Season’s Eatings: Seasonal foods for spring

Five seasonal wild foods you may find lurking in your own backyard.

Credit: Flickr / Summer Tomato

Spring is the time to forage for wild foods in BC

Vancouver has a moderate climate. We can see sunny days during winter and sometimes rain on a summer’s day. Our seasons become blurred, meaningless, washed into one another like steak-jus and salad dressing. We buy strawberries in winter and pears in spring with little regard for Shakespeare’s Berowne who told us we should “like of each thing that in season grows.” If there were ever a time to heed those words, it is spring.

It’s the first season, Printemps, the Prime Time, not only in the cycle of birth and death, but also of taste.


Favourite springtime foods:

Here are five of my favourite spring treats to look out for at the market, or even in your backyard, they all grow wild around BC.

A note: Take care eating wild foods. If you’re not sure, ask an expert or don’t eat it. If you experience hallucinations, call a doctor or your friends.



These spears pierce the hearts of salad eaters and BBQ-lovers alike. Grill the thicker ones on the barbecue; chop the thin ones into a salad. To keep them fresh, trim the bottoms and stand them up in a glass, like a bouquet of flowers.

Pasta with fiddleheads, asparagus, ramps and pecorino in a cream sauce.  Image: Flickr / kthread



These ferns enjoy a very short season so you have to be quick. If you’re buying them, look for tightly furled, bright heads. They are famously featured in soups but can be used almost anywhere you’d use asparagus. Try them blanched and sautéed (fait sauté sounds so much nicer than fried) in butter.

A salad of watercress, creamy cucumbers, candied orange and beets.  Image: Flickr / Stuart Spivack



Watercress is a fantastically versatile little leaf. It’s a welcome, peppery accent to a salad; my grandmother swears by cress sandwiches (ingredients: fresh bread, watercress and a healthy spread of butter); and can be steamed or boiled to accompany its seasonal companions.

Morels, rainwater madeira and baby carrots

Morels, rainwater madeira and baby carrots. Image: Flickr / twohelmetscooking



Morels have an earthy flavour that makes them ideal for pasta and rich meats, and they’re easily dried and stored. If you go foraging for them, look in spots that have seen wildfires the year before. But beware the false morels that manifest varying levels of toxicity. Even edible morels must be cooked to destroy the poisons.

Mandolined potatoes, poached duck egg, sauteed ramps

Mandolined potatoes and poached duck egg topped with sautéed ramps. Image: Flickr / kthread



Also known as wild leeks, ramps are another marvellous spring vegetable that are entirely edible once the roots are removed. Often likened to a cross between scallions and garlic, ramps pack a real punch in the pungency department. Whether it’s due to their pungency or their popularity, Quebec limits its residents to harvesting 50 stalks per year.