Skinner: Foraging in the forest | Opinion

Scouring the high country for snacks is a favorite pastime. This year’s rains and fire scars have left the woods awash with wildflowers, dandelions, berries and mushrooms.

A week ago, I found myself running in a shady patch of high alpine forest with a bubbling stream and soft, spongy ground tangled with pine needles, rotting wood and wet leaves. I was looking for mushrooms to pick and eat, but soon realized that with very few exceptions, I was out of my league when it came to identifying the safest ones that make you sick. or kill. Even my trip leader did very little picking.

I had to be careful not to trip, especially coming across the iconic amanita muscaria. These red-headed mushrooms with white spots on the lid will send you a curl if you eat them. Best to leave that to native shamans and healers who know how to prepare you and the mushrooms for a cosmic journey deep inside your mind.

Our group mostly took photos of the more exotic mushrooms that no one was going to touch or eat – but we did bring home a small bag of hairballs, which are quite easy to identify.

During this time, I focused on the fruits at hand like wild strawberries. The ones I’ve found are no bigger than a small pearl but are packed with strawberry flavor that really beats the huge balsa wood monsters you buy “fresh” at the market or in your grocer’s freezer section. You’re not going to get your fill of wild strawberries and you’ll probably eat dirt, but don’t let that stop you from popping those little bundles of fun. Look for the red dots!

I don’t want to cause a wood rush, but right now the wild raspberries are ripening. Just search and you will find bay blinds to keep you busy. It’s rain and sun!

When you find water, you can also find nettles. And yes, these nettles are full of vitamins and so on. Just handle them with care until you bring them home for treatment.

I once enjoyed a batch of dandelion, nettle and thistle juice, freshly harvested and blended in a blender. I enjoyed this concoction after my morning coffee and some toasted seed bread. In good health.

Dandelions and other wild plants are more potent and powerful than you might think, and different parts of the plant do different, powerful, and powerful things. Dandelions aren’t poppies, but they are a force to be reckoned with. My forest smoothie had me running for the bathroom under the spell of a powerful diuretic.

The internet is full of misinformation, but purveyors of nature, natural products, and alternative medicine are all singing the humble dandelion’s praises. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll skip the processed foods and process and eat your own dandelions.

I hear you. They taste like shit! I will remind you now that eating something that does not taste good for a strong effect is not new to mankind. Anyone who’s ever eaten a psychedelic mushroom knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Just like shrooms, there are ways to chew dandelions without throwing them. Instead of covering everything in chocolate, you need to do two things: develop a taste for foraged foods and find ways to incorporate them into recipes so they don’t overpower your favorite flavors.

Why bother? Health benefits. Dandelion advocates, prescribers, pontificators and growers claim that some of the secondary benefits include but are not limited to weight loss, relief from depression, headaches, menstrual cramps and stomach, improving vision, preventing skin infections, promoting blood circulation, treating corns, warts, kidneys, gallbladder, constipation, edema, acne, jaundice and more.

Disclaimer: Everyone dies, even those on a strict dandelion diet. (Editor’s Note/Other Disclaimer: This column does not offer medical advice in any way.)

The root is the strongest part of the plant. They say that reaching the root produces a constant flushing of toxins from the body. Who could be against that? Just make sure you’re near a bathroom because the root makes you pee. The French called the small puffball plants “Pis-in-let”, which can be translated as “wet the bed”. The good news is that this dandy diuretic doesn’t cause potassium depletion like all the other diuretics in your medicine cabinet.

Just like other natural products that are everywhere and free, clock flowers can be purchased in processed and potent forms on Amazon. Tinctures and dried roots are just a few clicks away.

I would never consider consuming these plant products because Irish daisies are everywhere, even on lawns covered in Roundup. This is why supply is important. You don’t want the plants to be covered in pesticides and poisons. These are already available in national chain supermarkets.

I like to go to the local woods where the little hog snouts have a nice balance with other forages like mallow, mushrooms and nettle.

Steve Skinner heads for the bays. Contact him at

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