Wild edible plants are a free source of vitamins, minerals and unusual tastes to city-bred palates. Keep in mind that not all wild plants are edible, and not all edible plants are pleasant to eat. A good guidebook, specific to your area, will help you discern between what you should pick and what you shouldn't.
Most wild edible greens, such as dandelion greens or fireweed, are edible at any time but tastiest when young and tender. Try to get them before they reach their full size.
Some greens, such as fiddlehead ferns, are only edible when harvested young; maturation allows them to develop harmful toxins. For fiddleheads, pick them when the heads are still tightly curled.
Root crops and bulbs should be harvested in the spring or fall.
Flowers, obviously enough, can only be harvested once they've grown, usually during the summer season. Harvest them before they wild.
Wild fruits like berries should be harvested as soon as they're ripe, before they rot, fall or freeze. Rose hips are an exception; some claim they're most flavorful when harvested just after the first frost of the season.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.