Foraging Wild Edible Plants: False Strawberry

I found this false strawberry right outside my front porch steps while enjoying an ice-cold adult beverage. They’re tasteless, but easy to identify and fun to gobble up.

False Strawberryforaging-wild-strawberry

The false strawberry’s leaves and berries look extremely similar to those of the real wild strawberry. Basically, they’re smaller than store-bought strawberries, with more granular seeds, and grow close to the ground. They like to hide in the grass among the triple toothed, ovoid leaflets.

This one is more of a survival food than anything, as it’s too tasteless to have much use in practical dishes. Still, I like to eat them whenever I find them, just on general principle. Eating wild berries is fun.

When & What to Harvest

If the false strawberry grows in your area, you can find them emerging in the spring and summer, depending on the climate in your region. Keep an eye out for the leaves, which can hang around all year long, and you’ll know where to look when berry season strikes. The leaves are edible as well, both on false and real strawberry!

Where to Find False Strawberry

Yards, grassy knolls.

Lookalikesforaging-false-strawberry

The false strawberry’s major lookalike is the real strawberry, which is rich and flavorful — unlike the tasteless, slightly dry false strawberry. False strawberries also have yellow flowers, whereas real strawberry has pinkish or whitish flowers. You’ll rarely see the flowers in bloom, however. False strawberries also tend to be smaller and have even more granular seeds.

Preparation Tips

Just wash and eat, but don’t expect them to sweeten a strawberry parfait.

Medicinal Uses

I’ve read that the leaves are medicinal, both internally and topically. In the past, my own research has found such claims to hold true. I bet they’d make a fine tea, but I haven’t tested that theory.

The requisite addendum and disclaimer, which will be included for each plant and mushroom in the series: I am not a trained expert, merely a passionate self-taught hobbyist. You could have allergies to any food you’ve never eaten before, so use caution and start with small amounts even when you believe you’ve made a positive identification. Never let eagerness for any plant or mushroom to be the right one to cause you to overlook differences. Poisonous lookalikes are a potential hazard with some wild edible plants and many mushrooms. Unless necessary to survive, don’t forage within 100 feet of roads, busy lots, in other people’s yards, or in parks where pesticides or other landscaping chemicals might be used. Some plants also accumulate nitrites and other harmful chemicals from farming and nearby development. The ideal way to learn foraging is to go in-person with a trained expert. Plants’ appearances change in each season, and mushrooms at different growth stages, so observe a full growth cycle to become familiar with the appearance at each stage before harvesting. For resources, I suggest the books and websites of “The Wildman” Steve Brill, the NYC and Westchester County area’s resident foraging guru, the work of naturalist Samuel Thayer.
By visiting this page and/or using the information contained herein, you acknowledge that safe foraging is solely your own responsibility. You agree that neither myself, Aceloewgold.com, or any writer, investor, advertiser, or other associate of this site can or will be held responsible or liable for any problems arising directly or indirectly from your use of the content, ideas, or advice described.

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