Wintertime = Very Little Wild Cookery!


The first snow has laced the ground a few days ago with it’s silvery veil. Dusting the forest floor in a sheet of white. The plants are all covered in snow and the temperature has dropped low enough that most of the greens have been storing their energy in their roots now and pumping alcohols instead of sugars into their leaves in an attempt to survive the cold.

It’s melted now. But it shall return.

What greens exist now are scraggly little things. Barely clinging on since the turn of the seasons.

Gone are the tall dandelions, dock, thistle, plantain, and abundant wild garlic greens.

Those won’t be back until late March or early April.

Now enters my least favorite time of year.

Foraging is pretty much nil, and we rely on the supplies that we stocked up during the warmer and more fruitful months.

Unfortunately this year’s winter storage of wild food has been nearly a complete bust, for reasons earlier this year that readers are aware of, and which do not need to be repeated here.

Which means that we’ll be forced to rely on more store bought goods than we usually would.

Which also means that our normally much more ‘wild’ diets will begin to suffer a bit, as we’ll only have a limited amount of wild foods on hand and will have to ration them out through the winter.

Oh, we’ll have plenty of food. No worries there. It’s just what KIND of food it will be.

Usually half way through winter I’m so hungry for spring greens that I practically pounce on the first dandelions when I see them poking up in early spring, and tend to nab a few when they’re only a few inches long. Same with wild garlic. But what tends to come up first is the garlic mustard and the bitter cress, which I definitely will be looking for and forward too this coming spring, as I’ll definitely need the wild nutrients after a winter of modern so called ‘food’.

I’ve never looked forward to a spring, the way I look forward to this coming spring in 2013.

The weather has warmed up a bit, and will continue to do so the next few days, or so the weatherman says. One last ‘hurrah’ of 50’s before we plummet full on into winter and get ready for 3 months of freezing hell.

I found some Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) at the edge of my garage still hanging on. It’ll overwinter just fine. Then, in the spring, I’ll let it get a bit bigger before I eat it to ensure it doesn’t take over my phlox and irises. 😉

Garlic Mustard

Oh well, I’ll have a quarter of a year or more to remember why I hate the cold so much. 😛

Which reminds me. Now is the perfect season to learn about foraging, where you’ll have all winter long to read over things and learn them, and when the first snows melt,  you’ll be able to jump in with both feet and go find some wild goodies! 🙂

You can start here:

Also there is a Youtube channel that ‘Green’ Deane Jordan has with over 130 videos.

And there is also a forum available for you to get to know other foragers, ask a few questions, and make a few fine foraging friends! 🙂

Categories: Food Health, Green, Plant Photos, Weather, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Wintertime = Very Little Wild Cookery!

  1. The Market I blog for is named after a plant that grows naturally throughout Appalachia but apparently was best appreciated here in the hills of West Virginia. I have a friend who has told me stories of his school days. One that had me rolling on the floor laughing was how the first sign of the wild ramps in the spring would send people foraging to enjoy the fresh greens. The problem happened the next day when the oils in the plant started to seep out through the skin…..causing the air in a one room back woods school house to get a bit….hmmmm….ripe. My friend believed that some kids who never really appreciated veggies ate wild ramps eagerly in order to get out of school. The state passed a law that no one is permitted to eat a “mess of ramps” if they plan to attend a public gathering within 2 days.

    • Heh. That is indeed quite funny. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      The wild garlic that I have however is the ‘friendly’ kind. You can eat as much as you want, and you won’t have garlic breath or garlic anything else. Though if you eat too many, like much of anything else, it’ll ensure you are quite ‘regular’ in a hurry. Greens and roughage and all that. 😉 I have three different kinds of allium within spitting distance. Two give garlic breath, but the wild garlic (Allium canadense).

      The difference between wild garlic and field garlic, is that field garlic has hollow leaves (think chives here), and gives you ‘garlic breath’. Wild garlic has flattened leaves which are not hollow and does NOT give you garlic breath. Hence, since we have access to a huge patch in springtime, we eat plenty of it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Wintertime = Very Little Wild Cookery! | Traditions & Skills of Every Day Life

  3. I just got the Baker creek Catalog and I’m adding in some wild garlic to plant on the shaded side northeast side of the house. The Bakercreek folks are adding in a lot of wild plant seed to the catalog this year so it will be fun to see how they grow!

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