Forager’s Report – 5.11.17
- Devil’s club buds (Echinopanax horridum)
- Fiddleheads (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
- Nettles (Urtica sp.)
- Twisted stalk (Stretopus amplexifolius)
- Beach greens (Honckenya peploides)
- Fireweed shoots (Epilobium angustifolium)
- Spruce tips (Picea sitchensis)
- Morels (Morchella tomentosa)
- Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum)
- Goose Tongue (Plantago maritima)
We are now deep into some of the best foraging time here in Southeast Alaska. With a great mix of rain and sun, plus a classic snowy winter behind us, the timing is perfect for picking all of the goodies listed above. And you still have four days left of the spring grouse season! I lucked into my first hooter a couple of weeks ago, also known as the Sooty Grouse – Dendragapus fuliginosus).
Devils Club is poppin! I did a write-up yesterday of a basic how-to, including the handy little video above! In some of the warmer parts of Juneau the leaves are already too big, but there are plenty still at the right size for picking if you look.
Fiddleheads are also out everywhere. I’m not planning on picking fiddleheads this year, mostly because I find them to be an exercise in frustration (due to how difficult they are to clean), but they sure are both tasty and pretty. Although I recently heard a tip on how to quickly clean them – bring along a mesh bag and stick them in a stream! Let me know if it works, ’cause I ain’t pickin them until there’s an easy way to deal with them.
Nettles are in as well. Look in avalanche zones (now that most of the snow is safely gone) and pick just the top sections of the plants. Nettles are one of the more widely used foraged goods we have here in Southeast Alaska and maybe for that reason I haven’t spent much time experimenting with them. Even so, looking forward to some nettles chips in my future!
Twisted Stalk is well on its way this spring. Twisted stalk seems to love the same areas that you’ll find devil’s club, so I typically pick them in tandem. A simple, bright, crisp green with hints of cucumber, I enjoy mixing twisted stalk into my salad greens or tossing into a light brothy soup. I also recently rough chopped a bunch to throw in with a devil’s club pesto pasta (delicious!).
Beach greens – The lovely bright young beach greens are out and ready to pick. You can pick this plant throughout the summer (as long as you’re digging into the center of the plant and picking the youngest bits), but right now is the best time to gather beach greens. Yummy used as kimchi, or just barely warmed in a saute!
Fireweed Shoots – you can still gather fireweed shoots for a little bit, these young shoots look quite a bit like asparagus. I’m planning on pickling a jar to use for bloody marys.
Salt & Soil Marketplace is kicking off in Juneau and I’m so excited to see where this goes. Essentially an online farmer’s market crossed with a CSA but with all local food, including seafood, farmed veggies, foraged goods, homemade goods, and who knows what else! Any new ways to get local food sounds great to me. They’re not ready for ordering yet, but I’ve seen that they are conducting vendor training if anyone is interested in becoming a vendor with them.
What are you picking? What are you seeing out there?