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13 Plants You Can Forage in the Pacific Northwest

 

 

Foraging plants in the wild is a lovely way to add delicious, wholesome foods to your daily meals. As with anything found in the wild, please do your research and know with absolute confidence how to identify and prepare foraged plants before using or consuming. And, if you are in doubt, consult your physician or naturopathic doctor.

Anja's new Foraging in the Pacific Northwest art print showcases some of the flora that can be found in the area that she calls home. Below are some quick facts about each illustrated plant to get you started on your foraging journey.

Edible Plants

Sea Asparagus: (also called “sea beans”) are a delicious, wild plant that can be found near beaches in North America (among other areas around the world!). Simply look it up to find an abundance of incredible recipes.
Burdock: this plant can be found across southern parts of British Columbia, and grows all over the United States, and is commonly confused for rhubarb! Edible parts of this plant include the root, flower stock, and leaf stem.
Blackberry: these are an excellent source of vitamin C and K, and are very high in fibre. And, they’re delicious!
Fiddlehead: these baby ferns can harvested in the spring and are lovely as a sautéed vegetable replacement. Fiddleheads can be toxic when eaten raw, so make sure to cook them before eating!
Hairy Bittercress: commonly known as a weed, hairy bittercress has a peppery flavour that can make a great addition to salads, soups, and sandwiches! The best part is, the entire plant is edible. 
Blueberries: delicious and high in antioxidants, blueberries are an easy way to add more nutrients and flavour to smoothies, salads, snacks, breakfasts... anything you can think of!
Miner’s Lettuce: miner’s lettuce can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads, soups, or as a substitute for sautéed garlic-spinach. It’s also very high in vitamin c!
Elderberry: elderberries are a trickier berry to forage, as they can be poisonous if not harvested correctly. Blue and black elderberries are edible only when ripe, and steer clear of red elderberries, as they are highly toxic!

 

Tinctures and Teas

Nettle: the leaves of stinging nettle are known to have a multitude of health benefits! Nettle can reduce inflammation and help lower blood pressure. It is not edible raw (I’m sure you have experienced its stinging sensation at one point!), but once dried or cooked, nettle can be turned into tea or added to meals.
Note: if you are pregnant, you should not consume nettle.
Rose: wild rose petals can be picked and used to create a wild rose syrup that is lovely in sparkling water! The flower petals themselves have anti-inflammatory properties, and in a diluted tincture, can help aid grief, anxiety, and depression.
Dandelion: dandelions are an incredible plant for making tea. The roots of the dandelion make a tea that is akin to coffee in taste; young leaves can be sautéed or used fresh in a salad.  

Other Helpful Plants

Kelp: bull kelp can be found on beaches once the tide is out, and is distinguishable by its large bulb on the end. The bulb and stem can be pickled to make delicious sea-pickles!
Yarrow: this is a medicinal herb that can be used to treat minor wounds and cramped muscles, but should not be taken without first consulting a doctor.
Foraging in the Pacific Northwest

Check out the Foraging Print here.

Want to Start Foraging?

The best way to start learning how to forage, is to learn from your local experts. Research in your area for foraging classes, wild plant cooking classes, and forest walks that can help you learn more about which plants you can eat, and which you need to stay away from.

With any wild plant, you should ALWAYS do your research to ensure it is safe to eat. Every body is different! We promise, the effort it takes to learn about foraging is more than worth it; there really is nothing quite like the taste of a wild blueberry, or the coffee-esque bitterness of wild dandelion-root tea.