Visit Our New Blog!

General Posts

Hello Foraging Friends!!

We have moved our blog…please come visit us, we are up and running, getting ready for an amazing new season of foraging walks and workshops!!!

All new new entries and information will be at our new website!

Our first walks are Sunday, April 24, 2016 at Frick Park’s Earth Day! Our walks are at 1 and 3:30 pm. Read more about it on our new blog (walks and events page!)

Also, you need to re-sign up to our newsletter if you want to stay on our mailing list, and I hope you do! So please, even if – especially if – you already get emails from us, take the time to resign up now to continue we stay connected. Thank you!

Subscribe to our NEW mailing list

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Hope to see you soon!!

~ Melissa

For The Latest Information, Visit Our New Website!!

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Website Update for Spring, 2016 and Earth Day Walks Scheduled

General Posts
Redbud Flowers

Edible Redbud Flowers

Hi Friends!

Spring is upon us and another great season of foraging is underway! Nettles, chickweed, garlic mustard are all out and delicious, and I’ve heard morels are already popping up this year (early!) in some places. Grab your foraging basket and get out there!

Stinging nettles, Urtica dioica

Stinging nettles, Urtica dioica

Sadly our website is still not back on track. I’m still working on what exactly to do about it, but for now you can still follow us on our facebook page. (Though of course that is not very reliable either!) I may switch to blogging on a different site (at least temporarily) because there is so much going on and so much to say, and if I do I will let you know where that will be.

coming soon - morels!

coming soon – morels!

If you are interested in my (Melissa’s) writing and illustration, with a little bit on wild edibles and lots on my bike trip to DC from Pittsburgh, you can find me at Satchelful of Stars.

Illustration by Melissa Sokulski, on Satchelful of Stars

Earth Day is just around the corner and as usual Frick Park is putting on an amazing celebration, including two walks with me: Sunday April 24, 2016, at 1 and 3:30pm, I hope you will be able to join us! The walks are free, just come a little early to register, they are limited to 25 people at a time.


Hope to see you soon!

~ Melissa

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Join Us For A Wild Edibles Walk This Sunday

General Posts
Please join us for our last Wild Edibles Walk of the season this Sunday, October 4, from 2 pm to 4 pm at Frick Park in Pittsburgh.
Melissa Talks to Folks from the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association about Wild Edible Plants, at Their Annual Meeting
On this family-friendly walk we’ll discuss the edible and medicinal uses of many fall plants and mushrooms we see.
  • sustainable harvesting
  • preparing as food and medicine
  • preserving
    • drying
    • freezing
  • medicine making
    • tinctures
    • vinegars
    • oils and salves
Black Walnut (In It's Green Hull)

Black Walnut


Softball sized puffball mushroom

Giant Puffball Mushroom


We’ll likely find burdock root, dandelion root, black walnuts, hickory nuts, chickweed, purslane, plantain leaves and seeds, lambsquarters, amaranth, crabapples, garlic mustard, deadnettles and much more! We’ll also be searching for giant puffballs, chicken mushroom, hen of the woods and bear tooth/lion’s mane mushroom.



Gathering Plantain Seeds

Acorns in a White Oak Tree

Acorns on White Oak Tree

chicken mushroom, Laetiporus sulfureus

It’s going to be a fabulous walk and forage, I hope you can join us.
$20 (children 12 and under are free.)
You can register on our fundraising page, click “October Wild Walk and Foray” in the right margin and follow the prompts, or email me at to let me know you are coming, and pay in cash on the day of the walk. When I receive your registration I will send you our exact meeting location.
Hope to see you Sunday!
~ Melissa of Food Under Foot
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Purslane Kachumber Salad

Raw, Recipes


One of Gandhi’s favorite foods was a weed: purslane! He urged his followers to learn about wild plants and eat the weeds that grow around them as a way of empowering the people. In honor of Gandhi and purslane, I created this delicious Indian spice inspired salad: Purslane Kachumber Salad. I’ve used a spice blend called “Chaat Masala,” which is available in Indian grocery stores and is largely dried mango, salt, cumin and other spices. If you don’t have access to this spice, you can substitute cumin, coriander and cardamon (amounts below) or leave the spices out entirely. This salad is delicious with just salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.

