Winter Foraging | The Salt | NPR

National Public Radio presents winter foraging
with Debbie Naha. Chickweed, purple dead nettle, field garlic,
spicebush, hairy bittercress. This poor plant needs a new name. Wow, Debbie, I didn’t know you could find
all those edible plants in wintertime! Why don’t we come along on your walk to
find these wild greens? And then we’ll cook up a delicious pasta dish. Take it away, Debbie! This is purple dead nettle. It starts to get a little bit of purplish
tinge to the leaves. And you can always tell it’s in the mint
family by checking the stem, and the stem will be square. You can’t, like, roll it between your fingers,
it’s a square stem. A square stem! That’s neat. What’s next, Debbie? So this is field garlic. This is a plant that you can always find in the winter. It grows in clumps that come up. They kind of look like long grass, but it’s not grass. You can cook them up like you would any onion. You can use the tops like you use chives,
you can chop them. And you wind up with garlic breath, you really do. Once you know it, it starts popping up all over. I see you, field garlic. This shrub is spicebush. And spicebush has these little buds that are winter floral buds. The bark of spicebush is usually an olive
kind of color, and it has speckles on it. And the speckles are called lenticels. They’re actually little breathing pores
for gas exchange. And then the final test is the scratch-and-sniff test, because nothing else smells like this plant. Mmm, yeah. Mmm, smells like a spicy lemon! This is one of my favorite plants, it really is. Hairy bittercress. It just needs a new name; it needs a PR makeover. It grows in this rosette shape, which means that these leaves are all radiating out from a central point. It tastes like watercress but milder, like
not as peppery as watercress. Mmm, yeah. Doesn’t look very hairy to me. This is chickweed. It’s a weak-stemmed plant so it doesn’t
stand up straight. Inside the stem, there’s like an elastic thread. It’s like a little rubber band inside there. And it’s very mild-tasting. Yup, that’s chickweed. You found a lot of greens there, Debbie. Now will you show us how to cook them? This is field garlic. So we’re going to be separating the bulb
from the greens. And I’m going to take the bulbs and give
them a quick sauté. And we’re making spicebush tea. We want to keep them submerged for at least 20 minutes. So in this colander here, we have our rinsed
chickweed and dead nettle and hairy bittercress. And we’re going to use a box of penne pasta. So we’re going to wilt our greens here. Ooooo! Then I’m going to scrape this field garlic. We’ll add the chopped field garlic tops. And the final ingredient is the cheese. So here we have our penne pasta with
wild greens of winter and hot spicebush tea. Thanks Debbie! That looks delicious. Mmm, good!


  1. Love the attitude/tone of the video – color/audio shifting, perfect narration. Mmmm…. yeah! What an awesome video.

  2. Would love to see more of your videos, Deb! I learned so much more than I ever knew about appearance, texture, taste, smell and habitat of wild edibles. Your knew just which wild plants to forage and combine to make that tasty dish… yum!

  3. Many of the plants are non-natives and invasive, so it picking them in public lands is not usually a problem. But remember that some places have rules against picking any plants. And be aware of any threatened or endangered species.

  4. Lovely, but the editing seems like it was done by someone from Adult Swim who enjoyed the Twin Peaks score a little too much. Interesting vibe…

  5. Debbie was awesome. Didn't care for all the scribbling over the plants and not crazy about all the thrown in robotic commentary.

  6. Thank you for the information. I thought the video was just fine. I liked the commentator. It was different, I'll admit, but I found it relaxing and fun. Just sayin'

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