Wild Food Foraging: Juneberries, Wild Onions, Great Burdock and More

Foraging for food is simple when you look around you. Use these recipes to transform wild berries and plants into side dishes and canned jellies.

| July/August 1971

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    Down here in southern Wisconsin another fruit also ripens on trees and is at its best right now: the sweet and delicious black cherry and choke cherry.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    July and August are very productive months for the wild food forager and almost everything that produces edibles has something to offer at this time of the year. True, the greens are a little tough but trimmed chicory and dandelion are good all summer.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Mid-summer is also the time to harvest a large rhubarb-like plant that grows up in rich soil over the temperate regions of the nations; Wild Gobo or Great Burdock.
    Photo by James E. Churchill
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    The quality of burdock roots is controlled by the age of the plant, the soil balance and the amount of rainfall and cooking burdock roots is a trial-and-error proposition. Sometimes they're tough, have to be boiled a long time and the water changed to make them palatable. 
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Picking black cherries is best accomplished by spreading a canvas or other cloth under the tree and shaking the limbs with a pole that has a branch hook wired to its end.
    Photo by James E. Churchill
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    After I've gathered a cupful of dandelion leaves and crowns, I pick and chop a good handful of wild onion tops into small pieces and toss them with the dandelion crowns. A little bacon grease is all the dressing I need.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Wild onions are a good addition to soup, make a fine vegetable boiled alone and are mighty tasty when served as side dressing for meat. Pick and eat a lot of `em. They're too good to waste!
    Photo by James E. Churchill

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July and August are very productive months for the wild food forager and almost everything that produces edibles has something to offer at this time of the year. True, the greens are a little tough but trimmed chicory and dandelion are good all summer.

The cattail, too, has white salad material in the stem bases and—in some areas—the new cattail itself is still green and hard. Green cattails make a good substitute for zucchini squash if it's baked for a few minutes at 350° and then swabbed with melted bacon grease.

Blueberries and Huckleberries ripen in mid-summer and, of course, blackberries and raspberries are also at their delicious best. We like to pick berries and our whole family turns out to fill pail after pail.

A special treat which July gives us are wild cherries and Juneberries (or shadberries). Near our camp in northern Wisconsin is a 25-acre ridge that is a virtual Juneberry orchard. Hundreds of water pails wouldn't hold the crop from this one ridge in an average year . . . and not far away are a dozen pin cherry trees that yield red, sweet, delicious cherries as large as the end of your little finger.



Picking Juneberries and pin cherries is more fun than work. Both can be stripped from their branches by sliding the fruitfilled twigs between the thumb and forefinger almost like milking a goat.

Down here in southern Wisconsin another fruit also ripens on trees and is at its best right now: the sweet and delicious black cherry and choke cherry. Picking black cherries is best accomplished by spreading a canvas or other cloth under the tree and shaking the limbs with a pole that has a branch hook wired to its end.



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