Exploring the Edible Wilderness

Foraging Black Cherry Bark, Pine Needles, and Onion Grass 

Foraging is a culinary adventure that connects us with nature, offering unique, edible treasures. Grab your basket, explore the wilderness, and let these wild ingredients inspire your culinary creations. Look for more staff-led foraging programs at KNC this summer and fall!

Please note: Please choose your foraging locations with care; responsible foraging requires landowner permission. To best care for our quality habitats, KNC does not allow foraging on Nature Center lands outside of staff-directed programs. 

Let’s explore the flavors of Black Cherry bark, Pine needles, and Onion grass – three wild ingredients that bring a touch of the outdoors into our kitchens. Approach it responsibly, respecting nature’s balance.

black cherry bark

Black Cherry Bark: Unveiling Nature’s Sweetness 

Black Cherry bark, with its rich, reddish-brown hue and distinct flavor, has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Before harvesting, ensure you have identified the tree correctly (Prunus serotina). Harvest small pieces of bark from fallen branches, avoiding unnecessary harm to the tree.

Culinary Uses: 

  • Infuse black cherry bark in hot water for a soothing tea with a slightly sweet undertone.
  • Grind the dried bark into a powder to add depth to desserts, like chocolate or fruit-based dishes.

Note of Caution: Always practice responsible foraging, and harvest sparingly to avoid disrupting the ecosystem.

pine needles

Pine Needles: A Citrusy Twist to Wild Foraging 

Pine trees, abundant in many regions, provide a surprising culinary resource in the form of their needles. Not only do pine needles impart a citrusy flavor, but they are also rich in Vitamin C, making them a unique and healthful addition to your foraged ingredients.

Culinary Uses: 

  • Brew pine needle tea by steeping fresh or dried needles in hot water for a refreshing and vitamin-packed beverage.
  • Finely chop or grind pine needles to add a citrusy kick to marinades, sauces, or even desserts.

Harvesting Tip: Choose young, green needles as they have a milder flavor. Avoid harvesting from trees near roads or contaminated areas.

Wild onion

Onion Grass: Nature’s Wild Allium 

Onion grass, also known as wild onion or wild garlic, is a ubiquitous and easily recognizable wild edible. Found in meadows, lawns, and even urban areas, this member of the Allium family provides a delightful oniony flavor without the need for a cultivated garden.

Culinary Uses: 

  • Harvest the tender green shoots to add a mild onion flavor to salads, soups, or omelets.
  • Use the bulbs as a substitute for green onions or chives in various recipes.

Foraging Etiquette: Be mindful of sustainability by harvesting only a small portion of onion grass from each patch, allowing it to regrow.