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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Foraging New England by Maine author Tom Seymour

Foraging New England by Maine author Tom Seymour

user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 39
I finished reading Foraging New England by Tom Seymour a couple of days ago. He references Maine several times in the book. A google search revealed he lives in Belfast and writes several columns for Maine newspapers. To access the articles go to, scroll down, click on the blue tab on the left side "check out our blogs," scroll down to the bottom of the page to find Tom Seymour's blog. There must be 40-50 short articles listed.

Chapters in his book include Plants of the Seashore, Plants of Fertile Streamsides, Plants of Disturbed and Cultivated Ground, Woodland Plants of the Mottles Shade, Mushrooms, Plants of Swamps, Bogs, and Slow-Moving Streams, Trees, Medicinal Plants, The Waste Places...

I am fired up about learning about foraging. I have identified 5 plants in my back yard so far to include Green Amaranth, Common Plantain, and Japanese Knotweed.

This morning I am going to harvest and cook Japanese Knotweed (synonym: bamboo). According to Tom it was introduced to this country in the Victorian Era and is in the buckwheat family. He prepares it similiar to asparagus spears but states that "the taste of steamed shoots defies description. Most people like it and some, like me, love it." He encourages cooking the Knotweed for neighbors after they have spent their weekend digging and cursing the plant.
Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 36
Hi Penny,
Be careful with that knotweed, Franek told us he tried it and ate quite a bit and was sorry because of what it did to his stomach! So eat a small amount at first.
Ted M.
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 71
Thanks for the book reference, Penny. Sounds like a good one to check out.
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 40
Thanks for the shout out Sue. We only consumed a small amount of the knotweed and green amaranth yesterday morning. Steamed the small tender shoots of the knotweed for about 3 minutes then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little butter. We tasted and was blown away by how good it was. Sorta like rhubarb, without being sour, however it leaves a slight acidic flavor on the palate. The amaranth was simmered for about 15 minutes then seasoned with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Also very good with a light spinach taste and texture.

I am very enthused and intrigued with wild food forage even if its in my back yard at this point. I look forward to training opportunities and expanding forage activities to the forest and stream side.
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 450
Look for a forage event coming up soon with David Spahr. We are close to picking a date, I believe.
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 210
I'd love to go beyond the scrumptious dandelion greens, esp. early in the season that Francis and I enjoyed for a straight two weeks, foraged from the nearby cemetery.

That's why I got "Wildman" Steve Brill's book -- Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places as well as his The Wildl Vegetarian Cookbook. Glad to have another resource to make comparisons so thanks Penelope!
Merry & Burl H.
Portland, ME
Post #: 52
Thanks Penelope,

I called Tom right up for an interview for my book.

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 194
I eat knotweed. I didn't think you could get shoots this late. I was wondering if you cut it down if new shoots would appear. I was finding fiddleheads and knotweed shoots at the same time this spring. There certainly is a lot around. As much as anyone could want actually.

They are good but can't compare with cattail hearts or tops. They are starting to come now BTW. If you have never had the male tops of cattail you are really missing a great thing. They are best when partially sheathed. There can be so many too. After they start going by, you can get enormous amouts of pollen by shaking the tops inside a bag. Then add it to flour and get started making something. Pancakes are a favorite.

The heart comes from the center of the stalk. Cut it at the bottom and pull away the leaves till you find the soft center (the bottom may be hard). A core that may be a foot long. Great raw or cooked. Far better than knotweed IMHO.

Cattails should be farmed. There is great food productivity in cattails than almost any known crop. I am fortunate to have a developing natural crop around my house that developed by opening up the woods (wood thinning).


user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 44
David, I only harvested the tender young shoots. There were not many. Enough to cook and sample. I LIKE 'EM. I think they could be farmed too. Have yet to try the cattail but I will make a point to do so. I am taken by the elongated harvest season as well as the use of the pollen as flour additive! Wow! I am enjoying learning and tasting.
A former member
Post #: 158
Cattails are great in a stirfry. It only takes one or two per person (along with what ever else you are using). Add them at the last minute and only heat through.
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