for the more common wider leafed variant that looks more like tender butter lettuce in the future. This plant was a bit more mature so it’s leaves were fibrous, tougher to chew, and a bit bitter, much like mature spinach. I’m willing to bet money that the common plantain has tastier leaves.