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'wild food' from your neck of the woods?

What's something you've eaten that's a local wild favourite?
Picked, hunted, trapped or...bonus points for things that I might never have seen, let alone tried!
Here in New Zealand, muttonbird or titi; the unfledged young of an endemic seabird, are hauled from their burrows, plucked, salted and packed in buckets.
They are extremely fatty, but the really challenging thing about them is because of their 100% seafood diet, they taste kind of like a ducky anchovy.
Either a delicacy or an abomination, depending on your taste!
Apparently my taste runs to anchovy flavoured greasy birds...

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  1. Game of all sorts is readily available in supermarkets and farmers markets where I am. I regularly eat mallard, pigeon and rabbit as well as the more common venison (although much of the latter is farmed. The smaller birds, like snipe and woodcock, are available in season but, whilst I've eaten them, I find that they are a fiddle to eat because of their small size.

    1. Caribou is my favorite 'four-legged' meat.
      Wild garlics are excellent.

      1. We always have a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Very often a ham made from wild boar as well. The men in my family are great hunters, always having venison (tenderloin, steaks, sausage, jerky), rabbit, dove, squirrel, duck, quail, and of course dozens of varieties of fresh-caught fish, usually fileted, battered, and fried. Once a year the uncles all get together and go frog- gigging and then have a fried frog leg feast, with which no women will have any truck whatsoever. As for wild non-animal groceries, strawberries, blackberries, dewberries, spring onions (scunnions), collards, mustard greens, and ramps are common in my family.
        When it comes to food, it's not a bad life here.

        1. For me, at the Shore, it's big, wild caught striped bass and bluefish.

          1. Living in the northern Great Lakes--morel mushrooms. Pickers all have their own super secret picking spots in the woods they rarely even want to pass on even to their children except on their death beds. Here in northern Michigan a picker with a good area can get 8-10 pounds in a day and if you're goofy/smart enough to sell at market go for about $60/pound US last time I checked. Any I find are mine--couldn't give them up for any price (yeah, right ;-)

            1. In the PNW we have lots of salmon, crab, oysters and trout. Various wild mushrooms (morels are my fav) lots and lots of berries (my favorites from the woods are blackberries and huckleberries).

              4 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                All that and venison, elk, moose, duck, quail, etc. I don't hunt but my neighbor does, he bags em, brags about it and I get to cook it. It's a win-win. The pacific NW is truly a bounty of food that most people, myself included, are completely ignorant of.

                1. re: sedimental

                  Don't forget the clams, especially the geoducks, and the mussels. Pacific snapper & ling cod are two of my favorite bottom fish.

                  1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                    Oh, yeah. Too much to really list. It is an embarrassment of riches. Geoduck chowder is a family tradition of mine.

                  2. re: sedimental

                    Plus fiddlehead ferns, stinging nettles, sea beans/asparagus, seaweeds and so forth. Such a rich, bounteous region here.

                  3. While the fisheries of east central Florida have been largely destroyed for commercial purposes, you can still get a few stragglers.

                    Snook and sea trout can still be caught. And if you have a trap, blue crabs are a possibility. Due to the lack of clams and oysters, pen shells are on the menu. And we have the non-native feral hogs. They have to be purged with feed for a month in order to have an acceptable taste.

                    1. CT - hickory nuts, Concord grapes, currants
                      PA - deer. Lots of deer
                      TX - deer, quail, javelina, mayhaw jelly
                      SC - catfish stew
                      FL - citrus, fish
                      CO - trout - brookies, rainbows, browns
                      Yucatan - chaya, annatto, bananas, limes, avocados, fish
                      Turks & Caicos - endless conch and lobster

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Veggo

                        Texas, chicken fried, deer tenderloin and quail. Baked dove breasts wrapped in bacon, watch out for shotgun pellets in the dove and quail. Baked grouper. Fried speckled trout, red snapper, and redfish. Redfish on the half shell. Boiled blue crabs. Jackrabbit chili. My grandmother used to pan fry squirrel I shot, again watch out for those pellets. Fresh caught catfish, not farm raised, plus crappie, and perch, sunfish, bluegills etc. just scaled, head cut off and gutted, fried whole. Some of the best fish ever, but not for the bone squeamish.

                      2. Arizona (the desert part): jackrabbit, quail, javelina, rattlesnake. And cactus jelly.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: alliegator

                          Righto- also include prickly pear pads (nopales) and the fruit's juice used a lot of ways, and not just in jelly. Season's starting about now, in fact.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            I like buying the cactus fruit with the clusters of little prickers buzzed off. Those suckers do some damage.

                        2. SW Florida here. Some of these things I haven't had in a while since my dad stopped hunting but things I have had include
                          Hearts of palm
                          Stone crab.
                          There are many more but these are ones I have had.

                          Edit I would like to add red fish, mullet, quail and dove. And thank my brother for always starting the feather fights after plucking the winged beasts. And thinking how cool dad was blow torching the pinfeathers off.

                          1. We ate it in Wyoming, but there's plenty of it around here in CO too... cottontail rabbits. SO's 9 year old nephew shot them. Delicious. And, hopefully my SO will get a deer or elk this hunting season, he did not last year. He also wants to pick up fishing again, so if he does that, I will expect some good trout.

                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                A couple folks we know up in Wyoming have moose tags this year :) I hope I can snag some meat from them!

                                There's actually lots of moose running around up by my SO's dad's cabin, we're going up there in a few weeks.

