Those who are new to foraging often ask when is harvest season? There is no specific wild edible harvest season because there are truly hundreds of plants and other wild edibles that provide us with nourishment every month of the year depending on where you live.
Generally speaking wild edibles should be harvested when the oils responsible for flavour and aroma are at their peak. Proper timing depends on the plant part you are harvesting and the intended use.
If you are collecting wild edible weeds for their foliage then to maximize the nutritional content, they should be harvested before they flower. After flowering they are still good for you and they still contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients, just not as plentiful.
Some general guidelines are:
• Begin harvesting when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth.
• Harvest early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day.
• Harvest the wild edible before flowering, otherwise, leaf production declines.
• Most flowers have their most intense oil concentration and flavour when harvested after flower buds appear but before they open.
The above is basic general information with no specifics as to what is in season when. For some people this is fine as they meander out and gather plants as they appear. However, for those who want to do some hardcore foraging or wildcraft plants for their medicinal properties then knowing exactly when to get out there is important.
My friend across the pond, Chris Phyto, has taken the time to create ten harvesting charts. His charts are comprehensive including what part of the plant can be harvested when. Chris’ website Ipso-phyto has helped many a forager in the British Isles. Yes, his charts were created based on climatic conditions in Great Britain however many areas in Europe, Canada, and the central north and northeast United States have similar weather so these are applicable. Chris has taken a wealth of knowledge and arranged it in such a way it is very easy to understand. Whether you collect plants to use as food or medicine these harvest charts are a must-have item.
So how do you get a copy of these inexpensive charts? Email Chris direct and he’ll give you details on how to order! If you live in an area in which the climate conditions are similar to Great Britain then be sure to order your harvest charts today!
For information about the rules of foraging click here.