This year the Autumnal Equinox occurred on September twenty-third which is the first day of Fall. Although I favor Spring for foraging edibles, there are edibles that ripen in the Fall. I was reminded of this as I found the edibles pictured here this week while walking the grounds where I work. They are acorns, wild muscadine grapes, and puffball fungus. About this time three years ago I wrote an article entitled “Edible Hazel Nuts” that adds to the list of edibles available during this season.
Acorns need to have the outer shell removed with the nut body finely chopped for leaching by soaking in a bowl of water. The acorn meal is strained, rinsed, and re-soaked. This process is repeated several times over the course of a twenty-four hour period. I enjoy adding the acorn meal to cornmeal in a 1:1 ratio with an egg to make delicious fried patties.
Grapes of course are edible straight away. You can tell when they reach the peak of their season when you see some that have fallen on the ground below the vine.
Puffball fungus is much like a stiff marshmallow in appearance. It’s solid white all the way through. If you find one that has begun to turn black inside, discard it as unfit for consumption. You can eat one raw but I prefer it sliced and sautéed in butter. There are other fungi that emerge at this time, especially after a long period of rain. When seeking fungus to eat it is advisable to confirm it’s identity by a local expert as some fungus can be fatal.
These are just a few examples of edibles that I found this week but hopefully this will inspire you to explore the Great Outdoors with a new awareness of the edibles that abound around us.