Foraging Fails, Week Ending 5/31/2020

The recipe for this week was supposed to be roasted prosciutto-wrapped milkweed shoots.

But I totally missed the milkweed window.

So far this year, I have had more failures than successes foraging. I’ve been eating wild food for several years now, so I should know which plants are at their peak stage and when.

Yet somehow, even though the milkweed is in a field directly across from my house, I failed to harvest them when the shoots were still tender.

Milkweed, too mature to harvest for shoots
Milkweed, too mature to harvest for shoots

I blame COVID-19.

OK, not really. But it sounded good at the time.

I also completely missed the black locust blossoms, and if you’ll recall, back in April I missed the knotweed window as well.

I am grateful that my family does not rely on my ability to forage to stay fed. Oh, who am I kidding? My children hardly ever try the foraged foods anyway!

On a brighter note, the pokeweed I cut to the ground a few weeks ago has grown back beautifully. This time it has much less pink in the stems than when it first came up.

However, at this height I am not sure if it is still safe to eat. (Yes, something else that I missed!) Luckily, I can cut this a second time and probably get a new set of shoots. Maybe even a third time!

And the milkweed isn’t a total loss either. There’s always flower buds to harvest later; and the farmer will mow the field in a month or so and then I will have a second shot at shoots.

What foraging successes (or failures) are you experiencing this spring?


  1. I’m more of a grazer than a forager, taking nibbles as I go (sorrel leaves all year round, hawthorne in spring.) I did make some ground elder liqueur this year. It’s still maturing at present, I’m hoping it will taste like angelica, although I suspect the flavour is not so strong.

  2. I have been foraging some pine mushrooms this season, and I did have a fail with them – I spotted some at a friend’s house when I went to visit, but didn;t have time to harvest them then. I went back a week later to get them and they had mostly gone mouldy/been eaten by bugs. Oh well, I know there are spores there for next year! 🙂

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