Foraging for wild edibles has been a part of numerous cultures and cuisines for millennia and has made a comeback on the restaurant scene recently in the States. Gathering and eating local foods is often part of a particular food culture's consciousness - as Chef Karlos Baca, founder of Taste of Native Cuisine says in an interview with Indian Country Today, describing eating locally foraged and hunted ingredients as "eating with the seasons and the earth providing whatever your body needs at that point in time."

What's even better, according to Chef Darina Allen, founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland, is that foraged foods are often abundant in essential vitamins and minerals that we need and requires no extra fortification before consumption.

I'm not the biggest fan of the term farm-to-table, as

the idea of farm-to-table is really just a rebranding of how individuals and cultures have had to eat to survive. We recently found a family tree with about 10 generations leading up to my paternal grandfather's generation, and I've been reflecting on how life has changed since then, particularly when it comes to the way I eat compared to the way they would eat. I've become more interested in eating local foods, but it wasn't until very recently that I learned that a variety of wild foods actually grow in Ohio.

Here are 10 wild edibles you might find in your own backyard.

1. Wild Carrots (Queen Anne's Lace)

Yes - those great white blooms you see growing on the side of the road are actually edible! The flower of Queen Anne's Lace is familiar to those of us who live in the Midwest, but did you know that the taproot is actually a wild carrot? Prepare the root as part of a carrot cake, or use the fruiting bodies as a spice in a cocktail. Be warned, though, that it can be easily confused with poison hemlock, which needs no explanation, really, so forage carefully!

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables, and Ohio is a paradise for wild mushrooms, including morels, chanterelles, and many more less-publicized varieties. Want to try your hand at picking mushrooms? Mid-April through May is the best time to hunt for mushrooms in Ohio. The Ohio Mycological Society has a variety of resources for you to get started, including events, articles, recipes, and newsletters. Got wild mushrooms from your grocery store or local market and wondering how to prepare them? Try this rich mushroom ragu.

3. Jerusalem Artichokes

Did you know that Jerusalem artichokes are the tuber of a wild sunflower? You can eat them raw, or you can cook them like a potato and add them to soups, pastas, and risotto or serve them mashed, baked, fried, or pan-roasted as a standalone side. The best way to store them, however, is in this pickled preparation.

4. Berries

No list of wild edibles is complete without mentioning local wild berries. Ohio is replete with these berries, which include elderberries, black raspberries, high-bush blueberries, and mulberries, just to name a few. Looking for a way to prepare them? Try this mulberry pie recipe to get started.

5. Pawpaw

I remember the first time I saw a pawpaw fruit not on the tree in my biology professor's office during my freshman year. We were all perplexed by what this squishy-looking potato was doing in his office. It turns out that pawpaws have been enjoyed in the Americas for centuries and taste surprisingly tropical! You can eat the fruit raw, or you can make fruity desserts out of them, like this pawpaw pudding from the New York Times' Cooking site.

6. Mayapples

Those umbrella-looking plants you saw growing along the forest floor are no ordinary plants - they're mayapples, and they have a fruit that is great for jellies or preserves, like this recipe. Be aware, though, that only the fully ripened fruit is edible and that the unripened fruit can be toxic, so if you decide to pick these fruits from the wild, be careful!

7. Cattails

Everyone's favorite marsh plant is, in fact, edible! You can prepare the root just like any other tuber and eat it just like artichoke leaves, or, if you're adventurous, you can grind flour out of the root as a thickening agent in cooking or bake with the pollen!

8. Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are young, unfurled fern fronds that also happen to be edible and grow in Ohio! If you gather these yourself or happen to find these at your local farmer's market in the springtime, prepare them simply as a side dish with a light saute, or add them to tarts, soups, and salads.

9. Stinging Nettle

Those pesky plants you may have had to spent your summers pulling out of your lawn (and enduring their painful stings in the process) are, in fact, edible! Prepare them in pasta, soups, pestos, or this glorious riff on spanakopita. Be sure to wear gloves any time you are preparing them, and ensure that they are thoroughly cooked before eating!

10. Knotweed

According to filmmaker Aube Giroux, knotweed is "an invasive bamboo-like plant that grows everywhere." You can add this to stir-fries, potatoes, or this glorious quiche.

Next time you see any of these wild edibles at your local farmer's market, give them a whirl in your weeknight rotation. Or, better yet, learn how to forage these foods safely yourself. Once you try it, you might go WILD for some of these ingredients!

DISCLAIMER: Do not pick and eat anything you find unless you have been properly trained to identify wild foods and their poisonous counterparts or are in the presence of an expert. OSU Spoon is not responsible for any illness or injury that may result from improper foraging technique or products consumed.