Josh’s Foraging Tip #2

Try a New Food More Than Once

I don't know about you, but in my experience trying a new food isn't always love at first bite. Sometimes I have to taste a wild plant, or a cultivated plant for that matter, several times before my taste buds adjust.  And other times I simply need to locate a better-tasting sample.

Photo of Black Chokeberry

For example, as I wrote about last year, I have tasted the fruit of Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, pictured here) many times and found it hardly worth swallowing. Then, last summer, I found a delicious crop of juicy fruit and proceeded to gather several pounds.  What I didn't eat fresh over the next few days, I stashed in my freezer to enjoy over the coming months.  The fruit of Black Chokeberry is one food I'm glad I didn't give up on after my first few tastes.

Have you had a similar experience with a new food?  Share your stories in the comments below.

This post is part of a series of tips for foragers of wild plant foods.  For my core gathering practices, see Josh's Guidelines for Foraging.

7 thoughts on “Josh’s Foraging Tip #2”

  1. This is another good point, Josh. Flavor and sweetness can vary from plant to plant, just as with cultivated crops. It’s also amazing how critical timing is. A few more days in the sun can make all the difference.

    Interesting you mention black chokeberry. I’ve yet to find a specimen with really yummy fruit, but the ones I was tasting were all growing in one area. Maybe I need to explore other haunts. I do have delicious red chockeberry growing in my yard, though.

    Will share on FB.

    1. Yes, timing can be crucial. Weather can also play a major role in how fruit develops in a given year.

      I’ve yet to taste good Red Chokeberries (Aronia arbutifolia), but I’m on the look out. Thanks, Janet!

  2. Josh,

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve found Juneberry species [Amelanchier] to vary greatly. Here in the city of Rochester there are 6 or 7 bushes and trees I visit. Some of their fruits are bland, while others are delectable and worth gathering in great quantities. Bush to bush, even next to each other there are great differences in flavor and texture.

    Another interesting species in a park here is Diospyros lotus, or ‘date plum’ which isn’t a native fruit. It’s a relative of the persimmon. I tasted it in the fall and it was terribly astringent. After a freeze, however, it was creamy, mild, and has stored for months in my refrigerator.

    Try ’em a few times in different locations and at different points in the season and you might find something you like.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Steve. The fruit of Diospyros lotus sounds interesting, and Juneberries can be wonderfully delicious! Happy foraging to you!

  3. I’ve found there are some young curly dock plants in my yard that, instead of having that lemony tart punch of deliciousness, have too much bitterness and no familiar characteristics. It’s fascinating what age and area can do to plants! Great post.

      1. Yes, I do have both of those growing in my yard. Too bad I do know them well, but maybe they are producing new strange hybrids? Lol. Thanks for bringing that up!

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