A Swallow Tail Wild Edibles Adventure


On rainy Saturday, my friend W and I went on a Swallow Tail Wild Edibles tour. We were suppose to meet at BC Mills House, but because we got lost...multiple times...while heading to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, we found the group nearby. It was raining very hard so I didn't bring out my DSLR and just used my phone camera.

Our tour guide was Alexander, who is standing next to a thimbleberry bush above. He was very knowledgable about the various plants we saw along the tour and also gave us ideas and recipes on how to eat them! Too bad I didn't note any down. The group suggested he write up a cookbook and I think that is a great idea! *hint hint*

This is a thimbleberry leaf which has the characteristic 3 points.

A thimbleberry flower. Because of the colder weather we are experiencing, there is no fruit yet in the higher elevations.

Next us, Alexander showed us edible ferns. We would eat the fiddleheads, which is unfurled young sprouts of ferns. The fern above is a sword fern and it is edible but doesn't taste very good.

Here's a grove of Lady ferns, which are more spindly than the sword fern and it's fiddleheads are good to eat. This patch was passed the harvest point though.

Alexander showing us the leaves of Oregon Grape Holly, which I have growing in my garden! The yellow flowers are edible and so are the grapes. The grapes are very sour. You can boil them and strain the juice, add a cup of sugar to a cup of grapes and make jelly with it.

We also tried a honeysuckle flower. Bite the bottom of the flower and suck out the nectar!

Goat Beard. I didn't hear if we can eat them but they are a popular in perennial gardens.

Wild blueberries! Tart but delicious.

Here's a lesser plantain leaf. The plant is lower flatter in growth than the greater Plantain. Plantains are THE survival plant. They are full of vitamins and have medicinal purposes.

Miner's Lettuce. We just ate the plant, flowers and all. After this we descended into the forest.

Elderberry flowers are white, fragrant and edible, and the berries are full of vitamins. The above photo is the berries that aren't ripe yet.

Yay! More wild blueberries! There were so many on this bush. Harvesters use a berry rake to gather the berries quickly.

Salmonberries are plentiful but many were not that ripe. We kept seeking for the ripe salmonberries but all the ones we tried were so tart!

Mustardcress or bittercress. Like it's namesake, it tasted bitter.

Next up was a liquorice fern root. Liquorice ferns commonly grow on trees and grow leaf by leaf instead of bushy like other ferns. We were given a small piece of rhizome each to chew on. The rhizome was very flavourful tasting like liquorice, bitter yet sweet at the same time.

Coming back up, we saw a tall cottonwood tree. Alexander told us how to make a caramel like cream with the budding flowers. In the spring, take the bud, boil under hot water, strain, add cream. It will taste a lot like caramel!

We spotted a greater plantain growing on the side. It grows more upright than the lesser plantain.

Catsear dandelions along the roadside. You take the tips and eat the flowers.

More Miner's Lettuce. They are everywhere! The stems are really juicy.

Alexander spotted a candytuft (?) plant and he let us in on a secret of his: they are an indicator species and where they grow, most likely there will be morel mushrooms growing nearby!

These giant Horsetails can be boiled to make tea. Dunno how it would taste though...

I forgot what this plant was but I think it's leaves are lemon flavoured?

That the end of our tour and we headed back to the BC Mills House to eat a vegetarian lunch.

There are a lot of interesting things in the BC Mills House.

Our tour guide laid out some useful books we could look at to learn about more wild edibles. He said that The Boreal Herbal by Beverley Gray is a good one.

Alexander prepared an amazing feast that he made himself while his dog Zeus curiously investigated the cabin. lol

Tomatoes, all fresh from local farms. The deliciously sweet snap peas are from Alexander's garden! He said that he sows the seeds in February in heated soil with added microbes and under plastic which keeps them warm and by now he gets a lot of harvest each week when most people are just sowing now!

Pickled Ramp. So delicious!

Pate. Yum!

Greens harvested from Alexander's own garden. Some of them pack a big punch!

Lots of bread to go with pate.

Welcome hot tea to warm our rain-soaked bones made from Douglas Fir Spring Tips. It smells amazing and tastes amazing as well! I think he got the tea from California.


So yummy!

The Swallow Tail Wild BC Edibles tour run every Saturday and Sunday and lasts about 2 hours. I had a lot of fun (even with the rain) and the tour was very interesting and educational. In the fall, they forage for mushrooms instead of or in addition to these greens. I'm very interested in attending that.

Now I can live off the land eating salmonberries, Miner's lettuce and dandelions. Bwhahaha!

Here's another post about the Wild Edibles Tour via WanderFood Wednesday!

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1 comment:

Matt said...

Great post! That lunch looks great:)