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Foraging for currants in BC

a close up of a tree with pink flowers

Learn how to safely forage for currants.  There are many types of currant plants that common to BC that were eaten traditionally by many First Nations peoples. Black, golden, wax, sticky, red swamp and even stink currant are a few of the varieties.  My favourite is Ribes sanguineum or red flowering currant. You don’t eat the berries, it’s the flowers that are the best to harvest in April.  If you want to come out with us for an infield spring foraging tour or take our online foraging class, check out our options here…

Here are it’s key features…

Shrub: 1-3m tall, crocked stems and reddish bark.
Leaves: Alternate, 3-5 lobed, maple like slightly velvety to touch, edible as tea or used to wrap/steam fish
Flowers: Pink drooping clusters of 10-20 small flowers, edible as tea or as flavouring (vinegar recipe)
Where to find it: Dry to moist, open forests and openings at low to mid elevations in southern BC.

To learn how to ID them, you need to see the plant in person, I would recommend going down to Olympic village as the city has planted a ton of them along the seawall walk.

Note: A great book for foragers is Edible and medicinal plants of Canada by MacKinnon etc. which has outlined more details about this useful edible plant.

Remember to be 100% sure of your plant ID before deciding to harvest any plant.

red flowering currant