We want everyone to enjoy their wild foods! We're collecting recipes for native and invasive wild species, and you are welcome to send us your favorites.
Recipes for wild greens:
Harvest your greens responsibly! Make sure you have identified what you plan to harvest; know the rules for where you plan to harvest; know what your target species is eaten by and check for caterpilars; harvest in the least damaging way; only harvest what you are ready to eat, preserve, or share right away; leave some for others (including wildlife).
Nettles (Urtical dioica):
Responsible wild harvest includes knowing the ecology of what you're harvesting. Stinging nettle are the larval food source for Milbert's tortoiseshell and red admiral butterflies; please check your patch for caterpillars, frass (caterpillar poop), and buds stuck together or leaves rolled up by sheltering caterpillars. Nettle stings are not harmful, but can be painful, so wearing gloves to harvest is recommended. Nettles should be harvested before they bloom, and only take the top 3-4 leaf whorls so the plant can regrow and bloom. Versatile nettle greens can be used like spinach in many cooked dishes. For full nutritional value nettles should be eaten with oil, fat, or butter, since they are rich in fat soluble carotene (pre-cursor to Vitamin A) and Vitamin K.
Recipes for wild fruits:
Harvest your berries responsibly! Invasive species like Himalya blackberry and English hawthorn can be freely harvested, be more judicious with native species. Fruit are how these plants reproduce, so make sure to leave plenty for the next generation. Make sure you have identified what you plan to harvest; know the rules for where you plan to harvest; harvest in the least damaging way; only harvest what you are ready to eat, preserve, or share right away; leave some for others (including wildlife).
English Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna):
Invasive English hawthorn berries can be harvested by picking whole clusters. Remove seeds before consuming.
Pacific crabapple (Malus fusca):
Berry sized native crabapple make up in flavor what they lack in size. Harvest ripe crabapple by removing whole clusters (leave plenty for birds and other wildlife), sort to remmove any overripe (fermenting), damaged, or very green crabapples. Cover with water and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, pour off hot water and add cold water to cool. Carefully pull the stem from each crabapple, rechecking for any bad ones. A twist may be necessary to remove stems without slipping the skins (and much of the pulp) off the apples. Remove seeds by putting through a food mill. Crabapple pulp freezes well.
Salal (Gautheria shallon):
Salal fruits abundantly in late summer, and ripens over a long period of time, harvest large ripe berries (you can take the whole raceme and destem the individual berries at home). Salal is important late summer food for birds, harvest only what you need. Berries can be preserved by mashing and drying, freezing, or canning in preserves. Salal is high in antioxidant anthocyanin pigments.
Recipes for fish:
Surf Smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus)
Don't discard eggs when cleaning salmon! You can make them into fresh salmon caviar.