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Foraging with friends

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Early spring is one of the best times to forage in nature. Plants are starting to shoot up and the forest floor is not overgrown with foliage. Most importantly, the bugs are not out in full force yet.

Here are the four steps to a successful foraging trip.

Step One: Find some companions and choose a nice day. We went with my good friend Adam Fulmore (Intuitive Health Solutions) and his dogs: Roxanne and Nelson. It was a sunny day but not too hot. Do not go after rain because of the ground conditions. Adam is an expert in natural plants so we did not need a guide book. If you don’t have an expert with you use a guide book. And don’t consume anything you are unsure of.

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Step Two: Know what you are looking for and where to find them. We aimed to find fiddle heads and may be some mushrooms. Fiddle heads grow in marshy areas near the water. They like shades and water. Early spring is a good time to find them. A good fiddle head should be small (6 inches or less) and tightly rolled. The stem should snap very easily.

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Step Three: Harvest the plants and leave some for the rest. Adam tells us we should only pick 30% off a plant, meaning if there are 6 fiddle heads bunched together we should harvest 2 of them. This ensures the plant grows into adulthood and the foraging is sustainable.

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Step Four: Celebrate the fruit of your labour with family and friends. We spent 90 mins and ended up with two pounds of fiddle heads. Blanch them in water for about 12 mins to get rid of a stomach irritant in the plant. Now they are ready for consumption. There are many ways to use fiddle heads. I decided to do a fiddle head chicken stir-fry. Lightly marinate chicken strips with salt, pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce and tapioca powder. Fry chicken in grape seed oil to 3/4 way done. Put chicken aside and fry the fiddle heads in oil with some salt. Cook for 1 min and add chicken. Continue to stir fry until meat is fully cooked. Serve on large plant. Pairs well with white wine and rice wine.

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