This is one of the recipes from the upcoming ebook, Raw and Wild, which you can preorder on our Indiegogo funding page. All the money will be used to make Food Under Foot as fantastic and user-friendly as possible! Just go to the funding page and choose the Raw and Wild ebook perk.

Thanks and enjoy!

Purslane Kachumber Salad


  • Purslane, leaves pulled off and stem chopped (we are using both the leaves and chopped stems in this recipe)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp red onion, chopped (as much or little as you like, to taste)
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala (optional, see above note. can substitute 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp coriander, 1/8 tsp cardamon or omit spices entirely.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Whisk lemon juice and spices (if using) together, and add olive oil. Whisk until mixed well.

In separate bowl, mix purslane leaves and stems, tomatoes, cucumber and onion.

Top with dressing, add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well and enjoy!

And please consider the ebook, Raw and Wild, which can be chosen as a perk in our Indiegogo funding campaign. Thank you!

~ Melissa Sokulski

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Food Under Foot Website Is Back Up!

General Posts

Food Under Foot’s Jason is truly amazing, to have worked out the huge crash and gotten the website up and going!

However, it is obvious we need an overhaul of the site, in order to keep this information available and free for all!

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our Indiegogo fundraising campaign, in which we are raising money to bring a better web experience to you! Thanks to Jason we aren’t in as dire straights anymore, but it is still running as a fundraising campaign, to keep Food Under Foot free and as good as it can be!



In the meantime, you may have noticed this amazing weed cropping up in your garden beds or through the cracks in sidewalks. It’s purslane (Portulaca oleracea), reportedly Gandhi’s favorite food! This amazing edible weed is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is unusual for a green vegetable. Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in things like salmon and flax seeds. This is a delicious weed to eat raw or pickle (the stems can become quite thick and substantial.) I love to add it to tomato salad, and I will post a recipe for kachumber salad (an Indian salad of cucumber, tomatoes and onion – in honor of Gandhi) in the next few days. I was planning on making a video but, sadly, my camera decided to take a swim in Lake Ontario on a recent trip North.

Technical difficulties all around!

Thanks so much for all your support. Also, check out the great “perks” we are offering on Indiegogo – from handmade wild mugwort smudge sticks to new ebooks and wild walks, you may find something there you’ll want to snag before the campaign ends.

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa

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Berries Berries Berries!

General Posts, Identification

It’s berry season in the Northern hemisphere (at least in my little section of the northern hemisphere: the Mid-Atlantic). Here are three deliciously edible berries you can find out and about in the Pittsburgh area right now:

Mulberries! (Morus species.) But get out there soon, while these delicious sweet berries literally grow on trees, their season is just about over here.



Black Raspberries (Rubus occidentalis). These native berries are just cresting in abundance right now, but also may be a little on the “almost over” side of their season, so get out there!

native black raspberries

native black raspberries

Wine raspberries/Japanese wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) are just getting ripe! You can identify these red berries by the amount of thorns on their twigs: so much the twigs look like they are covered with red fur! These berries grow on bushes like black raspberries, are deep red when ripe and so very delicious!



Wild blueberries (Vaccinium species) are also beginning to ripen now…berry season is truly upon us!

wild blueberries from Pennsylvania bog

wild blueberries from Pennsylvania bog

Happy foraging!

Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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Wild Grape Leaves


Wild grape leaves are a fun delicious ingredient to use.  Wild grapes can often be found growing, well, everywhere.  The actual grape is not yet ripe, but it is a perfect time to gather grape leaves. For a review of identification, check out Green Dean’s description on Eat The Weeds. One thing to double check is that grape leaves have jagged leaf edges, whereas the poisonous look-alike, moonseed leaves, have smooth leaf edges.

pan fried stuffed wild grape leaves

Grape leaves are delicious…you may know them from eating stuffed grape leaves or dolmas you find in Mediterranean markets and restaurants.  You can look up recipes online…some are very simple, stuffing with rice, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and some have more elaborate stuffing.

