Michelle Palazzo, Sanctuary Forest Edible and Medicinal Plants

I love foraging the local area for plants that I can incorporate into my meals.  I especially enjoy sharing those meals with friends and telling the story about where the ingredients came from.  So, even though my summer was looking pretty hectic, when the chance to take an edible and medicinal plant walk in the Sanctuary Forest came up, I had to do it!

Michelle Palazzo is one of those people who is a born storyteller and presenter.  Using a combination of sweet insight and humor, she shares her natural world with those of us who are hungry for the information.  I was happy to see that while there were plenty of us older folk, there were also many younger hikers along.  They were were armed with notebooks and field guides and were making some serious plans to start foraging some of the items we were seeing.

Jessica Eden, Food for Thought Producer and Forest Elf

One of the things that really surprised me was finding out that redwood trees are edible.  Now, don’t plant on munching on the bark of an old growth — we sampled some of the new shoots of a tree that was accessible from the trail.  The taste was first lemony, then pine, with a finish that was pleasant but bitter.  I once tasted a spruce jelly and immediately thought how nice it would be to make some redwood jelly — of course spruce tips are a little easier to come by since there are some closer to the ground.

To listen to the interview with Michelle Palazzo, click here.  To get more information about the Sanctuary Forest, click here.

Vanessa Vasquez, Mapping Edible Foods in Public Spaces

Vanessa Vasquez is a student at Humboldt State University pursuing a masters degree in Social Studies in  Environment and Community — her project?  Mapping edible foods that are available to the community in public spaces using GIS technology.  To hear more about her project, listen here.

Native Plants as food — Gisela Rohde

Self-taught naturalist Gisela Rohde discusses ethnobotany as described to ethnographers in the late 1800s and early 1900s by native people in Humboldt County.  Two separate interviews discuss Berries and Bulbs; Seeds, Nuts and Acorns; and, Greens, Plants as Seasoning, and plants used as cooking tools.  To Listen to this 2-part interview with Gisela:

 Part 1

Part 2

Berries include Bearberry —

and Thimbleberry — whose large leaves were used to separate salmon filets in a similar way that we use waxed paper today.










 Chlorogalum Kunth – soapplant

©Mark W. Skinner. United States, CA, Tuolumne Co., Red Hills. April 17, 1990.Any use of copyrighted images requires notification of the copyright holder.

Bulbs include the fantastic soap plant that could be eaten, used for it’s sudsing and cleaning power, and after roasting a brush could be made out of the inedible part for cleaning (it looks like a shaving brush)

Pussy ears (Calochortus tolmiei) The bulbs were eaten by many native people:

Rosy firecracker flower (Dicherlostemma ida-maia x congestum) is another bulb that was harvested by many native people.

One of the most important food for many native people in Humboldt County was the acorn.  While the tan oak plant really isn’t an oak — the seed was ground into a flour that many people thought was the very best of all the acorn meals.

Lithocarpus densiflorus (Hook. & Arn.) Rehder