Category Archives: foraging

Dill Pickles can be made from those big orange cucumbers too


Back in 2014 I posted a column about making sweet pickles from big overripe cucumbers. I included a recipe my mother used and still makes for her church. She’s now almost 88.  The recipe was called Ruth’s pickles and I … Continue reading

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Winter foraging can be fun and challenging


Collecting edibles near your home can be a satisfying and money-saving hobby. It’s fun realizing there are things right under your nose that are tasty and available in quantities needed for a family meal. Winter is a lean time of … Continue reading

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Giant puffballs are common and nearly impossible to misidentify


Those who know me know I’m paranoid about leading foragers astray, especially mushroom hunters. Recently, someone asked me to identify a picture of a mushroom in her yard, and it was a giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) They’re common this time … Continue reading

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Black gum is an underused landscape tree


Trees are beginning to change color. One of the earliest and most spectacular is the black gum. You won’t see much of it in domestic landscapes around here, but maybe you should. Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a common forest … Continue reading

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Canning can be a rewarding hobby


When I was young, home-canned fruits and vegetables were a mainstay of our diets. I especially loved the jams and jellies, particularly wild strawberry. There was never a problem finding canning supplies in stores. The home-canning supplies seemed to dwindle … Continue reading

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Many poisonous mushrooms await foraging greenhorns


I’ve never been one to promote mushroom foraging even though I do it myself, and there are many relatively safe fungi out there. Too many poisonous lookalikes abound. I’ve taught long enough to know that no matter how concrete and … Continue reading

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Cilantro is a versatile herb with a long history


Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb used in numerous recipes from various cultures. It’s also known by different names, including coriander, Mexican parsley and Chinese parsley. It’s been cultured for at least 5000 years. Many Egyptian tombs contain seeds … Continue reading

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Comfrey is a plant of many misconceptions


Pick up any book on poisonous plants and comfrey will be in it. It is an old-time herb that has been used for centuries for various things. Some folks eat it. Some make tea. Some make topical medicines from it. … Continue reading

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Ground cherries are underappreciated wild fruits


The internet is a great place to gain knowledge. It’s also a bastion for false or misleading information. Sometimes I read something and laugh. Then I wonder how many other people read that same thing and were scared by it. … Continue reading

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Oyster mushrooms are a common fungus on deciduous trees


A friend of mine brought in a mushroom sample recently for me to identify. I smiled when I saw it. When I was a teenager, it was one of my favorites to collect. My dad and I usually found it … Continue reading

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