This was another good week for foraging, and we added 2 new plants to our growing list of edibles. Having a long holiday weekend also allowed us to hide 9 letterboxes.
We knew it was getting time to check for strawberries, since we transplanted a few wild plants near the house, and picked some ripe ones. We made a trip out to the Salmon River State Forest to a very accessible patch of plants growing in a field. We did get a handful, but in another week they will be better, as there were still blossoms on some plants. Along this same are were some pineapple weeds, a lovely little herb we pick for a tea. The flower heads look like chamomile flowers without petals, and smell exactly like pineapple when crushed. Some more abundant greens here are yellow wood sorrel and sheep sorrel, since they like the open area. It is here that we also planted 4 letterboxes, Foraging Sorrel Series, on an unmarked trail along the Blackledge River.
On a quick afternoon trip down to Harkness park, we picked a sackful of red clover flowers to dry for tea, found a few asparagus plants growing wild, pulled some young cattail stalks, and noted we were too early for gathering linden blossoms. Most linden trees planted in Connecticut are the American variety, and while they still make a pleasant tea, the European varieties planted at Harkness are more fragrant.
Around the house Robert noticed some common mallow. The hairy leaves are edible if cooked, and the small seed head is edible raw when young and tender. It is referred to as the "cheese". We'll look for more plants to gather a large amount for some serious tasting.
We picked a bunch of wild garlic flowers to eat, and pulled some garlic heads from the soil. I think I'll try to make a braid if I can find enough around here. Robert gathered a big bowl of smilax to cook with some oil and soy sauce, and it was very tasty.
On another day we headed up to Thompson to look for some letterboxes, hide some letterboxes, and forage. There was some re-enactment camping happening on the west side of the Thompson Dam, and we visited the site and learned a bit about primitive camping and cooking outdoors. On one old paved road on the west side of the Dam, we planted 3 Foraging Japanese Knotweed boxes. We passed some very mature knotweed along the sunnier sections of the old farm road. We also found some nettles, hickory trees, orpine, black cherry trees, black raspberries, cattails, and grape vines. Down below the dam, while searching for another box, I found a great spot to hide Foraging Wild Grapes and it's bonus along a short trail to another small dam. There were 2 families of 8 Canada geese each hissing at me down there! I hope these boxes get lots of traffic at the upcoming letterboxing gathering in June. Here we also found a few big clusters of cleavers. It has some velcro-like properties in that it will stick to a cotton shirt or bag. We ran around throwing them at each other, playing a silly forager game we now call "Cleavers". This herb can be juiced and drunk as a body cleansing herbal remedy, or the leaves can be cooked in soups.