The landscapes of Western Colorado are full of wild plants you can eat, all you have to do is look. Foraging for edible plants is a fun and healthy way to diversify your diet while enjoying some time out in the great outdoors, and here’s how to get started on the Western Slope.
There are three important rules to abide by when foraging for wild plants:
You can find an abundance of information online about foraging, but consider purchasing a field guide with photos and important details about Colorado’s various edible plants. The book “Best-tasting Wild Plants of Colorado and the Rockies” is a great resource to use.
Here are four of the most common types of edible plants you can find throughout the Western Slope:
Smelling strongly of onions, this plant grows virtually anywhere. You’ll find it in moist meadows, hillsides, on the plains, and in subalpine regions. Look for pink, lavender, and white flowers.
Wild strawberries are typically dime-sized, but what they lack in size they make up for with flavor. During spring and summer, you can find them growing low to the ground on moist and shaded forest floors. To find the sweet fruits, look for a plant with white flowers and leaves that have serrated edges.
Eat the young flowers, stems, and leaves of this yellow plant raw or cooked. The stars are flower-shaped, so this plant is also relatively easy to identify.
Yucca grows abundantly throughout the entire state of Colorado. It can be found in semi-desert areas, foothills, woodlands, canyons, and elsewhere. The buds are crisp and slightly crunchy, with a taste that resembles veggies like green beans and snow peas.
Some people report stomach upset and other feelings of discomfort when eating raw yucca petals, which is why this plant is best enjoyed cooked. Additionally, some foragers prefer to eat only the petals, and others devour the whole plant.