Right now pine pollen cones are starting to release their pollen. Most people think of this as just a nuisance, but we should be grateful for this wonderful gift.
Arthur Haines is one of my favorite wild food authors, and has greatly expanded my interest and knowledge of plant uses. These videos, and many of the other videos on his Youtube Channel are very important given the amount of pollution we are exposed to every day.
This is my first year collecting pollen cones. I have gathered about three quarts of them over the last two days. I wasn’t sure from the videos how to tell when they were ready, but I emailed a photo to Arthur and he said that they were about ready. After picking a bunch and tasting a few, it seems to me that what you are looking for are clusters with large football shaped cones, possibly with a few just starting to have a touch of yellow on them, or that feel powdery when you chew them.
Arthur has a book Ancestral Plants that covers many uses of over 100 different plants.
If you can’t harvest your own pine pollen, you can purchase it online from several companies including Surthrival, but do try to harvest it your self if at all possible.
This is a very informative video about Native crops from before Mexican and European crops arrived. These plants have a lot of uses and I forage the wild forms of many of them. With a vulnerable unsustainable food system like our current one, these plants may once again play an important role in feeding us in the future.
Just a quick note, this is not a how to video, some of these plants need special preparation and or harvesting knowledge before they are good to eat. For instance, when it says that black nightshade leaves and berries are good to eat, that is true but they both need to be harvested at the proper stage of growth or they could be harmful.
Eric Toensmeier is the author of Perennial Vegetables, and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Both of Samuel Thayer’s books cover a number of these plants, and Carrol Deppe’s book Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties has a great chapter on how to domesticate wild plants.