Here’s my favorite recipe. It’s simple and delicious. I use cooked rice to stuff the pre-cooked grape leaves. You can actually use raw rice in raw grape leaves, cover with water plus an inch, weight down and boil for 45 minutes to an hour. Then your grape leaves and rice will cook together. But this is how I do it:

Pan Fried Stuffed Grape Leaves

Boil the grape leaves until soft (about 5 minutes).

Cool in the water, then remove the stems.


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • handful fresh mint, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • lemon juice from one lemon

Saute onions in olive oil with a bit of salt until translucent. Add cooked rice, pine nuts and mint and toss to mix. Turn off heat. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

* salt, olive oil and lemon juice seem to be the key to yummy grape leaves! *

** if you are going to boil the stuffed grape leaves instead of sauteing, you do not have to cook the rice or the grape leaves first. Stuff and roll grape leave and place in pot, cover with water plus an inch, place something on top of the grape leaves (like an overturned heat-resistant lid weighted down with a clean rock) and gently boil/simmer for 45 minutes.

Boil grape leaves: The green one on top is the wild grape leaf. The ones under are cultivated, they turned dull almost immediately while the wild grape leaves stayed vibrant green:

boil grape leaves. The planted ones are on bottom and turned olive green right away. The wild grape leaves on top stayed a more vibrant green.

Lay the grape leaf out top down (underside with veins up):

100_4121Add a little filling to bottom of leaf:

100_4122Fold bottom up, then sides in:

100_4123Continue rolling:

100_4124Continue until all grape leaves are stuffed, seam down:


Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, then flip to saute other side.


Drizzle with extra lemon juice and ENJOY!!!

Other ways to use grape leaves:

  • saute them into dishes
  • chop and add to soup
  • chop and add raw to salad
  • when pickling other things like cucumbers – especially if fermenting/pickling the cukes raw in salt water –  adding grape leaves on top will keep the cukes/pickles crunchier.
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Announcing Summer – Fall Intensive and Apprenticeship/Mentoring Opportunities!

General Posts

Summer – Fall Intensive:

Wild Plants as Food and Medicine: A Bit of Everything!

Paw Paw Fruits
Paw Paws

Join acupuncturist, herbalist, wild foods educator and founder of Food Under Foot Melissa Sokulski in exploring wild plants as food and medicine. We’ll learn to identify local plants, forage them and use them as food, explore Western botanical medicine as well as touching on Eastern traditions of Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, and talk about the energetics of the plants we have growing at our feet.

The intensive will run one Saturday in July, then one Saturday and Sunday in August, September and October from 10 am to 4 pm.  Each day will include some or all of these activities:

  • Wild Edibles Walk: identification and discussion of local wild plants
  • Foraging
  • Enjoying a light vegetarian lunch prepared with foods we foraged
  • Discussion of many aspects of wild plants as food and medicine
  • Choosing and working with a Wild Plant Ally
  • Lecture on Western and Eastern Herbal Medicine, incorporating local wild plants/herbs
  • Hands-On Activities like making vinegars, drying herbs, making tinctures
  • Wild Food Demos and Tastings

You won’t want to miss this amazing opportunity!

*Dates and topics are subject to change.

Saturday July 25, 2015:

  • 10:00: Welcome and Introduction
  • 10:30 – 12: Wild Walk, plant ID, discussion and forage
  • 12 – 1: Prepare and Eat Light Vegetarian Lunch of Soup and Salad using foraged food (you are welcome to bring additional food for yourself)
  • 1 – 4: Discussion of:
    • benefits of wild food
    • sustainable foraging
    • Wild Food Demo and Tasting: Green Smoothie
    • definition of herbal properties such as adaptogenic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, etc with examples of what we saw today
    • Choose Wild Ally

Saturday August 22, 2015:

  • 10:00: Welcome
  • 10:30 – 12: Wild Walk and forage
  • 12 – 1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-2: Make wild edible vinegar with plants foraged that morning
  • 2-4: Discussion of Tonifying and Strengthening Plants as food and medicine: local wild plants as tonics

