I really should post more often about our forays for wild edibles which happen on an almost daily basis...but the camera is never with, or no time to post, or, or, or...I'm full of excuses.:)
So early this past Sunday morning we set out along the local river in search of certain seeds that I have been waiting/wanting to harvest and were delighted to find not only those seeds but fresh asparagus as well. Because the river's water level has been so high the flooded asparagus has been slow to come on and, lucky us, we were able to snag a nice meals worth. Some went into a stir fry dish and the rest a tasty quiche...mmm.
Even better than the above treasures was finding "The King of all Asparagus" roots dangling precariously off the river's bank, unceremoniously ripped from it's home by the rapid currents but still alive and sending up shoots. Rather than leaving it to be washed away we liberated this 5-10 pound (I'm guessing, my wife ended up carrying it for a mile and a half and she said it was at least a 5 pounder) root from it's rocky embrace along the river's edge and have since planted the monstrosity in our gardens...can't wait to see what kind of stalks it produces.
This King of the River Asparagus root truly is much larger than this picture depicts.
Anyway, seeds is what we were out and about for and our timing was right on as we were able to collect both the wild parsley and lupine seeds I have had my eye on since early spring...especially the parsley.
I think it was around April that we noticed a large patch of parsley growing on a hillside meadow up off the river, we picked some for drying and hoped to come back in time for the seeds. We have since noticed three different varieties of this edible plant. I am not 100% positive on the below identifications but am pretty sure I got them right...there are a lot of different varieties of wild parsley out there and many of them look quite similar.
Lomatium macrocarpum - Large Seeded Biscuitroot (Desert parsley)
Lomatium triternatum - Nine - Leaf Biscuitroot (Narrow - Leaved Desert Parsley)
Lomatium grayi - Gray's Biscuitroot (Pungent Desert Parsley) This is the variety we elected to save seeds off of as I liked the way it looked and tasted.
From - http://onlinenevada.org/biscuitroot
"Biscuitroot was used as both a food source and for medicinal purposes by the American Indian tribes in Nevada , specifically the Paiute, Washoe, and Western Shoshone. It is known by several other names, including Cough Root. As a medicine, fernleaf biscuitroot was used for treating multiple illnesses, including chest colds, coughs, bronchitis, influenza, and pneumonia. The roots could be burned, and the smoke inhaled for treating asthma, or steamed and inhaled for treating nasal and chest congestion. As an anti-viral poultice, the boiled, crushed root was applied to open cuts and sores. Tea was made from the leaves and used in the treatment of colds.
As a food, biscuitroot was an important source for Nevada tribes, as they could use the leaves roots and seeds in various ways. Many species of Lomatium have thick, tuberous roots that can be ground into flour and used to make bread-like foods, resulting in the common name “biscuitroot.” The leaves are said to have a strong parsley-like flavor. Young seeds and sprouts were collected to be eaten raw, and the roots could be used dried and ground into a powder to flavor flours and soups, or boiled to make a nutritious drink. The root could be stored in dried form for later use."
For those interested -
“Of the three species of Peucedanum used by the Spokane Indians, the best, in size and flavor of bulbs, is the ‘Chucklusa’ (P. Canbyi, Coulter and Rose) (Lomatium canbyi)." -