Winter Foraging 101: Foraging Wild Roots, Shoots, and Tubers

Wild greens aren’t the only thing to forage in the winter. Winter foraging can provide lots of sources of starch and carbohydrates to be foraged as well. 

Cattails (Typha sp.) are easy to recognize and often found at the edges of lakes and ponds, where the insulating properties of the water make them easier to harvest in cold weather. Cattail tubers have a myriad of uses and the young shoots are good to eat raw, in stir fry or roasted.

cattails in winter
Cattails are a common wild edible in winter. They have a wide variety of uses.

Giant Reed Grass (Arundo donax) can be used just like Cattails – in many areas its invasive nature is a problem so harvest all you like! Broad-leaved Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) is another marshy plant that produces tubers called “duck potatoes” that can be used similarly.

Giant Reed Grass Arundo donax
Giant Reed Grass (Arundo donax) is an invasive species
Wild Broad-leaved Arrowhead Sagittaria latifolia
Broad-leaved Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) is commonly known for their duck potatoes beneath the soil.

In prairies and fields Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called Jerusalem Artichoke, produce many fingerling shaped tubers that are sweeter and more digestible after a frost, although they are smaller than the supermarket variety. 

Sunchoke flowers
Sunchoke flowers in the warmer months. Take note of where they grow so you can go back in the winter to excavate the tubers.

Nutsedge Grass (Cyperus sp.) is another easy-to-identify resident of many waste areas or wet areas, and it also produces a nutty-flavored tuber under the surface, called earth almonds, or chufa nuts, that can be gathered in large quantity and make a great food– in Spain a traditional drink made from the “milk” pressed from these “earth almonds” is called horchata de chufa.

Nutsedge Grass Cyperus sp. in a marsh
Nutsedge Grass (Cyperus sp.) in a marsh. The tubers under the ground are harvested in large quantities.

Check out the rest of our Winter Foraging series!

Winter Foraging 101: Intro to Foraging in Winter

The ultimate guide to gathering in the cold.

Winter Foraging 101: Foraging Wild Greens

From Chickweed to wild onions and everything in between. Get to know your cold-loving greens.

Winter Foraging 101: Foraging Wild Mushrooms

There are a lot of fungi that love the colder temperatures of winter, depending on your region.

Winter Foraging 101: Foraging Wild Berries

What winter berries lack in plentitude, they make up for with the impressive quantities of vitamins and minerals they provide.

Winter Foraging 101: Foraging Wild Treats from the Trees

Although most fruit and nut seasons are over by winter, there are a few deliciously notable exceptions.

Wholesale Pricing List

Fill out this short form and we will email you our most up-to-date pricing list.

Vendor Support Form

Fill out this short form and we will be in touch right away!