Wild Plants and Wooly Bears
As we go into the third week of November, winter sits just around the corner. Even now, wild edibles are scarce. Wild plant fans are limited to harvesting roots and a few evergreen leaves. Diligent foragers, though, have one prime location left…the home freezer.
My freezer contains, among other things, fiddleheads, dandelions, stinging nettles and curled dock. Who would think to find such unorthodox treats in a freezer? On the other hand, why shouldn’t wild edibles share shelf space with more conventional fare? After all, the above-named plants lend themselves well to freezing. Fiddleheads, for instance, keep their integrity for a year or more when properly packaged and frozen.
So while others content themselves with a winter diet of wilted produce from the supermarket, I re-live glorious days afield by foraging in my freezer. Some may revel in spinach soufflé, but I luxuriate in fiddlehead Alfredo. Steamed nettles complete with a dash of lemon and enhanced with a pepper medley, bring a flush of warmth to wind-whipped cheeks. And instead of broccoli grown in Mexico and treated with who-knows-what kind of chemicals, I enjoy the occasional side dish of naturally-grown dandelion greens.
What about those souls who failed to put up foraged foods this past season? Well, there’s nothing for it now but when spring rolls around, which it always does, it might pay to embark on a campaign to fill the home freezer with tasty, nutritious wild edibles.