Plants to Forage in Fall
1. Crabapples - wild apples are smaller and more sour than their cultivated counterparts, but are delicious when cooked into desserts or made into jelly.
2. Wild Grapes - common in many areas and grows along roadsides, forest edges, and stream banks. Use them like you would regular grapes.
3. Persimmons - native to the southeast US along with a few southwestern states, persimmons are a delicious fruit that needs to be eaten when soft and ripe otherwise they are sour and bitter.
4. Elderberries - immense medicinal value and are also edible. Best to eat them cooked.
5. Autumn Olives - they aren’t really olives but red berries that grow on a shrub in the central and easten US. They need to be fully ripe before eating or else they taste astringent.
6. Cranberries - native to the northeastern and upper midwestern US and Eastern Canada. They handle frosts well and will last through the fall and even part of winter.
7. Rose Hips - the fruit of the rose flower, can be found in the wild or cultivated gardens. They are high in vitamin C.
8. Sumac Berries - any sumac variety that has red berries is edible. The clusters of berries are very tart and will persist well into fall.
9. Hawthorn Berries - there are many types of hawthorn berries that are ripe in fall. They don’t all taste great, but none are poisonous except for the seeds so don’t eat the seeds!
10. Acorns - the nuts of oak trees are especially abundant in fall. They need some processing to make them edible but they can be made into acorn flour.
11. Chestnuts - sweet chestnuts are a delicious fall treat. Don’t confuse them with the similar looking horse chestnut though, which are very bitter and toxic.
12. Black Walnuts - a great fall foraging food, but takes some work to hull and crack. Not everyone likes them but if they’re abundant near you give them a try!
13. Pine Nuts - pine nuts come from the piñon pine which grows in the western US. They are a bit tough to harvest and process but delicious.
14. Dock Seeds - curly dock and yellow dock are leafy weeds foraged in the spring and summer for their greens. In late summer they grow a large stalk that will be covered in seeds in fall. Once the seed stalk dries the seeds can be collected.
15. Dandeliion Root - a highly medicinal bitter herb that is abundant in most areas. It can be used in all kinds of recipes from a coffee subsitute to dandelion root muffins.
16. Chicory Root - chicory grows almost everywhere. High in fiber and like dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute or in other recipes.
17. Burdock Root - burdock is a thistle with a tasty edible root. Other kinds of thistles like bull thistle and milk thistle also have edible roots you can dig up in the fall.
18. Jerusalem Artichoke - these knobby tubers actually get sweeter after a few frosts. They are often grown in gardens but can also be found growing wild in disturbed areas.
19. Conifer Needes - the needles of evergreen conifers are one of the most widespread things to forage in fall. Most are edible except the yew which is toxic. Pine, fir, spruce, redwood, and hemlock (the conifer not the herb) are all good. They can be made into a tea or added to recipes.
20. Birch bark - can be foraged in colder regions, the bark and small twigs can be made into a tea. The inner bark can be made into a flour substitute. Don’t forage too much bark from one tree or you risk harming the tree and it’s growth!
21. Sassafras - the root and bark can be made into a tea and is one of the original flavors in root beer. It grows in the eastern US and has distinctive mitten shaped leaves.
22. Juniper Berries - they aren’t really berries but a pine cone with a distinctive flavor and scent. Commonly used as a spice or for medicinal purposes instead of a food.
23. Chickweed - comes up in spring and again in the fall. The greens are edible and make a yummy pesto!
24. Goldenrod - blooms in the late summer and fall. Use goldenrod as an infusion for honey and add it to tea. It is great for relieving allergies.