Updated: Sep 17, 2019
The wild foods of fall are softer, sweeter, and more earthy than edibles available in other seasons. Fall is the season for gathering edible roots, fruits, seeds, herbs, mushrooms, and flowers. Fall is also a time to store any foraged surplus to nourish the body through the cold months of winter.
ROOTS: Harvest roots after the first few frosts, until the ground is frozen solid. The cold prompts the roots to convert complex starches into sugar, making them sweeter and more enjoyable. Harvesting roots from biennial or perennial plants ends the plant’s life cycle. Shrubs and trees, which are perennial, have root stalks branching off of the central trunk, therefore, harvest a little bit from each plant.
When harvesting roots:
· Harvest from clean land away from roadsides.
· Keep the plant’s whole life cycle in mind before harvesting.
· When harvesting roots from a plant that has seeds, plant them.
· Check the endangered plant list before foraging.
· Do not harvest roots from plants on the list.
· Purchase endangered roots from a sustainable grower.
· Clean roots in the sink using a vegetable brush.
· Dry roots by slicing into thin slices and drying below 95 degrees.
· Store roots in a cool, dry place out of direct light.
Roots to harvest in fall include: Barberry, Blood Root rhizome, Blue Flag, Calamus rhizome, Chicory, Comfrey, Dandelion, Garlic, Gentian rhizome, Ginger rhizome, Horseradish, Mullein, Nettle, Oregon Grape, Valerian, and Yellow Dock.