One recent morning I found a most unusual gift waiting for me at my shop door. It
was a wrapped package of wild Lion’s Mane mushrooms that had been foraged
locally by my friend, Rosemary Kramer. Rosemary and her grandmother, Mary
Dearing had stopped by the day before to tell me about the fun they had foraging for
wild mushrooms. Luckily, they both know that only the mushrooms that grow from
logs and trees are safe for human consumption (after cooking) and those growing
out of the ground can be dangerous and should never be eaten.
I had told the two ladies that I loved the taste and texture of Lion’s Mane.
When sautéed in butter it tastes just like lobster. But I had only had this amazing
mushroom from a grocery store and never from the wild. Well, the wild foraged
version was even better. I cooked it that night and added a fresh salad for an
We seldom think of the edible plants (and mushrooms) around us because so
much of the basic knowledge of nature is lost on us these days. Our grandparents
and great-grandparents knew so much more about the outside world – its dangers
and its healing and nutritional value – than we have ever considered. I’m excited to
see a resurgence of people interested in the world that God made for us. Young
people like Rosemary are educating themselves because this knowledge is no longer
passed down from older generations like before.
Wild foraging can be fun and educational, and a great source of free food.
Perhaps, it was wild foraging that started me on my journey to become an herbalist.
You see, the first time I ate something picked in the wild it was a fried dandelion
flower – cooked for me by Rosemary’s mother, Whitman, when we were in third
grade. That’s the kind of thing kids seldom do today – explore nature. I’m happy to
see that there are young people like Rosemary who like the great outdoors enough
to learn about it. There are several popular books on identification of edible plants
and mushrooms in Alabama – including plants that can be used for medicine.
Anyone who is interested only needs look.