November Foraging Guide
by Nai'a LeDain
While you might associate fir trees with Christmas, their tender, bright green tips can be harvested year-round, including in November. Infusing Douglas fir tips into oils can create a delightful essence that's perfect for baking or drizzling over roasted vegetables. Try a unique project by making your own Douglas fir-infused vinegar—a flavorful addition to your pantry.
Among the evergreens of the Pacific Northwest, juniper trees stand out with their bluish-green foliage. In November, you'll find their berries ripening to a deep blue-black. These aromatic gems, rich in antioxidants, have a piney and slightly citrusy flavor. Fun fact: Juniper berries are a key ingredient in crafting gin! Consider infusing them into syrups for cocktails or using them to add depth to savory dishes like roasted meats and stews.
Old Man's Beard, a lichen that hangs like wispy beards from trees, is a fascinating find in our region. While not a plant per se, its medicinal properties have been treasured for centuries. In November, you can harvest small amounts for making tinctures or salves with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Anecdotal accounts suggest it was used by Indigenous cultures to aid in wound healing and respiratory ailments.
Remember, foraging is not only about sustenance but also a way to connect with nature and cultivate a deeper appreciation for our local ecosystem. Whether you're savoring the flavors of the season or embarking on creative projects, November in Bellingham offers a tapestry of natural wonders waiting to be discovered.