15 Edible Plants Worth Foraging for This Summer

Rather than paying high grocery store prices for chemically modified produce, consider foraging for wild fruits, vegetables, seeds, and herbs this summer.

When people think of foraging, they typically think of finding mushrooms in damp gulleys. Foraging is more diverse than that, as many common plants are edible and delicious. When the warm weather comes,, and the sun shines every day, it’s the perfect time to go on a foraging adventure.

These are some of the tastiest and most useful plants to forage during summer. Some are flowers that make lovely teas, some are seeds that make the perfect soup topping, and some are leafy greens that can replace spinach. Hunt for these summertime plants and see the immense potential of summertime foraging.

1. White Clover

White Clover Flowering
Image Credit: Forest & Kim Starr – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

White clover is easiest to find and forage in late spring and early summer, but it can be found throughout summer in many regions. Its leaves are nutritious and have a delicate flavor similar to peas.

The plant is a tasty addition to summer salads, but you can also cook the leaves. When cooked or dried, they take on a sweeter and warmer flavor. When cooked, white clover can add depth to many dishes.

2. Yarrow

Yarrow in Wenatchee foothills, Chelan County, Washington
Image Credit: Thayne Tuason, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Yarrow is often abundant during summer, making it a perfect plant to find. The leaves are delicious in salads or sauces but can also be used to make herbal tea. Most people use it for tea, but there are other possibilities.

The yarrow leaf and flower are edible, so you can pick the whole plant. Almost all of North America has yarrows in grassy areas, so it’s one of the easiest forage plants to find in summer.

3. Raspberries

European Raspberry Fruits
Image Credit: Kollányi Gábor – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Raspberries are one of the most exciting treats you can forage and are easiest to find during July and August. Raspberries grow on full bushes, so they can be hard to spot, and you have to look carefully.

Wild raspberries are much smaller than the chemically-engineered ones you get from the grocery store, so don’t be surprised by their tiny size. However, many foragers find the wild ones tastier than the store-bought ones.

4. Strawberries

Wild strawberries
Image Credit: Nikolay Omonov, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Wild strawberries are similar to wild raspberries in that they’re smaller than expected. Nevertheless, they’re delicious and succulent fruits. They might be the highlight of the summer season.

Wild strawberries can be easier to spot than raspberries, as their bushes aren’t as full, and the berries often grow toward the top. Fun fact: wild strawberries grow naturally in every US state except Hawaii.

5. Fireweed

Fireweed Growing on Granite, California
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Fireweed might not sound safe to eat, but it is. This vibrant plant grows in hedgerows and field margins during summer. You can forage for the fresh shoots in spring or the petals during summer since both are edible.

Fireweed has some interesting uses. It adds a tannic flavor to syrups, jellies, and sauces. People also use it to create unique ice cream flavors. The taste is honeyed with hints of wood.

6. Fat Hen

Fat Hen Wild Spinach
Image Credit: Maksymilian Buś, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Fat Hen is a green plant ripe for picking during the summer months. The name might sound silly and unfamiliar, but Fat Hen looks and tastes almost exactly like spinach. It might even taste better than spinach.

The nutritious leafy greens are used in salads and cooked dishes. This plant might be the healthiest on this list. It has anti-inflammatory properties and rivals spinach in nutrients.

7. Bilberries

Image Credit: Anneli Salo – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Bilberries are not as well-known as raspberries and strawberries, but many foragers consider them premium berries. Bilberries, also called blaeberries, are ready for picking in July and early August.

These aren’t mainstream berries because they’re very difficult to grow, so wild bilberries are often the only way to try this tart berry. They’re acidic when raw but taste delightful when macerated and made into a pie or jam.

8. Angelica

Angelica sylvestris
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Wild angelica is prominent throughout July. This plant is not appetizing when raw, so you must cook it to appreciate its distinct flavor. When raw, angelica has a pungent, musky odor that makes it unpleasant.

When cooked, it has an aromatic and warm flavor, leaning toward a sweeter profile. People often use it as a celery substitute in soups, sauces, savory pies, and stuffings. It can also be sugared and used in sweet treats.

9. Broadleaf Plantain

Cultivar Rubrifolia of Broadleaf Plantain
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Not to be confused with plantain fruits, broadleaf plantain leaves are another leafy green comparable to spinach. They grow in big bushes, so you can take home a massive pile and use it for the rest of summer.

You’ll have an endless supply once you find a spot with them. When raw, plantain leaves have a bold, bitter flavor that’s yummy in summer salads. They have a deeper taste when cooked but retain their bright and biting qualities.

10. Elderberries

Image Credit: Edal Anton Lefterov, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Elderberries are one of the most underrated berries. They are typically only available for foraging during late summer, so August and early September are the best times to hunt for them.

Many people avoid them because raw elderberries can be toxic, as they contain small amounts of cyanide. However, they’re harmless once fully cooked and have a rich flavor. Make sure to cook them for at least 30 minutes until they’re fully soft.

11. Mint Leaves

Mint Leaves
Image Credit: Patrick Alexander – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Wild mint is ready for picking in the late spring and early summer months. Mint offers a refreshing, cooling sensation with hints of sweetness and earthiness. It also self-seeds, so there’s no such thing as a small mint patch.

Mint is one of the most versatile plants you can forage. It’s a magical ingredient that can be used in everything from mojitos to mushy peas to lamb roasts. The leaves are bright green, making for a beautiful garnish.

12. Chamomile Flowers

Roman Chamomile
Image Credit: H. Zell, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Chamomile is probably best known as a type of tea, but it’s more versatile than people realize. The soft yellow and white flowers bloom from June to September, so they’re available all summer.

In addition to brewing a calming cup of tea, chamomile flowers can be used to make liqueurs, candy, ice cream, jams, jellies, and more. They also bring a floral flavor and aroma to light fish dishes, cakes, and even pasta.

13. Elderflower

Image Credit: J.M Garg, Own Work – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Elderflower is another edible flower available throughout summer. We recommend foraging for elderflowers in early summer when blossoms are most plentiful, but you can still find some in August and after.

These flowers have a sweet, honeyed scent and flavor. They’re sensational in cakes, jams, jellies, trifles, tarts, cookies, pies, and more. You can also make elderflower liqueur with these blooms.

14. Skullcap

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Skullcap might sound deadly, but this plant has long been used in traditional herbal medicines. There’s evidence that it can improve mood, reduce inflammation, and even help prevent cancer.

This edible plant does not have many culinary uses. Instead, people use it as a mild sedative for sleeping, anxiety, and pain. Skullcap is best as a tea or tincture, so it’s not the tastiest plant to forage. However, its many benefits make up for the less-than-pleasant flavor.

15. Yellow Dock Seed

Yellow Dock
Image Credit: Olivier Pichard, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Yellow dock seeds are excellent additions to many dishes and can be foraged roughly from June to October. This long season makes them one of the most convenient items to forage.

The small brown seeds have a tart but nutty flavor comparable to caraway seeds. They’re a robust addition to salads, soups, stews, cooked vegetables, and even pizzas. You can also grind them into flour for loaves of bread and other baked goods.

+ posts