Wild Edible Plants in the Catskill Mountains

Wild Edible Plants in the Catskill MountainsNuts, berries, greens and even a coffee substitute can be found in the Catskill Mountains. There are plenty of edible plants to be found in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains of New York State.

Nuts

Sweet chestnuts (pictured above), the treat immortalized in "The Christmas Song," grow in the Catskills. Rich in B vitamins and oils, chestnuts are a healthy, wild tasty treat. Beechnuts and shagbark hickory nuts are easily found in the Catskills.

Berries

elderberry

For berry lovers, a quick search on a hike can give blueberries, wild strawberries, elderberries (pictured above), blackberries and raspberries depending on the season. Bring a pail or bag and enjoy a quart or two of nature's berry bounty.

Edible Savories and Greens

Look for the yellow and orange flowers of the Nasturtiums for a tasty and colorful treat to add to your salads. Seeds from the amaranth plant can be cooked and baked for a treat much like popcorn. Identify the burdock plant and dig up its roots to boil or steam for a delicious tubur-like treat.

Chicory and Dandelions

chicory

Used by Native Americans for a brewed drink much like coffee, the chicory root (pictured above) is a great coffee substitute. Related to chicory and found in abundance, dandelions can be boiled, fermented, ground or baked to make everything from a coffee substitute to wine.

Enjoy the Bounty

A hike in the Catskills is a wonder in itself, but with a little knowledge and a good guide book to the wild edible plants, the hike can turn into a gastronomic delight.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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