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Leaf, Root Fungi, Fruit

Inner Bark: A Sweet Treat

Trees damaged by browsing elephants. // Photo: Kelly Chadwick

Unlike the deliciously exaggerated sugar-and starch-filled produce of today, wild foods are often tough, bitter, astringent, or intensely vegetal, including many prized plants in older cultures. Modern palates aren’t adapted to these flavors. Which brings us to inner bark. Phloem, ...

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The Russula

Russula bi-color. // Photo:  Drew Parker

A couple thousand species of mushroom inhabit our region, quickly perplexing the budding enthusiast. Most people give up once familiar with chanterelles, morels, and shaggy manes. However, there are certain groups of mushrooms that can be approached by broad rules. ...

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Beautiful bunchberries. // Photo credit: Neelix at English Wikipedia.

Finding and picking fruit is instinctively rewarding, even intoxicating. Like foraging for mushrooms or hunting for Easter eggs, collecting berries triggers our ancient endorphin dropper, which keeps dripping as you pluck the never-enough morsels from the plant. About 20 wild, ...

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The Humble Puffball

Photo: Drew Parker

The Blackfeet said they were fallen stars. In Western ethno botanical literature, puffballs are referenced far more than other fungi. Nowadays people tend to overlook them, maybe because of the resemblance to softballs, golf balls, and volleyballs. Yet they are ...

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Flower Petals

Many wildflowers smell good and taste good too. // Photo: Shallan Knowles

Spring’s anticipation leads to delusional expectations of woodland bounty before the ground has thawed. Foragers and chefs start calling in March inquiring about items for seasonal menus and pantries. If they left the comfort of their kitchen for a walk ...

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The Velvet Foot

Look for these wild, winter treats on your next snowshoe outing or hike - just make sure you properly identify any forest food!

There aren’t many wild foods to collect in the dead of winter and virtually none that are fresh. The velvet foot, flammulina velutipes, is a rare exception. From late fall to early spring, this delicate looking but tough mushroom appears ...

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Muppet Mushroom

Never know what you might find on a fall hike. Photo: Drew Parker.

The Muppet mushroom is my name for Albatrellus ellisii, officially called greening goat’s foot. A title that would drive off all but the most daring from eating it. This is probably why, in my 25 years of studying fungi, no ...

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Leaf, Root, Fungi, Fruit: Cow Parsnip

Bloody Mary morning? Try cow parsnip. Photo courtesy of Walter Siegmund.

Cocktails are the new wine, a culinary vehicle to experience the complexity of our planet. Their ingredients are often derived from potent botanicals, thus a great use for wild edibles. Ecologically, cocktails are a way to sample native plants without ...

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Leaf Root Fungi Fruit: Coral Mushrooms

Forest coral. Photo: Drew Parker

May is for morels, mycophiles say. But at “Out There Monthly,” May is for corals! No scuba gear required because the forest corals are terrestrial fungi in the genus ramaria. Corals are more prolific in the Northwest than anywhere in ...

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