I’m no expert when it comes to wild greens, but when I see wild mustard in the spring, it reminds me of my childhood in the Sacramento River Delta. We used to pick the yellow flowers, but I remember my mother cooking the younger, tender greens. She would put wild mustard in a pot with water and cook it until it looked like cooked spinach.
I don’t eat wild mustard or any form of wild greens or mushrooms. But as a child, I was willing to walk the levee and watch someone harvest wild mushrooms from the base of oak trees. There are poisonous mushrooms growing everywhere. But once these type of “safe” mushrooms were harvested, I would take them home, wash them and shred them into pieces. We shared the mushrooms with family and friends. In our cooking, we mixed them with bits of meat and vegetables . Or we would put them in soup.
When I lived along the California-Oregon border, mushroom hunters searched the woods for Chanterelle mushrooms. Chanterelle is popular for drying. Vendors came to the area once a year and paid for these mushrooms by the pound.
If you want to experience wild greens and mushrooms, ask an expert to help you identify what is safe to eat.
Wild mustard is plentiful and can be seen growing in vacant lots. Out in the country, you can see its attractive yellow flowers dotting the landscape.
But this wild green has a limited growing season. It appears in early spring, thrives in the spring rain and is usually gone by the end of April. If you want to experience wild greens and mushrooms, it is best to learn from someone who knows what to look for. Since I don’t feel confident about selecting and gathering my food from the wild, I stick with the farmers markets and supermarkets for my food.
If you know what you are looking for, the food you gather from the wild is considered fresh, natural and gourmet. Best of all, it is free.