More Foraging with Savour Winnipeg

Mary AnnThe following is a guest post by my friend Mary Ann Rosenbloom.

What’s not to like about “weeds” when you get to know them?

On May 25th my husband and I were fortunate enough to go on the first of several foraging walks in Assiniboine Forest. These are sponsored by Savour Winnipeg and led by two wonderfully competent instructor guides: Barret and Ben.

I have always had an interest in what grows wild…be it flora or fauna…and wanted to know more about what is and what is not edible in the flora department. This was a great opportunity and we will continue to hunt out plants over the coming months as they grow and ripen.

On this first excursion our group of around 12 included a nutritionist, two chefs, a raw food vegan and those of us just plain curious. Our guides led us through parts of the forest that were boggy, dry and marshy and each area revealed its own treasures. We saw wild mint just poking its head through the ground and morels living amongst the deadfall. We were able to sample everything from dandelion leaves to Oak flowers to cattail root. We learned to identify as yet dormant bushes such as hawthorn (beware the deadly thorns!). We were given a small booklet on identifying and cooking our new wild foods but this is no substitute for seeing them ‘in the green’ so to speak and especially noting their natural habitats for future foraging tips.

What was my favourite taste of the day? For certain the cattail root which is quite reminiscent of cucumber. I came away with an increased respect for nature and what we have been provided…one need never starve in the wild, and we can use these gifts even when we aren’t. A simple piece of aspen bark, boiled till ‘tender’ will provide you with enough nutrition to save you when starving. It is apparently NOT comparable to a good steak but, then, Charlie Chaplin ate his boot in his starving trek during the gold rush.

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