Even though I have only tried it once, I must start out by saying that Devils Club is my new favorite wild food!
Devil's Club , also known as Alaskan Ginseng, is a tall shrub with a main stalk covered in long spikes, with large maple like leaves, also spiny. Not fun to run into when you don't notice it tromping through the woods. It is related to Ginseng and has been used medicinally by Native Americans for everything from respiratory ailments to diabetes and arthritis. Medicinally the wood and bark are used, but for a springtime delicacy go for the new shoots. There is only a short window to harvest the tender shoots of this formidable plant before they become to spiney to consume.
At Foraged and Found, Jeremy(the head forager) harvested some Devil's Club shoots for the Herbfarm as a special request. I snuck a handful to try, not realizing I had a small treasure. I sauteed them in butter and tried a shoot. Oh my was it delicious- soft and furry, tender and intriguingly tasting of evergreen trees. This piney flavor is what will make you come back for more.
I continued to build upon my taste test. To the shoots in the pan I added a touch of cream from Golden Glen Creamery, frozen peas( my favorite convenience food), a squeeze of lemon and a few leaves of mint. This is a picture of my tiny spring ragout. I savored every little bite!