Yesterday was a banner day for foraging.
On my way to the bank I re-visited a vacant lot where I’d previously identified a good-sized colony of Dioscorea alata, the DELICIOUS winged yam, also known as the edible air potato. Unfortunately this species is listed as invasive, meaning I can’t sell it in my nursery (and I can’t send them to you in the mail… so don’t ask)… but that doesn’t mean I can’t find it and eat it!
The bulbils and the large roots are both edible. I didn’t come across any good roots (and I didn’t want to dig any of them up anyhow), but I did get a gallon or two of the bulbils:
Though I’ve eaten the roots before, I’ve never eaten the bulbils because they were generally small or few in number. This time I don’t have that problem!
After finding all these I called my brilliant friend Mart and asked how he prepares his bulbils.
“Cooked until soft, just like a potato.”
Good deal. I’m going to have to see how they taste.
After running my errands, it was time to pack up and go to the 326 Market for my afternoon plant sale. As I pulled in, Kathy (the organizer) told me I ought to check out the mushrooms and pick them before they got trampled.
To my delight they were some variety of bolete and were in great shape.
I’m 99% sure these are edible… but that last 1% keeps me from eating them. Mushrooms are nothing to play around with. I’m working on learning my species and the dangerous types but I’m not there yet. Unlike most plants, fungi can be super-duper crazy poisonous. Dang it. They smell and look delicious.
Update – they were edible and I ate them! More here.
At the 326 Market I ran into many wonderful friends (Hi, all – you know who you are!) and met some new ones. The Dwarf Mulberries sold out and I also managed to give away quite a few peppers to people buying other things.
I was also visited again by the wonderful gal (the older of the two) I wrote about here and we talked seeds, plants, writing and more about plants.
When the market closed and I’d packed up, a couple of my children and I wandered further into the field to look for more mushrooms… and we hit the jackpot. Our recent rains have brought plenty of fungal bounty to the surface:
I wish I knew which of these were edible and which were poisonous. I’ll get there one day.
For now I’m taking notes and pictures as well as making spore prints. I’m also reading multiple books on mushrooms at the same time.
Maybe next year I’ll be brave enough to start eating what I find. Maybe.
UPDATE: I know now and I eat mushrooms without fear – check out these books for mushroom foragers!