Pacific Northwest native and award-winning chef Sam Cover Spokane Washington celebrates locally forageable ingredients now both in season and abundant.
With the region famed for its wild berries, nuts, and mushrooms, Pacific Northwest native Sam Cover Spokane Washington is no stranger to locally foraged ingredients. With an abundance now in season, the multi-award-winning chef highlights the best of what’s on offer.
"Here in the Pacific Northwest, spring and summer are by far the best times to search for abundant local forageables, particularly berries and mushrooms," reveals Sam Cover Spokane Washington.
According to Sam Cover Spokane Washington, morel mushrooms are currently in season and are particularly abundant. "Huckleberries, too," adds the award-winning chef and Pacific Northwest native, speaking from his home in Spokane County, "a delicious, locally forageable alternative to blueberries."
Morels are a variety of edible mushroom with a distinctive honeycomb appearance. Morel mushrooms, Sam Cover Spokane Washington says, are highly prized by the world’s top gourmet cooks. They’re particularly favored, according to the expert, within French cuisine.
Another of Sam Cover Spokane Washington’s favorites, huckleberries, meanwhile, are a variety of wild berry. Blue-black in color, they’re common throughout much of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. "Not commercially cultivated, the only way to get your hands on these delicious berries is to forage for them in the wild," adds the chef.
Also favored by Sam Cover Spokane Washington are locally forageable edible roots and nuts, although these, he says, are more abundant earlier in the year. "Black walnuts, apples, and pears can all be foraged, too," reveals Cover.
Elsewhere on the multi-award-winning chef’s list of most sought-after forageable ingredients are wild raspberries, thimbleberries, nettles and dandelions, cattails, arrowleaf balsamroot, and maple blossom, seeds, and sap. "Particularly desirable, at least to me personally, are wild rose hips," explains Sam Cover Spokane Washington, "although these are often more difficult to come by."
Sam Cover Spokane Washington is keen to stress the importance of understanding and being confident in identifying any foraged ingredients before cooking or eating. Some, he says, also require special preparation—to get rid of unwanted tannins, for example—so it’s a good idea to read up on specific ingredients, even when an individual already has a general understanding of the field.
The Pacific Northwest is well known across the U.S. for its abundant locally forageable food items, as well as for its specialty cheeses, fresh donuts, garlic fries, and more.
Famed for his culinary genius, Sam Cover Spokane Washington has spoken at length on a wealth of food and drink-related topics including hyper-local food and its benefits, the booming organic food market, the latest trends in home cooking, and his campaign for healthier food in local schools.
Turning the focus back to locally forageable ingredients now in season, Sam Cover Spokane Washington touches briefly on the link between these items and the Pacific Northwest’s famous seafood. "Many locally foraged ingredients make a perfect accompaniment for fresh seafood dishes," adds Cover, wrapping up, "with the Pacific Northwest region also widely celebrated for its fish, oysters, and lobster – a true staple of local cooking and dining."