Delicious Wild Game

Spring is here in a big way which means the spring foraging season will soon be in our midsts. Soon the forest will begin to green and the early rising leaks with again dot the hill sides.
I for one, am on the edge of my seat awaiting this time of plenty. But, were still a few weeks away from any real foraging prospects. So until then I’ll just have to satisfy my wild cravings with some venison meat pies from last deer season. Tough break eh?
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Remember, ontario is blessed with an abundance of wild edibles.
Don’t miss out on the bounty this year! Get outside!

Cheers from the wild
Albert

One Year in the Wild…

WordPress sent me an alert today; Apparently it has been one years since my inaugural post on this blog. Time certainly does fly when your having fun, or in my case, when your catching fish.
Thanks to all my readers and followers for your patronage and bearing with me on the learning curve to a successful outdoor blog!
Cheers from the Wild
Albert

Foraging Guide – Northern Bushcraft

For years I have been looking for a comprehensive guide to foraging in Ontario.  Now I know there are plenty of resources out there that cover some of the wild edibles available to us but nothing close to comprehensive.  That is until now..

Through my searches and online wandering I have stumbled upon this amazing website.  Enter “Northern Bushcraft’ .

http://northernbushcraft.com/

This resource covers a wide variety of berries, mushrooms and plants found through out Canada with handy lists separated provincially.

All I can say is, Wow, and perhaps that I am even more excited for spring than ever before.

So until the snow melts, enjoy flipping through this handy website and take a gander at some of my pics from spring/summers past.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Get outside…with yor kids! An Outdoors Charter for Kids

The provincial government has recently put together an initiative to promote outdoor activities among our youth in Ontario.

http://www.childrensoutdoorcharter.ca/

Finally! In my opinion the current generation of kids are missing out on the richly diverse experience that is our outdoor environment.

In support of this, they have developed a website outlining a vast array of activities children can take part in.  This is a good first step, and here is hoping they are able to implement activities, outreach programs and connect with other existing programs to actually get kids outside.

oh BTW, kudos to the website for including “Harvest something to eat”.  As a forager, I am happy to see this way of life promoted.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

OFAH – Protecting Ontario’s Wild Heritage

A big shout out to OFAH and all the work they do to preserve Ontario’s wild heritage.

If not for them, I am sure I wouldn’t have much to write about on this blog!

http://www.ofah.org/fishing

Take a few minutes to look into what they are about and perhaps make a donation if you are so included!

OFAH

Harvesting Dandelions – Syrup!

Each year I try to get out in the woods and learn a little but more about foraging.  Last year was leeks.  The year before, mushrooms.  This year its dandelions!

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Yes, dandelions. No joke.  Dandelions are an incredibly delicious foragable.  Not to mention so plentiful you can pretty much pick your fill anywhere inthe province (any wherenot sprayed by pesticides that is!).  In my case I needed to do something about hte dandelion infestation in my back yard and decided, why not make use of the plant?

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Dandelions have three main uses that I am aware of:

1) Salad.  the leaves of a young dandelion plant make an exception green to be added to any salad.

2) Coffee.  the roots are roasted and ground and used as a coffee substitute.

3) Syrup or so called “May-Honey” in Poland.  I was skeptical at first but suffer from a uncurable sense of curiosity so I had to try this.

Everyone has a favourite salad which dandelion greens can be substituted into and I have yet to try dandelion coffee so I will focus on the syrup here.

Dandelion syrup has a rich sweet taste very similar to maple syrup except I has a slight herbal undertone.  The syrup can be made to be thin, viscous, dark, light, pretty much any way you please and pairs well with fruit.

Step 1) pick a crap load of dandlion buds.  The bigger the better and try to limit it to the heads only.  Stems can impart a nasty acrid taste.  I usually pick around 100 buds.

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Step 2) wash the buds and set out to dry.  This will get rid of any hitchhiking bugs.

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Step 3) pinch the bottom of the buds just above the hips of the bud itself with four fingers.  After pinching just pullout the petals of the danelion. Save the petals, discard the bud.

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Step 4) cover with water and bring to rolling boil.  Let the petals steep in the water over night.  Remeber the more petals you use the stronger the taste of the syrup.

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Step 5) strain out the petals and add a half a cup of sugar to the remaining juice.  boil this mixture to whatever viscosity you like but be careful of letting this dry out.  Cooking for too long and not paying attention is a good way to wreck a pot and make a mess.DSC_9554DSC_9556

Step 6) use in place of maple syrup on almost anything.

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Dandelion Wiki in case you would like to know more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum_officinale

Harvesting Wild Leeks

Ontario is blessed with foragable wild foods for almost every season.  The least of which is definitely not Spring.  Spring in Ontario, means some of the finest table fare can be gathered including leeks, fiddle heads, cattail hearts and morels.

Finding most of these treasures can be difficult as they are heavily dependant on temperature, sufficient rain and their ability to hide from other foragers!  Thankfully leeks are one of the easiest to spot due to the stark contrast of their green on the brown hue of last years fallen leaves.  Leeks are also very plentiful in Ontario and can often been seen after the first couple weeks of 10 – 15 degree weather.  Just remember when looking for leeks early on, the contrasting green is the key.  They are one of the first plants to sprout.  Also, you will probably smell the delicious onion odour a mile a way!

*****Please keep in mind when you are harvesting wild leeks it is best to only remove one or two leeks from a cluster or, more preferably, clip off the green and leave the bulb in the ground.  This way they will continue to proliferate in the area.  Consider it an investment for next year!

My recent foraging trip saw me getting up at 5:30, heading out my door at 6:00, stopping quickly at Tim’s on highway 15 and blasting up Sydenham Road by 6:15.

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I met with a friend of mine at a favourite spot about an hour north of Kingston.  Set with bags, a large bladed knife for digging leeks and our trout gear (cause you never know when a fishing oppourtunity will present itself), we headed up the trail with eyes focused on the ground in search of green gold.  I guess it was by chance then that my friend spotted a decent sized Barred Owl perched on a nearby pine.

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Quite the specimen!  Further down the trail, and after some failed attempts at some speckles in a few local lakes, we found the spot we were looking for and began our harvest.

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Lots of leeks to be had but no sign of any other forageables.  Lots of signs of spring and remnants from last winter. I am always impressed by how fresh and stunning Southern Ontario looks in the spring.  Not to mention how tasty it can be too!  More on this once I have cooked a few of these tasty guys into a soup or two.

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