While many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the sights and smells of native Wisconsin, Eve Emshwiller experiences Wisconsin flora with her sense of taste too! On a fine Sunday afternoon, 16 eager novice foragers joined Eve to learn about the flavors that lie within the grasses and thickets of the Preserve.
With a bucket of plant samples in tow, Eve highlighted many species of plants including lambs quarter, American black nightshade, wild ginger, creeping charlie, anise root, and wild sumac which could be relished in the forms of fresh greens for a salad, juicy berries, candied rhizomes, teas, licorice-tasting seeds, and lemonades respectively.
A main takeaway was the importance of timing! While some plants were harmless to savor throughout their growth stages, other plants were only recommended to consume in the early growth stages (e.g. you should only eat the early solomon seal plants, when the stem and leaves are knee high and leaves are still curled) or only when fruit was completely ripe (e.g. this is true for elderberry and mayapple fruit).
Eve also guided the group through the Preserve to point out plant species to wholly avoid eating. Some of these poisonous members included white snakeroot-- the culprit famously responsible for Abe Lincoln’s mother’s death (the toxins were ingested by cows, transferred into their milk, and lethal to the consumers) --, poison ivy, and the European high bush cranberry.
Overall, the trip was truly a… treat! Eve provided some… food for thought: a unique perspective and route for members to reimagine Wisconsin landscapes! Friends host and photos Olympia Mathiaparanam.