Hooray! Foraging Fridays has come out of its winter hibernation, and is ready for a new season of discoveries. (You should be able to find last year’s archives by clicking on the “foraging” category in the side bar).
You may have noticed these beautiful blooms all over the city. Right *now* on the West Coast is the time to harvest, so get to it! (East coasters, you should have a few more weeks to wait.)
Where to find it:
Wisteria is a cultivated ornamental, so your best bet is the front gardens and trellises of other people’s houses. So yes, unless you have one in your yard, you will probably have to trespass. Don’t blame me if you wind up in jail. Wisteria is a woody vine, and grows where it pleases, so if you take a gander you will undoubtedly be able to find where it has squiggled out of bounds and within reach of the sidewalk.
How to identify:
Wisteria is a woody vine that twines around any available support and can climb as high as 70 ft. The flowers tumble down in the spring in racemes (like a cluster of grapes) of pink, purple and white, and are unmistakably fragrant. The flowers come out before the leaves and seeds (seeds are poisonous, watch out!).
Edible Parts and What does it taste like?
Only the flowers are edible. DO NOT EAT THE LEAVES OR SEED PODS. The taste is indescribable. Honey and purple and bee breath. Exquisite.
Enh! Enh! Can’t. Quite. Reach.
Uses and How to Harvest:
Harvest by clipping off the flower bunch at the top stem. To use, separate and pluck off individual flowers.
Use the flowers in salads, and if you are feeling adventurous, try your hand at dessert or ice cream!
This lady will also tell you how to identify and harvest and includes a recipe for eating wisteria with a stir fry sauce. Watching it just to listen to her accent as she talks about Wisteria is worth it alone.
Of course, the best way to eat wild foods is to munch as you mosey. If you see a Wisteria in bloom as you go about your day, take a sec to pluck a bloom and have a taste. I guarantee your day will be better for it.
Think with your stomach! Do not ingest wild plants unless you are sure you have identified them correctly and are willing to take responsibility for using yourself as a guinea pig. It is SO not my responsibility if you eat the wrong thing and get poopy pants, or die. You’re an adult. you can make your own choices.
Have a beautiful weekend friends.