Last week our homeschool coop joined local author/environmental activist Jim Merkyl for a wild foods walk. We looked at a few common herbs and weeds (curly dock, stinging nettle, large leaf aster and lamb's quarters shown *) dug a few roots, and learned how to dry herbs to save for winter use.
As most of these large group things go we learned a bit, but most valuable was the renewed interest in edible wild foods that it has encouraged in our house. We've been turning to the Peterson Guide to edible plants, and have learned about a local (to us) wild food book by a neighbor author. We'll be ordering that soon!
In the meantime we've been digging wild sarsaparilla root (not one of my favorites), winter green and peppermint for tea, dandelion greens with white beans and garlic, anxiously awaiting cattail pollen, and trying our hand at drying some greens for the pantry. Unfortunately being able to questionably identify so many of our garden weeds as edible has posed an interesting issue in the vegetable garden. Do I save room for these "pesky" weeds that I now know are nutritious and edible? Or rip them out and toss them to the chickens? So far our chickens are getting mighty healthy, and our kale seedlings have a bit more space, but its not without a little lingering and indecision on my part. At least I won't have to feel too bad when the weeding doesn't get done.