Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden foraging: Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

Spring has arrived here in Vermont, and it, as always, is glorious. The little one and I have watched the maple leaves unfold each day as I push her swing under its branches.

We have read about people finding obscene amounts of tasty edible weeds growing in their gardens, but we generally just have plantain (which we really dislike).

This year, however, as Yub Yub and I turned over the garden, we found a lovely batch of sheep sorrel growing among our strawberries. She and I collected them (though I know it looks like we are collecting violets!) and made a simple and delicious soup which all three of us devoured.

Her foraging skills have blossomed over the year. At two and a half, she can identify many plants and is well aware that we can eat some. Today, she stopped by some small ferns unfurling and said, "Mama, we can pick these? They are fiddleheads?" But she never picks or eats without asking. I am so happy with her development as a forager. As a teacher, I know children learn what they are exposed to. Put them in a room full of letters and books and people talking about letters and books and they will learn to read. But it is so fun to see my own child learning (so young!) to identify bird calls and raspberry plants ("Those have prickers, but not on the leaves.") and animal signs. Every day when Thag comes home she has a nature question for him. Yesterday she asked, "Papa, turkeys make nests in trees or on the ground?" Today she rushed to show him the fox scat we had found by the shed. I am so excited that foraging and eating wild foods will be so natural to her--it wasn't one of my goals when I started this project, but her wild food skills are, by far, the best thing that have come out of our work as the foraging family.

No comments:

Post a Comment