I started a meetup group last year that I just closed. I don’t see a reason to pay for communicating when and where we will have tours and classes on wild edibles and the other skills I will be discussing. I am interested in feedback on some ideas for this year as we get close to better weather that will allow foraging.
I’m thinking about doing some bartering for classes rather than only allowing cash payment. What do you think? Would this help more of you come out?
I spend a lot of time researching when I can to learn about the wild edibles we have around us but when scheduling time away from my family to teach others I like to have people show up and compensation for my time is nice to help me feel that it is worth doing. If people don’t show it does get a bit frustrating so give me some feedback.
What is a good price you would be willing to pay for learning good information about wild edibles?
Would you be interested in bartering tools, knowledge or food/water for a class?
Let’s discuss it and get some good ideas out so we can all enjoy a great year this year becoming more prepared.
This was meant to be published last November. I have been up to Midway since and we are still in the dead of winter here and still not a lot out there. I can’t wait for it to warm up. Here is my winter post:
I took a scouting trip up to Midway and Heber Utah this past weekend. We had the first real snow of the year for the valleys in Utah and it was gorgeous up there. Once again I was amazed at the bounty that nature offers and was thrilled to be able to identify many wild edibles in the area. We stayed at Johnson Mill bed and breakfast in Midway and enjoyed spectacular views of the country from our balcony.
There were many crabapple trees nearby and I even saw some currant bushes in the area although there were no berries to be found at this time of year. Identifying edibles in the winter, even if not currently edible or providing the food they can offer later, is important because then you know where to look when they are in season. This is something I have learned over the years as I have learned about foraging wild edibles.
Here is a list of some of the things you can still find available in the winter months.
- Burdock root
- Yellow dock root
- Yellow dock leaves
- Dandelion (whole plant)
I decided to take a trip up the canyon last week with a friend from work. We have had some cold nights and I wanted to see what the berries and foods looked like up there after the freeze. As expected, the Elderberries were drying on the vine and they don’t taste near as good as those dried in a dehydrator. 🙂 The Mountain ash was a little sweeter if you can call it that. The first taste is almost a sharp sweet flavor followed by that horrible bitter flavor that is Mountain ash. that was lots of fun tasting that one again. I hear lots of sugar makes it taste all right. I guess lots of sugar can do that for about anything.
While on this trip we came across a sharp rock in the road that proved fatal to my driver side front tire. Be careful when out there looking for these wild edibles. I have driven that road many times but this time I was able to find the rock I was not looking for.
What a pain to get that jack out but all worked out fine and I found a new place to get cheap tires. Victors Tire in Lehi had some great tires with good tread at a very low price so I was happy when it all worked out.
If you have ever had a similar situation, tell us about it through the Leave a Reply link above.
As fall comes along and the weather gets colder most of our edibles will go through a change. Some are less edible at this time of year and others are getting to their best. Many of our greens have passed their season or they are putting their energy into their roots. With fruit bearing plants this is a time when if they still have fruit to offer that fruit will start to get sweeter because the plant will put it’s energy (sugars) into the fruit. This means elderberries are bigger and less tart than they are earlier in the year.
Here in Utah we have the blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). I have not seen the black elderberry tree at all yet. The red elderberry has been reported by some to have toxic factors in the seeds. I have eaten several hands full of them this year with no ill effects but we are all made different so who knows how others will react. The blue elderberries on the other hand are plentiful and delicious. You can make a great jam or syrup from them and they are valuable to fight the flu so gather as much as you can. You can freeze them or dry them for later processing if you desire. I generally will cut the entire umbel of berries and then freeze them like that and pull the berries off after they have frozen. They come off quite well this way without any stems.
Use a stick with a small branch as a hook to pull the high branches low enough to harvest.
Close shot of blue elderberries
We harvested a lot of great tasting food this past weekend again. Elderberries are getting good sized in AF canyon above Silver Lake Flat and the Oregon grapes are getting sweeter and big up there as well. There are still some chokecherries that are ripening but many that were ripe and dark. It made for a good harvest and I think the Nobles enjoyed it.
Use a stick with a small branch as a hook to pull the high branches low enough to harvest.
Chokecherries not yet ripened. Just above Tibble Fork right off the road.
David, Jesse and Diane harvesting Oregon Grape.
We saw a lot of Oregon grape and it was hard to leave any of them unpicked. They were large and juicy and tasting pretty good this time of year. We ended up with gallons of berries all together, Elderberry, Oregon grape and Chokecherry with a little Serviceberry mixed in.
Wow! So many edibles and so little time. Our Elderberry harvest went well on Saturday. We saw many other plants and collected a lot of elderberries and chokecherries. There is such an abundance up there and it was just a beautiful area to collect. I noticed many other stands of elderberry as we drove up and as we came back down. There are also many other delicious berries available up there.
Here are some pics from this last harvest.
Blue Elderberry Tree
Unripe and ripe chokecherries
We harvested a lot of berries last week and one of the group made me some chokecherry syrup and elderberry jam. Thanks Angelica! Here is a link to some good info about using chokecherries: Unripe and ripe chokecherries:
Chokecherries are a great edible berry, or are they a cherry? As the name suggests they are a cherry and they do have a pit in the center like the larger cherries but they are small like a berry so you might think of them that way when you see them. Chokecherries will show a pretty red color when they are not yet ripe and turn to a deep black when they are ripe. Depending on what you intend to do with them they are good both when ripe and when red. If you want to make Chokecherry jelly you should use both ripe and unripe cherries because the cherries that are less ripe will offer some natural pectin and help with making the jelly.
Here are some images to help you identify this edible.
- Ripe black Chokcherries
About 2 gallons of ripe chokecherries
I have had emails and comments from people outside of my area interested in wild edible training. I would be willing to travel a bit to do a workshop or tour for you in your area if you can pull together a group of interested individuals who want to be educated on wild Edibles. The cost will vary based on what topics will be covered but I will do my best to make it affordable for any interested.
Would you like to have a tour or workshop on edibles in your area? Let me know where you are and how many are interested and we can put some workshops together. There is something in just about every climate so it is a good idea to know what is available in your area and what can be done with it.
I started a page on facebook for wild utah edibles to help get the word out. I’d like to be able to do more with the site and with this topic so please do share the content and I’ll make sure to keep things updated and exciting. I have more pictures and data than I have time to list right now. Spread the word and I’ll keep bringing the goods!
My Kids Enjoying Some Thimbleberries
I have been working on creating Wild Utah Edibles for about 3 years now and it is my passion to learn about wild edibles and to share that information. It is a daunting task to do as one person however. I have spent several hours today trying to update my pages, add a blog post or two and write info and edit images to upload. I love the work and look forward to making WildUtahEdibles a real authority for edible plants and other survival details for Utah and the west.
I hope you are enjoying the information and I hope to continue to update the site for years to come. if you are able and so inclined I would ask for any donation you are willing to give to help me continue this work. Your donations will allow me to work more to provide this much needed information to those who seek it. It will also enable me to remove the ads from the site.
Thank you, Mike Wood