So near and yet so far. That’s how I feel about the upcoming foraging season. Here in Mid-Coast Maine, wild plants are still largely too small to harvest or they haven’t yet grown above ground.
Being anxious to go out and pick something, anything, I consulted various guidebooks and noted two wild plants that I had not yet tried. Both are available right now.
First, I tried an infusion (tea) of northern white cedar, Thuja occidentalis. One author described this as “evergreen-tasting.” So I picked a slight handful of leaves, chopped them up, placed them in a teacup and added boiling water. I let the stuff steep for about 10 minutes and then drained off the tea into a fresh cup.
So with a degree of excitement, I took my first swig. YEKKK! It was awful. The guy who said it was evergreen-tasting probably never tried it, or else he, too, would agree with me that northern white cedar tea tastes like what skunk spray smells like…perhaps even worse.
Next, I read that coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, flowers and stems can be eaten fresh or cooked and are supposed to have a pleasant flavor. So I headed out back to give it a try. It took only a short while before a pronounced flavor manifested itself. Unfortunately, this, too, was a bad, bad flavor, something to avoid. The nasty taste lingered far too long on my unsuspecting palate.
I realize that taste is subjective. But even so, it seems difficult for me to comprehend how anyone could confuse “pleasant” and “terrible.” But people do.
Live and learn, I guess, is my motto for today.