Dandelions are plentiful, easy to collect and ridiculously useful.

Easy Spring Foraging in the Pacific Northwest


We all love no prep snacks right?  and free food?  Well, spring provides both.  It may be a little late for this now, but I was looking through old blog posts when I came across this early one on spring foraging.

You can read a brief blurb below or just watch the video.  

Dandelions (Taraxacum sp.)

A staple of spring foraging is Dandelion. The leaves and flowers are good to eat without any cooking.  Go for the young leaves though, as the older ones get quite bitter.  There are tons of things you can do with dandelion if you want to.   My all-time favourite is dandelion coffee. See my first ever experiment with it below.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle, believe it or not, can be eaten raw.  Gently pick a leave, taking care to only touch the top.  Fold it in half several times with the underside facing in, pup it in your mouth, chew, swallow.  It’s that easy. Stinging nettle is one of the biggest producers for spring foraging and is highly nutritious. It even contains protein! As the season progresses, they start to get a little too high in calcium, so get them early.  If you cook it up, it’s a lot better.  If you want  a great nettle recipe, see the video below:

Maple Flowers (Acer macrophyllum)

maple flowers are great for spring foraging
Peter Stevens from Seattle [CC BY 2.0]

Not just for maple syrup (which you can make from any maple that is large enough), the flowers are pretty yummy. The taste is reminiscent of peas.  I imagine that other species of maple would also have edible flowers, or at least non-poisonous flowers.  

Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza)

[CC BY 2.0]

Licorice fern growing on mossy maple. Photo Credit: Alanah Nasadyk

Licorice fern is great for nibbling on.  The rhizomes have a very strong taste, while the stem is much milder.  It’s quite, umm, licoricey.  It is used as a cold remedy.   

There are many others, but I’m sticking to the ones in the video. One of my favourites is the shoots of false Solomon seal, but be careful because it can easily be mistaken for hellebore, which is highly toxic. You can also peel the young shoots of salmon and thimble berry (or anything in the Rubus genus, I suspect).

3 thoughts on “Easy Spring Foraging in the Pacific Northwest”

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