Pacific Northwest Spring-Summer Foods & Foraging Guide

We are full swing of the amazing summer vibes here in the PNW and we are loving it. One of my very favorite things to do in the Snoqualmie Valley is to pick wildflowers, forage true dandelions and other forest delights, go to the San Juans and forage seaweed (soon to happen on our family trip to Lopez Island), stop on the side of the road where small farmers are selling fresh delicious fruit ripened by the sun, pick Lavender in Fall City, Dance, Hike, Walk, kayak, stand up paddle board for joyful movement and spend time with my family at the lake, beach and anywhere outside.

Summer is a time where I am out and about connecting with our community and the people who make that all happen. Summer is just DELICIOUS! I’ve included this seasonal foods list for you all to enjoy. I will put out another one in the Fall/Winter. We hope you are enjoying the beauty and flavors of this season!

BENEFITS OF EATING SEASONALLY

  • Save money  Seasonal produce is generally sold at a lower price as items are in abundance, and/or grown and harvested from a local farming region rather than shipped long distances. Think local asparagus filling markets in the spring as opposed to asparagus shipped in from South America during the winter at a higher cost.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and herbs taste better!  When foods are harvested in season and at peak ripeness, they have an unbeatable flavor, detectable fragrance, and richer color.
  • Higher nutrient content  When foods are harvested at peak ripeness the rich color indicates increased concentrations of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants!
  • Connection with local food sources  The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of city and small town farmers markets during spring and summer months. While seeking out deals on the freshest food, you are also supporting sustainable farming practices and engaging with your local community.
  • Opportunity to try new foods and increase variety of produce in diet  Check out CSA boxes in your area or a farm share (Community Supported Agriculture). Find out if a subscription is available and/or affordable for your needs. It’s a convenient way to receive delivery or pick up boxes that contain a variety of seasonal, fresh, locally grown food. You may find some foods you do not usually cook with! Most CSA boxes will even include a recipe or two for highlighted box item(s).

PNW FRUITS, VEGETABLES & HERBS

SPRING SEASON Mid-March to June

  • Apricots
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Fava Beans
  • Fennel (year round)
  • Garlic Scapes/Green Garlic
  • Green Onions/Scallions
  • Kale
  • Leeks (March)
  • Lettuce, Green/Red Leaf
  • Mint
  • New Potatoes
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Pea Greens/Shoots
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sorrel greens
  • Spinach
  • Thyme
  • Watercress greens

SUMMER SEASON June to Mid-September

  • Apricots
  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bok Choy
  • Boysenberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupes (August)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery & Celeriac (August)
  • Chard
  • Cherries
  • Chiles (August)
  • Collard Greens
  • Corn (August)
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant (August)
  • Fennel (year round)
  • Figs
  • Garlic (August/stored year round)
  • Grapes (August)
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions/Scallions
  • Huckleberries (Aug/Sept)
  • Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi (August)
  • Leeks (Sept)
  • Lettuce, Green/Red Leaf
  • Marionberries
  • Melon (August)
  • Mint
  • Nectarines
  • Onions, yellow or sweet (stored in winter)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Pears (August)
  • Sweet Peas & Pea Pods
  • Sweet Bell Peppers (August)
  • Plums & Pluots (August)
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Radishes, larger variety (June) -daikon, watermelon
  • Raspberries
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Snap Peas
  • Sorrel greens
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Strawberries
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watercress greens
  • Watermelon (August)
  • Zucchini & Zucchini Blossoms

 

PNW FORAGE

WA STATE FUNGI/WILD MUSHROOMS

  • Morels  – April, May, June, July, August
  • Chanterelle  – July, Aug, September
  • Oyster  – March, April, May
  • Lobster  – July, August, September

EDIBLE GREENS, BERRIES & FLOWERS

Stinging Nettles – March through May

Taking the sting out of nettles:
– Harvest and handle them wearing gloves (gardening or kitchen).
– Carefully rinse the leaves and stems under running water.
– Blanch to remove the sting! Boil in a pot of water for about 2-3 minutes, or until the leaves just start to wilt, and then quickly submerge into bowl of cold water.
– Drain and use immediately in a recipe or store refrigerated in airtight container for 4-5 days.

Enjoy sauteed with garlic and lemon as you would any other dark leafy green, use to make pesto with any type of nuts or seeds -you may want to start with 50/50 ratio of nettles and basil (or other herb of choice), add cold from fridge into smoothies, swap for spinach in any egg/whole grain/pasta dish, include in soups and stews.

Fiddlehead Ferns – Late March to June

The curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern. Look for a bright green color, any slight browning appearance indicates a more bitter rather than grassy flavor.

Rinse several times under running water to ensure removal of dirt and/or debris in tightly coiled head. May be stored raw in refrigerator, however similar to asparagus it may begin to lose flavor and texture within a few days.

Enjoy steamed, sauteed, or pickled! Similar flavor profile as asparagus & spinach -pairs well with egg dishes, lemon, garlic, mushrooms etc.

Note: It is advised to enjoy them well cooked, as consuming raw has been documented to cause GI upset such as nausea.

Dandelion Greens – March through September

Harvest and enjoy while leaves are young (before the plant flowers), use mixed in salad greens, pesto, or any other recipe that calls for a slightly bitter green.

Sorrel Greens – March-September

SPRING & SUMMER EDIBLE FLOWERS 

Add to salads, garnish smoothie bowls & chilled soups, decorate cakes, freeze in ice cubes for beautiful drinks! Don’t be fooled, some of these flowers have a bite! Nasturtiums can be particularly peppery so consider savory food pairings. Taste before you garnish!

  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Lavender
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Rose
  • Viola

SUMMER BERRIES

  • Elderberries – August, September
  • Huckleberries – August, September
  • Oregon Grapes – July, August, September
  • Raspberries – July, August
  • Blackberries – July, August
  • Blueberries – July, August
  • Salmon berries – May, June

 

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