Sunday August 23, 2015:

  • 10: Welcome
  • 10:30-12: Wild Walk and Forage
  • 12 – 1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-4: Field Trip: Mushroom Foraging

Saturday September 26, 2015:

  • 10:00: Welcome
  • 10:30 – 12: Wild Walk and Forage
  • 12-1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-4: Forage and dry plants for use later as tea and medicine

Sunday September 27, 2015:

  • 10: Welcome
  • 10:30-12: Wild Walk and Forage
  • 12 – 1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-4: Discussion of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Energetics of Wild Local Plants

Saturday October 24, 2015:

  • 10: Welcome
  • 10:30-12: Wild Walk and Forage
  • 12 – 1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-2: Make medicinal tincture with local wild plants
  • 2-4: Discussion of Ayurvedic Doshas and Energetics of Wild Local plants

Sunday October 25, 2015:

  • 10: Welcome
  • 10:30-12: Wild Walk and Forage
  • 12 – 1: Light vegetarian lunch of soup and salad with foraged plants
  • 1-4:
    • Discuss/Share info about our allies
    • Wild Food Demo and Tasting: scones and tea with wild edibles
    • Holiday Meal Planning with Wild Foods
    • Discussion of Winter Foraging
    • Wrap Up

**If you have to miss a day or a portion of a day, we can schedule a time to meet  (in person, phone, Skype or Facetime) to go over anything you missed.**

Full Intensive: $600

If there is room, you can pick and choose days to attend, each a la carte day costing $125, or $250 per weekend.

Download Registration Form here:

2015 Fall Intensive Registration Form

**If you are coming from out of town, we are on the South Side of Pittsburgh, zip 15203. There are many great hotels, please let me know if you need the information.**

Summer/Fall is such a fun time to forage wild plants for food and medicine! We’ll likely find:

  • Hawthorn berries
  • Kousa dogwood fruit
  • Paw Paws
  • Cornelian cherries
  • Elderberries
  • Crabapples
  • Dandelion roots
  • Burdock Roots
  • Sunchoke Tubers
  • Wild Grapes
  • Chicken Mushroom
  • Hen of the Woods Mushroom
  • Giant Puffball Mushroom
  • Lambsquarters
  • Wild Amaranth
  • Black Walnuts
  • Acorns
  • Plantain
  • Motherwort
  • Mugwort
  • Red Clover
  • Wood Sorrel
  • Self-heal
  • Staghorn Sumac
  • Spicebush berries
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Nettles
  • Chickweed
  • Much more!

Fill out the registration form and send in your deposit to secure your spot today!

Wild Food and Herbal Apprenticeship and Mentoring

If you are looking for more specific instruction, you may want to consider doing a wild food and/or herbal apprenticeship/mentorship. Apprentices are taken on for a month of study at a time,  and the program of study is created entirely by the apprentice! You will receive guided wild edibles/identification walks, and you will learn what you choose. If you want to focus on learning to cook with whole vegetarian foods and incorporate wild foods into your diet, that is what we’ll do.  If you’d like a deeper understanding of herbal medicine, we will focus on that. If you are interested in energetics of local wild plants in terms of traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda, we will focus on that. If you want to hone your diagnosing and prescribing skills, we can work on that. If you want to learn how to make teas, tinctures, vinegars, oils or salves we’ll do that. A combination or all of the above? You tell me! We will schedule time to meet throughout the month to walk, forage, create and study. You will have access to me through email and text for those times we are not together. You will be welcome to attend all walks and workshops that occur during your apprenticeship month(s) for free, and for half price for the next year.

Apprenticeship is $800/month and up to half can be worked off by work study. Work study options include website work, formatting, editing, publishing, video and podcast editing,  house and office cleaning, pet sitting among other things, we will discuss terms when you take on the apprenticeship.

Download Apprentice Registration/Application Here:

Apprenticeship Application/Registration

We hope you are enjoying your summer, and are excited to see you soon!


Melissa at Food Under Foot

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