Last fall, I was driving down a secluded canyon road in Malibu, California, when I spotted a vine full of lily pad-shaped leaves and the occasional orange flower crawling over a fallen tree just next to the road.
After stopping and getting out to inspect a little further, I saw this tree that was covered in what I thought was nasturtium, an edible vine of peppery leaves and bright flowers. And even better, since it was nearly winter, the vines had begun to die down for the season and only the saddest of its leaves, little shriveled flowers, and seed pods remained partially withered on the plant.
To be sure, I grabbed a leaf and a flower and put them in my mouth. When I wasn’t dead five hours later, I began counting down the days until summer.
Nasturtium is the lazy forager’s dream plant. If you’re looking for it, you can find it growing all over the West Coast: on the roadside, near river banks, and maybe even in your neighbor’s garden.
Beginning to bloom in late spring and early summer, nasturtium’s brightly colored orange, yellow, or red flowers (depending on the varietal) and circular, velvety leaves, are the marker of the start of Los Angeles’s summer and begin appearing on menus shortly thereafter. With a peppery, clean vegetal taste—something between watercress and arugula—nasturtium is a versatile plant whose leaves, flowers, and seed pods can be eaten raw, cooked, and prepared every other way in between.
We’ve already tackled the delicious whorls known as fiddleheads, and the seasonal crack-like allium known as ramps (a.k.a. wild leeks). In the final installment of our spring foraging series, we’ve once again asked Steve Stacey—forager and director of the Local CFC, a community food center in Stratford, Ontario—for his thoughts on finding wild ginger, a rhizome that tastes and smells like the regular stuff but bears no relation to it.
Whether you’re searching for a local foraged version of this rhizome for your favorite ginger-based sex acts or want to up your forager ante by hunting down some of this buried treasure, here’s everything you need to know about finding, harvesting, and cooking up some wild ginger of your own.
Last week, we spoke with Steve Stacey, forager and director of the Local CFC—a community food center in Stratford, Ontario—who gave us some tips on foraging one of the finest alien tentacles known to man: the fiddlehead.
Stacey’s advice was so delicious that we checked back in with him for his thoughts on harvesting the lovely, potent, and much sought-after wild leek. Variously known as ramps, these short-lived alliums are basically the seasonal chef’s wet dream.
In the forager’s universe, there’s no time like right now. From fiddleheads and ramps to morels and wild ginger, spring is the season for sourcing wild food. To get some first-hand spring foraging knowledge of our own, we caught up with Steve Stacey, forager and director of the Local CFC—a community food center in Stratford, Ontario—to learn how to scour the earth for edible buried treasure.
We’re kicking off our foraging series with the queen diva—the Beyoncé, if you will—of springtime foraging. It’s a plant whose annoyingly short season is only made more finicky by its remote growing region and temperamental nature: the fiddlehead.