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Episode 20 S1-20

North American Wild Foraging


Special Guest:

Day After Disaster Ch 20

Abe Lloyd

In the Day After Disaster story food and fun are in abundance. The survivors are taking a moment to enjoy a little happiness in a very dismal situation. Today, Abe Lloyd, ethnobotanist and author of Wild Berries of Washington and Oregon, appears on the show to talk about wild foraging in North America and common plants that are found in most areas that can be of use.

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3 Go-To Plants Commonly Found In The US

Service Berry


  • A shrubby plant to a small tree size.

  • Part of the rose family and has fruit with a very floral flavor.

  • Seeds have a slight almond flavor and are a little large.

  • Berries are red to purple and the size of small blueberries.

  • You can cook in a pie and they pair well with cherries.

  • These are found in every state.



  • Many types of oaks exist throughout the US and natives used them as a staple in their diets.  

  • The inside is bitter and must be transformed by leaching it, drying it and leaching it.

  • Makes great flour for bread, use it in a cornbread recipe

Stinging Nettle

  • Tall weed with picky points on it.

  • Provides immunity boost

  • Can be used early summer or late spring

  • Can use in teas for alergy relief

  • Seeds - not super tasty but can be put in a smoothie for an energy boost.

  • The plant should be quickly boiled, steamed or dryed to render the stinging hairs useless.

  • Cook similar to spinach, plain with salt and butter or use in an omlet or pesto.

  • Very nutritious and high in protein.

Plants Featured in Day After Disaster


Basic Descriptions of the cattail, dandelion and Yampa Cattail - Food for every season


  • Shoots - you have to pick at the right time to be tasty. As they elongate they get fibrous.

  • Peel the shot and eat the inner layers that are white and tender. Get the shoots from plants that are hip height any taller than that they get too fibrous.

  • Ryzomes under the much are best in late fall. They taste like corn.

  • The pollen from the top can be used as a flour substitute but you have to use it immediately.

  • The cattail part on top can be eaten when green, looks like a corn cob.

  • The leaves picked in the late summer and fall can be used to make a mat.


  • Grow everywhere and many parts are edible.

  • Dried roots are usually used in tea and makes a rich and hearty flavor.

  • The greens are bitter and used in salad. Harvest in early spring.

  • Flours are very useful and not bitter. You can put them in salads and fritters.

  • The stalks are edible and juicer than the greens but they can be bitter as well.

  • Dandelions are high in iron and calcium.


  • Not common throughout the US and are a hidden treasure plant.

  • Grow in bald habitat with shallow soil and very little trees.

  • Leaves look like grass so they are hard to find.

  • They have a tiny onion shaped veggie

Benefits and Risks of Berries


  • Misidentifying any plant or berry is a huge risk.

  • We've developed a sensitive pallet so if it tastes bad, spit it out!

  • Learn from a professional and really know the plant before you eat it. 

  • Berries are many people's introduction to wild foraging.


  • Wild foraged berries are much more nutritious than domestically grown ones. Twice as high in antioxidants and vitamins.

  • Unique flavors

  • Growing native berries is trending and more environmentally sustainable.

  • Diversity in your diet is very important.

Service Berry
Service Berry
Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle

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Day After Disaster Ch 20

Abe Lloyd

Abe has a passion for plants and indigenous foods that traces back deep into his childhood. His early aspirations as a botanist led him to Northland College on the south shore of Lake Superior, where he completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource Management.


Since then, research projects have taken Abe to many corners of the planet, most notably, to Nepal where he served as an ethnobotanist for the Peace Corps with Langtang National Park from 2003-2004, and then to NW Yunnan and back to Nepal, where he worked as a volunteer botanist for the Missouri Botanical Gardens monitoring vegetation changes in the alpine areas during the fall of 2009. More recently, in 2011, Abe completed a Master’s Degree in Ethnoecology at the University of Victoria under the Northwest Coast ethnobotanist, Dr. Nancy J. Turner.


For his thesis research, Abe collaborated with Kwakwaka’wakw elder Kwaxsistalla (Clan Chief Adam Dick) to experimentally restore a traditional estuarine salt marsh root garden near the remote First Nation village of Kingcome Inlet on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Abe now lives in his home town of Bellingham and is an active member of the Washington Native Plant Society, the NW Mushroomers, and the Society of Ethnobiology. He is the director of Salal, the Cascadian Food Institute, an Adjunct Professor at Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and Royal Roads University, and actively researches, promotes, and eats the indigenous foods of this bountiful bioregion.

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