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Go for a Forage: Wild foods near Vancouver…

Elder flowers
Miner’s Lettuce


Sweet Cicely


Spring has pounced upon us, even though the warmth seems to have left us, lately. All sorts of tasty snacks are growing out of the ground. Wandering the forests and meadows of the Lower Mainland there are a few rules you should follow if you are interested in some unusual eats.

  1. Take note of the water sources surrounding your planty prey. Watercress, for example, is very nutritious and grows near running water. It also absorbs toxins quite readily. So, if a stream has pollutants in it (near a non-organic farm for example) the plants may not be safe to eat. Unless you’d welcome the growth of a third eye.
  2. Take plant cuttings, try not to disturb the roots, that way the crop will be replenished.
  3. Be sure of what you are eating. Buy a plant book like Plants of Coastal BC (Pojar/MacKinnon) to help with identification.
  4. Don’t harvest near the road or sidewalks, unless you like dog pee and car gunk in your food.
  5. Harvest with the seasons. Generally… spring = new shoots, spring/summer = flowers/fruit, fall/winter = fruits/nuts/roots

Plants to look for around now (May); licorice fern (sweet cicely), watercress, miners lettuce, silver dollars, cattails, sorel, cleavers, stinging nettles (taste like spinach, but harvest with gloves and steam before eating), blackberry leaves