Did you know, many of the plants you see on your daily run or bike ride are actually edible? That’s right, whether harvesting dandelions in an open field or using a field guide to carefully identify wild porcini mushrooms during the rainy summer season, Boulderites have a wealth of ingredients in their own backyards.
“Edible greens are perhaps the most versatile and are easy to identify and harvest,” says Tori Hartsoe of Wildcraft Kitchen. “On any given hike in the Boulder area, you can find wild lettuce, purslane, mustards, chickweed, and more.”
Add these to salads, smoothies, pestos, omelets, or stir-fries, or use aromatics such as yarrow, mild mint, bergamot — even spruce or juniper — to wild herb blends and finishing salts.
“Elderberries, wild plum, and chokecherries are usually ready to harvest late summer. Canning and preserving jams, jellies, and infused honey will last until next year’s harvest,” says Hartsoe.
“If you are lucky enough to find wild asparagus or rhubarb growing along farm roads and irrigation ditches, use just as you would if bought from a store.”
This long-held practice of foraging, otherwise known as ‘wildcraft,’ has forever been relied upon by humanity as the only source of food. Though many of our modern cultivated crops are relics of their distant ancestors, as a whole, we have disassociated the two.
“In my mind, foraging allows us to bridge that gap by building awareness, connection, and appreciation to where our food is sourced,” Hartsoe says. “Utilizing what is indigenous to our environment brings a whole new meaning to the local food movement.”
Published in Boulder Lifestyle, April 2018.