It is May and so many delicious prana (life) rich plants are popping up on the trails. I always share that the best place to be is in the forest, whether on foot, running or hiking, nordic skiing or by bike (astral travelling if you are so inclined? :) ). What better way to really love the forest than to eat from the forest. I harvest foraged ingredients with reverence and a great deal of love, knowing that the forest has its own perfect balance, so I only take what I need, and if I ever think I am taking more than 10% or so, I will not take any - it is meant to be there for the forest.
I usually don't share locations for foraging for this very reason, because I wouldn't like to see an area depleted or disrespected. I will say with the feature ingredient of this Foraging Hike, Fireweed (aka epilobium latifolium, Willowherb, Blooming Sally, River Beauty), there is enough to go around, and there is still lots for the forest health.
Look for these little buds popping up all along the forest floor where there is ample light. They grow up to look a little like asparagus, but they have their own distinct flavour - fresh, sort of fragrant, and a little tart. They are tender at this age, eat them between 3 to 7 inches ideally. Snap them off at the base where they meet the soil.
I have shared a recipe for my favourite way to enjoy the young shoots, scroll below the Strava map. Soon after this stage they "poof" out, and become gorgeous stems of purple flowers. I will share a recipe for that stage of this plant's edibility in a month or so, in keeping with this Fireweed theme.
With that, enjoy this route which you can find below in the Strava map, or if you don't like to use Strava, simply drive up toward Silver Star Resort and take the turnoff to Sovereign Lake Nordic Club. The entrance to some great trails are at the very first parking area on the left side of the road about 300m after the Sovereign Lake turnoff.
So excited to just get out on the trail that I forgot to turn on Strava for a few hundred meters. Use my finishing point as my start point. You will see the trail start at the parking area :)
Just after this map, I have included a photo and recipe for "Forest On Toast". Enjoy the hike, the discoveries, and perhaps the Forest on Toast! (Disclaimer: You need to do your own research on wild ingredients for their toxicity and/or safety for consumption. Also, be bear aware :) )
Forest On Toast
*For each piece of toast you want around 5-8 stems of Fireweed
Toast your favourite bread
Amply spread chevre (soft goat cheese) or your favourite soft vegan cheese (cashew perhaps?) across your toast, crack some fresh pepper on it
Sautée your fireweed with olive oil a crushed clove of garlic (45 secondss at medium/high heat) and your favourite salt - or if you have it (bonus!) use garlic scape salt in place of garlic and salt. Don't let your garlic burn
Top your fireweed on to your toast straight from the pan, and serve!
*If you want to get fussier about your presentation, by all means, trim them to fit your toast, etc. We love it this way, wild and free, like the forest where we found it.
Happy Exploring Everyone,