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SUMMER / FALL 2019      © 2019 812 Magazine

The world is your mushroom


A guide to foraging in southern Indiana.


Springtime in southern Indiana is a sight to behold — days get longer, meadows pop with color, and foraging is in its prime. Southern Indiana has a delicious variety of spring and summer edibles to pick from, whether you’re looking for delicate greens or hearty mushrooms. 

But aside from the free produce, foraging is also a great way to slow down and get in touch with Hoosier forests, wetlands, and meadows. Between the blackberry brambles and chanterelle clusters, you’re sure to rediscover the beauty of southern Indiana. 

Wild Greens: Some wild greens like chickweed and dandelion greens are available nearly year-round, but spring ushers in a delicious variety of bitter greens, wild lettuces, and delicate herbs. Wild greens are incredibly high in phytonutrients, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. 


wildchickweed



wilddandelions


Aromatics: Aromatics are a chef’s best friend; they add pungency and freshness to any dish. Much like wild greens, aromatics like wild carrot, wild garlic, and wild onion can be readily found in backyards and overgrown cornfields. 


wildonions


Fungi: Possibly the most decadent of all the foraged goods are mushrooms, and for good reason. Wild mushrooms are earthy and savory, and lend incredible depth and body to any recipe. Mushroom hunting is at its best in spring, when April and May showers are followed by warm, sunny days. Southern Indiana is home to a dizzying variety of mushrooms, some of which are fatally toxic, so make sure you know what you’re doing.


wildmushrooms


Tips and Tricks: While it may be daunting to start foraging, soon enough you’ll have some secret places of your own. Here’s some great starting points to start exploring the edibles in your area: 

Harvested corn fields, overgrown lots, public parks (although not dog parks!), forests, meadows, creek beds, and grassy areas by railroad tracks are all money makers. Just make sure you’re in clean soil away from heavy amounts of carbon emissions and pesticides. 

It’s also good practice to harvest around 10% of the edibles you come across both so that you can leave some goods for the next eager forager as well as any pollinators. As much as you can, try not to harvest entire root systems of foraged goods, except in the cases of invasive species. For edibles like wild onions and mushrooms, it’s important to leave roots and bulbs intact so they’ll be there next season.