Get Outside: Forage

Growing up there was always this one alley nearby that had that largest raspberry bush and it produced the most wonderful raspberries in summertime. My friend and I would grab plastic bags from home and fill them to the brim. After washing them we’d eat them raw, make a simple jam out of them, or freeze them up. This was all before we really knew what we were doing. Later in life some friends and I went mushroom picking on Vashon Island, with a guide who knew specifically what to look for and if we had any questions he was there to help us out. These are just small simple ways that foraging can be accomplished in our urban setting!

Here are a few books in our collection to do some urban foraging yourself:

The Front Yard Forager: Identifying, Collecting, and Cooking the 30 Most Common Urban WeedsFind The Front Yard Forager in the SPL catalog by Melany Vorass Herrera is at the top on the foraging list mostly because the author is a Seattleite that’s fully aware of what this Pacific Northwest city holds. It has everything from decadent recipes to keeping it simple, all while educating you on nutritional information and precautions one should take when foraging in the urban environment. She really knows what she talking about! You will be surprised at what’s edible out there. Continue reading “Get Outside: Forage”

Wild and Green

During the recession of my youth there was one summer when I ate a lot of wild Image of miner's lettuce courtesy dalefarwalker via Flickr Creative Commonsgreens gathered in what was then a very new Discovery Park. My favorite was miner’s lettuce in salads, which would probably be even tastier now that I can afford the EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to dress it. Now weedy greens are in, and you can buy seeds for miner’s lettuce and purslane. Farmers’ market vendors also sell wild mountain blueberries, and wild mushrooms. If you have a yard you may already have nutritious weeds at your doorstep, and if time allows you can still gather these delicacies and more yourself.

I’m very happy to see that the book I used long ago, Doug Benoliel’s Northwest Foraging has been updated and reissued this year. Another title that covers a wider range of plants, both edible and those with other uses, is Janice Schofield’s Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest. And for the wider ranging omnivore, Langdon Cook’s Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager also covers fish and shellfish, and has an anecdotal style better for reading cover to cover.

As part of The Seattle Public Library’s Urban Self-Reliance series, Cook will be giving a lecture and slideshow at the Beacon Hill Branch on Wednesday, October 26th at 6:00 p.m. Cook usually charges for his presentations, but this one is being sponsored by 4Culture, and like all library programs it’s free. Copies of his book will also be available for purchase courtesy of Elliott Bay Books.

                                ~Ruth K., Beacon Hill Branch