Foraging season is on! In Northern California, Miner's lettuce (left) and fennel (right) are perfect for the picking; as the snow thaws on the eastern seaboard and Appalachia, locals are on the lookout for signs of ramps, and Midwesterners are gearing up for morel mushroom festivals. Forest dwellers know there is only a limited window for harvesting fiddlehead ferns and it is near; New Yorkers can sign up for foraging tours in Central and Prospect Park and learn how to make "Five Borough Salad", and Los Angelenos are mapping the city streets for public domain fruit trees.
Miner's Lettuce Miner's Lettuce (above, left) is a beautiful gem of a wild green. It's round, deep green and has a tiny white bloom in its center. It grows after rainy season in big bunches, so it's easy to harvest and it self sows, so you don't have to be too worried about over-picking.
Dandelion Greens You should have no problem finding and identifying these, and people will gladly let you harvest them from your yard. While the entire plant -- flower, root and leaf is edible, this time of year, focus on the leaf. Harvest it before the flower comes so it's small and not too bitter. It has a bitter flavor and this can be balanced by cooking it with bacon or in a cream based soup, but that sort of negates some of the health benefits. If it tastes bitter to you, stir-fry it with sweeter vegetables or grate raw beets onto salads to sweeten them up. Read the rest