During an internship with the Audubon Society a few years back I lived with two “foragers.” These two roommates would scour the woods, swamps, marsh, and pine flats around our cabin to find various plants to eat, plants not typically harvested to eat. I can remember trying a cat-tails (Typha) stir fry for dinner one night, that was actually quite tasty. The New York Times recently ran an article on Linda Hezel, the owner of Prairie Birthday Farms, who is now foraging and even cultivating different weed species on her farm, which she in turn supplies to the local Kansas City culinary scene:
“In the four years since she began nurturing weeds to extend her growing season and offset losses, she has become a key supplier to a band of enterprising chefs who are reshaping fine dining in Kansas City, long considered a steakhouse town. Their menus have expanded in turn, offering seasonal and regional dishes that go beyond what had previously been seen at restaurants in many parts of the heartland.”
This is an interesting story with implications beyond the culinary world.
A classic book on this is Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus. Gibbons book discusses numerous edible wild plants and provides a variety of recipes.