Wild Foods of Summer

Canada day weekend was the time my family would look out for wild strawberries. The garlic has also started to bloom and it is best to pinch off these “‘scapes” so that the plant puts its energy into the bulb. These can be frozen and stored until the real garlic is ready, and used as garlic would, though it tastes milder and “greener”. I have heard one can make a wicked cream of ‘scape soup.

Bullrushes

The bullrushes are also starting to bloom, and my mother would gather the buds before they became covered in pollen and prepared them like corn on the cob. I prefer them steamed. They are flavourful and somewhat mealy. Like corn, the good part must be nibbled off the woody stem.

Lambsquarters

The Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) are now big enough to eat as well. Their presence is an indication of a soil that is high in nitrogen, and its presence as a weed in your garden a compliment to its fertility. It is a source of protein, vitamin A, phosphorous and potassium, and is a higher source of calcium than any other plant ever analyzed (1), which should come as no surprise when one learns it is related to beets, spinach, amaranth and quinoa. Its seeds have been found in the stomachs of preserved Bronze age Danish bog bodies (2).

As a raw vegetable it is edible but in a stir-fry it is superb. However it should be consumed in moderation as it can be high in oxalic acid (3).

-Jen Stotland

1. Kallas, John. “Amaranth – Staple Food for Modern Foragers.” The Wild Adventurer. Vol 3, oNo. 2. Juy 1, 1998.

2. ^ Miles, David (1978). An introduction to Archaeology. Great Britain: Ward Lock. pp. 99. ISBN 0-7063-5725-6.

3. Johnson, Derek; Kershaw, Linda; MacKinnon, Andy; Pojar, Jim (1995). Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland. Lone Pine Publishing. ISBN 1-5510-5058-7

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