Wild Plants And Wooly Bears
Cold, windy and snowy. That’s the way things look from now on. And yet, foraging continues, in a way. While foraging for wild plants is pretty much out, I have contented myself with catching and eating harbor pollock and when the opportunity presents itself, brook trout and brown trout.
While trout fishing opportunities are limited now, given that only a few streams are open this time of year, pollock fishing is permitted anytime, anywhere. There is one rule, though, and that’s a daily bag limit of 12 fish. And truthfully, I wouldn’t want to clean more than 12 pollock.
These plentiful fish are available around piers, floats and breakwaters for most of the fall and into winter. Really, the only thing that stops me from catching them in midwinter is the extreme cold.
It aggravates me to have to buy fish when there are so many underutilized species out there that few people bother with. Which explains my fascination for pollock and other less-than-glamorous species.
I like to skin and fillet my pollock. These fish have been running about 12 inches and weighing close to one pound, so each fish gives two, hefty fillets.
Sometimes I’ll use my fresh pollock fillets in conjunction with preserved, wild edible plants to make a wholly-foraged meal. Home-canned goosetongue and frozen dandelions go well with ocean fish. Other times I’ll mix and match homegrown vegetables such as carrots and squash to make not a foraged meal, but a combination of foraged and homegrown.
So even during the gray, cold days of early winter, we can still enjoy our foraged foods. It just takes a bit more work. But it’s worth it.