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Foodie Friday: Nature provides

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Detailed photo of fiddleheads in the sprint
Fiddleheads are one of several edible plants available in our region.

Spring is here

I can feel it. Can you feel it too? The sun is out and I just want to be outside as much as I can. I can't wait to get my fingers in the earth. I'm excited by the new shoots showing up. This is a great season to learn about the gifts that spring gives to nourish us.

Gathering ostrich fern fiddleheads

My partner is from the Kitselas First Nation and he has gathered ostrich fern fiddleheads for years. He watches the signs of spring and knows just when and where to find them. It's quite an art. Without his help, I would probably gather the wrong thing. HealthyFamilies BC provides information on how to cook fiddleheads. Last year, we harvested stinging nettle, too. It was so delicious! I could almost taste the nutrients dancing in my mouth. Of course, we had to use thick gloves to pick it and cook it so as to avoid a nasty sting.

Wild mint ready to harvest
Wild mint is another edible plant available in northern BC. Check with elders or knowledge holders in your community before heading out to gather!

Enjoy nature's treasure hunt

For centuries, First Nations and Aboriginal people have been harvesting plants. This has been an important part of their diet and medicine. Nutritional information shows us that wild plants are often much higher in nutrients than other, store-bought vegetables.There are some great resources available on edible plants. The spring is a great opportunity to take one of these books, get outdoors with your family, and enjoy nature's treasure hunt. I am no expert, so I encourage you to check with elders and knowledge holders in your communities to learn what is safe to gather, when to gather it, and protocols you need to respect and areas you should or shouldn't gather in. Also, take care not to over-harvest and to avoid zones that have been sprayed to avoid environmental contaminants.

Here are some great resources to start you out on your gathering journey: