Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
For those who enjoy outdoor foraging, July is the month that keeps on giving. As we roll into midsummer, North Iowans are presented with an abundance of wild, healthy, and highly nutritional foods that are free for the taking. Summer woodlands currently abound with an array of wild edibles including several varieties of mushrooms, raspberries, mulberries, and others. Local streams, lakes, and ponds contain burgeoning populations of native fish. Popular summer species include walleye, channel catfish, bluegills and crappie.
At Clear Lake, the walleye bite remains red hot with limits often coming within the first hour of fishing. Panfish are becoming increasingly aggressive in local ponds; while catfish, walleyes, and northern pike are currently hanging the feed bag in the deeper pools of our larger rivers. Meanwhile, the wild edibles growing in nearby woodlands – mulberries, raspberries, and summer mushrooms — are reaching their peak. When gathering summer mushrooms, it is always wise to proceed with caution. Although several varieties are safe and delicious, others can land you in hospital bed – or worse. It pays to know what you’re doing before consuming that second or third helping.
For those who enjoy foraging, there is no match for the diversity and abundance of midsummer. And when it comes to enjoying a healthy, full-flavored dinner plate, it just doesn’t get much better than wild berries, sauteed mushrooms, and fresh fish. But don’t take my word for it. Grab your berry pail and fishing rod and check it out for yourself.
Lean Cuisine – Wild mulberries, sauteed summer mushrooms, fresh walleye fillets. It just doesn’t get much better.