Foraging in New England’s Autumn
In this guide, we’ll explore the wonders of New England’s autumn foraging, from the woods to the shoreline, uncovering the natural treasures that await you.
The vibrant foliage, crisp air, and an abundance of seasonal treasures waiting to be foraged will Autumn in New England a spectacular sight. As the leaves turn from green to a dazzling array of reds, oranges, and yellows, the forests and fields of this region come alive with edible delights.
Foraging Fruits of the New England Forest
The forests of New England are a forager’s paradise in the fall. As the summer gives way to cooler temperatures, a cornucopia of wild edibles emerges. With this in mind, here are some of my favorite treasures to find:
Apples: New England is famous for its apple orchards, but wild apple trees thrive in the region. Look for these hidden gems in forested areas and along hiking trails.
Blackberries: Late-season blackberries are often found along forest edges and trails. They’re perfect for pies, jams, or enjoying fresh.
Concord Grapes: The smell of Concord grapes permeates the air this time of year and, for me, brings back many fond memories of childhood. Now, I forage and make grape jelly every fall with my daughters.
Rose Hips: Rose hips, the vibrant red fruit of wild roses, are rich in vitamin C and can be used for teas or syrups.
Partridgeberry: Partridgeberries are small, tart red berries found in forested areas, and they make a delightful hiking trail snack.
Garlic Mustard: Garlic mustard, an invasive plant, offers edible leaves with a mild garlic flavor that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Goldenrod: Goldenrod, often mistaken for causing allergies (which it certainly does not!), produces edible flowers that can be used to make herbal teas or infusions.
Cranberries: Cranberries thrive in boggy areas and are a staple of Thanksgiving meals, used for sauces, relishes, and baked goods.
Sumac: Sumac’s red, fuzzy berries yield a tangy, spice that’s perfect for making a refreshing lemonade-like drink.
Pine Needles: Pine needles can be brewed into a vitamin C-rich tea, giving a unique flavor and health benefits.
Foraging Safety Tips
Before you embark on your autumn foraging adventure, remember these essential safety tips:
- Identification: Always be 100% certain of what you’re harvesting. If in doubt, consult a field guide or local expert. Here is my absolute favorite field guide for the Northeast region.
- Respect: Always ensure you respect property boundaries and seek permission from landowners.
- Environmentally Friendly: Harvest responsibly and sustainably, leaving no trace of your presence. Additionally, it is also a good rule to leave at least 1/3 of the harvest behind to sustain the ecosystem.
- Chemical Awareness: Be mindful of the location in which the plants are growing. Harvests from roadsides can be contaminated with road salts and vehicle fluids.
So, embrace the beauty of New England’s autumn while connecting with its bounty through foraging. Next time you are strolling through the woods, remember that this season offers an array of flavors waiting to be discovered.
Remember to forage responsibly, respect the environment, and savor the tastes of autumn in New England. Happy foraging!