As summer gently transitions into fall, September in Washington State offers a cornucopia of wild delights just waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the Pacific Northwest's most sought-after foraging treasures, including rose hips, huckleberries, chanterelle mushrooms, and a few other seasonal plants that will make you buzz with excitement.
Imagine this: the sun is still warm, but there's a hint of crispness in the air. You're wandering through a meadow, and you spot some wild rose bushes laden with vibrant red or orange Rose Hips (Rosa spp.). These little guys are packed with vitamin C and are a perfect treat for any kitchen.
One of my favorite ways to use rose hips is to whip up a batch of rose hip honey. Simply gather a handful of rose hips, remove the seeds and hairs, and let them steep in a jar of honey for a few weeks. The result? A tangy, vitamin-rich honey that's as good for your health as it is for your taste buds.
If you already read my August foraging guide, you might recognize this as a repeat but huckleberries deserve the shine! Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) are the crown jewels of the forest, and September is their time to shine. These tiny, dark-purple berries are a delightful blend of sweet and tart, and they're not just a favorite among us humans but also the local wildlife.
Picture yourself hiking through the woods, filling your basket with these precious gems. You can use them in pies, muffins, or simply sprinkle them over your morning yogurt. Huckleberry-infused honey is another fantastic idea, and you can find my huckleberry honey sticks soon on my website and at Farmer's Markets throughout the fall.
Now, let's venture into the forest and search for chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus spp.). Their golden caps peek through the damp forest floor, and it's like finding hidden treasure. Chanterelles have a delicate, nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with honey in savory dishes. Remember, when foraging for mushrooms, always be absolutely sure of what you're picking. Safety first!
Now, let's not forget the unsung hero of September foraging in the Pacific Northwest – the Oregon grape. These little wonders may not be the sweetest berries in the forest, but they more than make up for it with their unique tartness.
Oregon grape berries may not be the sweetest treat in the forest, but they certainly add a unique twist to your foraging adventures, reminding us that every plant has its special place in nature's bounty.