                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                  Moose are an introduced species in Newfoundland -- introduced as a game animal around 1900. They are now a plague on the highways here but are very common in the pot. Almost everyone has a relative with a moose license.

                                  Other wild Newfoundland food: partridgeberries, bakeapples, blueberries and many other wild berries. And many kinds of fish, especially if you come from a fishing family.

                                2. Gator tail, spiny lobster, swamp cabbage, smoked kingfish, citrus, carambola, lychee, cactus pear, coconuts, bananas, redfish, speckled perch. But no birds.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                    Are you in FL or somewhere southeast? Gators and swamp cabbage give you up. Nola?

                                    1. re: suzigirl

                                      Florida's Treasure Coast for many years. I still have property there, but work out of DC/Balt. Nowadays. Dual citizenship.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        I thought you smelled of salt water. :-)

                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                          Another wild Florida item I overlooked above - Osceola turkeys. A friend from PA spent a king's ransom rounding out his "grand slam" of American turkeys by bagging an Osceloa here with a guide on private land. FL is their only habitat in the US. He gave me a breast, which was good eating.

                                        1. blackberries.
                                          ask any young person (aka kid) around here -
                                          west coast British Columbia

                                          1. When people say 'cottontails',I assume they mean wild rabbits?
                                            This country is not designed for mammals and they've had a bad effect.
                                            Harters, you don't mention them, but are gull's eggs sustainable to harvest ? They sure are pretty!
                                            'Canary in the coalmine'? How about 'frog in the pond'? The frogs seem to have pretty much vanished; we get rather thrilled if something croaks...
                                            Wild Turkey means a certain bourbon to me . I'd love to come a cross a real turkey!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pippimac

                                              pippimac - my apologies for not responding to your question until now (the thread had dropped off my radar)..

                                              Under present UK law, gulls eggs are sustainable - in that anyone collecting must hold a licence to do so. And there's only 25 licence holders in the country. Many of these people are elderly and are no longer collecting. And, effectively, no new licences are being. Eggs can only be harvested from six particular sites and, even then, only for a 6 week period.

                                              So, it looks as though the trade will disappear in due course. I doubt whether anyone will miss it.

                                            2. North central Kansas - white tailed deer, wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, quail, duck, dove, lots of pond/lake catfish and bass. I don't hunt, but my friends and family members do so I often end up with some spoils. When in Oklahoma a friend often went to Texas/Arkansas and hunted feral hogs. He also hunted squirrel and rabbit but I turned those treats down.

                                              1. fiddleheads, boxberries, blueberries, assorted shellfish and lobsters, venison, wild turkey (can be nasty more often than good), wild goose (same as turkey) and duck.

                                                1. We live on Lake Huron, Bruce County Ontario.

                                                  Ramps aka wild leeks.

                                                  Had a beautiful puffball last year - that's a wild mushroom that can grow to the size of basketball.

                                                  Sadly I don't hunt but have receive plenty of moose and venison.

                                                  Lots of freshwater fish: Whitefish, Perch; Walleye; Whitefish; Rainbow Trout; Lake Trout; Chinook Salmon; Brown Trout; Coho Salmon; Pink Salmon, and occasionally I go inland for Brook Trout.

                                                  The Trout and Salmon can get quite large so I often smoke or pickle them as I don't like freezing my fish.

                                                  In years past I ate a lot of wild rabbit and muskrat.

                                                  1. I don't generally eat things I have to kill myself, so it's just plant foraging for me. Here in the Chihuahuan desert, over the last year I've tried
                                                    prickly pear paddles and fruit
                                                    horehound tea and candy,
                                                    limoncillo tea
                                                    pitaya cactus fruit (my favorite, but hard to find before the critters get them)
                                                    mesquite bean-- I'm going to make mesquite jelly tomorrow, in fact. If I can ever afford a grinder, I'll try to make mesquite flour

                                                    I've also been experimenting with solar cooking. I've managed to do some nice simmered dishes, but had very poor luck baking.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Anarie

                                                      Chihuahua? No peyote buttons? You have to learn where the little ones grow, someone will beat you to the grown ones. Their ritualistic mystique is centuries old.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Sure. 'Enjoyed' would be a better description than 'done'.

                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            Not for the taste of it, surely.

                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                              No problem with the earthy taste. Especially that little chunk that wedged in a molar that you dig out with your tongue a couple hours later and get a little turbocharge.
                                                              EDIT: it's use by others than designated Native Americans has all but disappeared in the US, and it is somewhat scarce in northern Mexico.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                Never had a fresh one. The dried ones were nasty-tasting. They were fun, though.

                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                            The nausea, etc. is sorta part of the experience, whether fresh or dried.

                                                      1. You guys are making me jealous. All we really have here is venison, rabbit, squirrel, and a bit of bear. And of those, I only eat the venison.

                                                        For produce, we have wild blackberries and strawberries. Plus, if someone would make it trendy, plenty of kudzu!

                                                        1. we have a Bigfoot party every year were I cook all wild game
                                                          last year
                                                          wild boar ragut over polenta
                                                          venison roast with a dry spiced rub
                                                          smoked trout
                                                          partrige in phylo dough
                                                          braised quail with wild mushroom
                                                          duck on fried rice rice cakes
                                                          rabbit rillette
                                                          and some other stuff all of it is pretty ordinary though except we had rattlesnake nuggets and allegigator tail
                                                          about 60 to 70 people show up it is lots of fun