Foraging in My Own Back (and Front) Yards

There's a lot to eat out there, it's true

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By David Hammond

After foraging through Oak Park with Nancy Klehm, I started looking more carefully at the food growing all around me…some of it pretty close to home, literally, in my back and front yards.

So one evening, as the sun was going down, I wandered around my house, clipping dandelion greens and picking some fresh chives. It was all growing of its own accord on my property, which I feel entitled to harvest.

I cooked up the dandelion greens and chives with some beef, rice and cumin. The chives, in particular, added a lot of powerful fresh flavor to the mix; the dandelion greens looked nice, but for them to add flavor, you really need to add a lot and I had maybe one and one-half cups of them.

There's going to be a lot more growing in my yards this summer. I mentioned earlier that Creeping Charley is actually edible, so that's cool, and so is Hosta.

About the Hosta, Klehm said, "You can cut it up and use it just like cabbage."

I will do that.

A general rule about harvesting from the wild is that it's usually best to eat stuff when it's young and tender; as it gets older, according to Klehm, it acquires more medicinal qualities but it gets less pleasant to eat.

"Kind of like people," analogized Klehm. "We're sweet when we're young, and as we get older we acquire wisdom."


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Elle from Oak Park  

Posted: May 17th, 2013 12:28 PM

Just be sure that anything you forage has not been treated with pesticides (many backyards are) and even hostas may have chemicals applied at the nurseries that might make them unsafe. As always, wash thoroughly! Rabbits poop in your backyard too!

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