Fantastic Forest Foraging with Savour Winnipeg
Last September I had the pleasure of partaking in a forage expedition with Savour Winnipeg, in conjunction with outdoor educator Barret Miller of FortWhyte Alive. In honour of their new season, here are some pictures and reminiscences. While most of the forage experiences take place in the Assiniboine Forest, the season’s grand finale is at FortWhyte Alive.
We started off from the main building, wandering into the forest and stopping along the way to admire various edible plants – wild licorice, wild sunflower and a saskatoon bush that was unfortunately already finished.
We did, however, find a few wild hazelnuts that were still edible. The chokecherry tree is given that name for a reason, but the fruit actually is edible. I was excited to be able to pick some oak leaves – I put them in with my pickles and the tannin in the leaves keeps them nice and crisp. Grape leaves will do this, too.
The willow is a natural analgesic. Cattails are edible for a good part of the year, but alas in September they had gone to seed and Barret advised against tasting them. If you are lost in the wild, you can always go for duckweed on the pond – ducks eat it and we can, too. Of course there is always the humble dandelion. This time of year I am buying dandelion greens from the grocery store, but I am looking forward to being able to forage them in my own yard – or anywhere else I can be sure they have not been sprayed with nasty stuff.
I was surprised to learn that wild plantains grow in Manitoba, although of course they don’t look like bananas. The wild sage smelled wonderful. We ended up by collecting wild mint and rosehips for our tea. Ben had lit a fire while the rest of us were foraging, boiled water and now we triumphantly dumped our treasures into the pot. A refreshing glass of rosehip tea was a wonderful end to an educational and deeply satisfying experience.
A Fabulous Giveaway!
Savour Winnipeg has kindly partnered with me to offer you the chance of winning one of their Fantastic Forest Forage Experience dates for free! It’s already an amazing value at $25 for the whole series, but wouldn’t it be fun to get 20% off? Just leave a comment on the blog before April 30 and I will randomly choose a winner at that time. The first forage is May 25 so don’t delay!