We are definitely starting to feel that Autumn is fully upon us, and this season is ripe for foragers! Fortunately, there are so many things to search for out there and use in our cooking. When we forage for and create eco-recipes for our meals, snacks, and drinks directly from nature, we have such control of what goes into our bodies as well as start to understand and appreciate the ecosystems around us a little bit more.
What are you foraging for in Autumn? Here in Southeastern PA, there are many goodies available, from the fruits of the native Black Tupelo tree, to the invasive fruits of the Autumn Olive shrub. Mushrooms are starting to pop up like crazy, and there are many Chicken of the Woods, Chanterelles, and Turkey Tails available to use, provided we’ve identified them correctly.
Are you new to foraging and want to learn how to get started and what foraging etiquette to abide by as you harvest?
Get inspired to forage with some of these wild-plant based snacks and autumn eco-recipes and you’ll never look at the natural world the same way again!
Dice all veggies and add into the jar. Stir together. As you stir, you may notice that the levels that they fill the jar decrease. Feel free to add more of any type of vegetable. Occasionally, I will supplement with black or kidney beans. Add spices & lime juice, and stir again. Harvest and wash Nasturtium flowers, removing any extra stems or unwanted debris. Be sure to leave the back, pointy end of the flower, as this is where much of the spicy flavor is located! Chop or rip up the flowers into bite sized pieces and stir into your salsa mixture. Enjoy with tortillas (I personally love it with blue corn chips)! Store in the refrigerator. Salsa can last for up to 3 months in the fridge.
Wash all berries and mush them up in a saucepan with water. Inside the pectin box, you will be able to find a table of ratios that will instruct you how much water to add to the saucepan based on the type and amount of berries that you foraged. Follow those ratios for both the water AND the sugar. Boil the berries and water quickly for 1 minute, then strain the fruit bits out (If desired. I only strained out the black cherry pits, but kept the rest for a chunky jam). Add sugar, and boil again while stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Quickly pour jam mixture into your clean ball jars and fully seal. Jam will be ready to store in the refrigerator or pantry once you hear the pressurized lid “pop”. My 2 1/2 c. mixed berries created 6 full pint jars of wildberry jam.
Harvest and wash your goldenrod flowers gently. Dry flowers between paper towels for a few days, or quickly in the microwave (do not heat the flowers in the microwave for more than 20 seconds at a time!). Once the flowers are dried, add to clean jar. Pour honey overtop of the flowers and seal the container. Every day, for one week, flip the jar over to ensure that all of the flowers are being covered and infusing their goodness into the honey. When prepared to serve, slice pears thinly and lay them out, slightly overlapping each other. Microwave (or double boil) the honey mixture until it becomes very runny, then strain or pick out the flowers (discard them or eat them raw). Drizzle honey over the pears, then crumble the feta overtop.
Follow the instructions on the cupcake mix box, or follow your favorite cupcake recipe! Gently wash and remove the petals from the flowers. During the step where you add flour, or the dry ingredients, also add the flower petals (leaving a handful to the side to add to the icing) and mix in. Finish the recipe as directed. Once the cupcakes have come out of the oven baked and cooled, spread buttercream frosting overtop. You can either mix the remaining petals into the frosting, or use as a garnish.
Wash the harvested fruits and remove unwanted debris. Add fruits and 2 c. water to a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Some of the water may boil off – don’t worry about that! Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the fruits are easily squished (rosehips can be rather hard sometimes and need to soften). Once the fruits are soft, mush them up with the side of a spoon, or a fruit masher. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out seeds and pour remaining liquid into a pitcher. Add the lime juice, remaining water, and sugar to the pitcher. Adjust the sweetness to taste by adding more sugar or lime juice if needed. Serve cold. You may notice some separation of color/autumn olive skins; this is natural! Stir quickly before serving to blend the autumn olive skins and color throughout the drink.
Now that you’re more comfortable with foraging, learn more about creating specialty drinks with wild-edibles, regardless of the season with my “Trails-to-Tasting” Foraging Guide & Cocktail Eco-Recipe Book!
Discover more wonders of the natural world, tips for how to forage, and some eco-recipes and tutorials on my YouTube channel’s Wild-Edibles & Foraging playlist!