Foraging

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Foraging is something that has always appealed to me, but I haven’t practiced a lot.  If done correctly, it can add to your household food which will save you money as well as it’s free, you get exercise searching your local area, & you can use wild edible plants to help heal certain ailments.
This year, I am determined to explore my area to see how much I can find.  But my hiking trips have to be delayed since mother nature has other plans.  Tonight we are due for a snow/sleet storm, which will go into tomorrow morning.  What about you? Have you ever foraged before?
The reason it has taken me so long to start foraging is because I was scared of picking the wrong thing and accidentally poisoning myself or my family.  The 1st thing I plan on doing once the weather is nicer is to sign up for a foraging class.  The local dam in town also offers a class a few times per season.  For beginners, I highly recommend you do this, so you can go with a guide (someone who is trained) who knows the difference between edible and toxic wildlife.  Some other rules that I came across, which I feel are very important to know are:

  • Familiarize yourself with the weeds, herbs, bushes and trees in your neighborhood, try to learn as much as possible about the ecosystem of which you are a part.
  • Learn to identify them correctly and investigate all their uses. Try to understand it as part of a larger ecosystem. With which other plants does it form communities? Is it native or invasive? Does it protect the ground or deplete it of any of its nutrients? Building this kind of holistic knowledge base will give you a much deeper insight into the nature of a plant and its role within the ecosystem.
  • Learn to identify the poisonous plants you are likely to encounter. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING YOU CANNOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFY AND DEEM SAFE.
  • When you think you know a plant, always cross reference to be 100 percent sure because non-edible look-alikes can fool you.
  • Don’t be greedy! Familiarize yourself with the plants that are listed on the endangered species list for your area. Apart from being unethical, it is also illegal to pick endangered plant species. Instead of taking rare plants, consider sowing their seeds in the wild.
  • Only pick as much as you need and never take ALL the plants of any one kind in a given patch. After harvesting an area give the plants plenty of time to recover before returning to the same patch. Be very careful when it comes to harvesting roots. Remember that often harvesting roots means the death of the plant, so before you start digging ask yourself if this plant is really plentiful and if it can sustain a harvest of its roots. If in doubt, don’t collect.
  • However tempting it may look, never pick in places that are subject to pollution, roadsides, industry or heavy spraying of farm chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers etc.).
  • Collecting wild edibles growing in soil that was brought in from another area may not be desirable. It could be soil that was contaminated with pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
  • Don’t collect from nature reserves – these are areas set up to protect wild species, so give them their space and let them be!
  • Cast seeds of native species to the earth and to the winds once in a while – as a way of giving something back. Consider adopting a little patch that you are particularly fond of.
  • When you are out and about, never leave any litter behind.
    ~taken from Edible Wild Food

Every place is different, so what I might find, you might not be able to.  For me some local wild edible plants are:
*Chickweed
*Garlic Mustard
*Dandelion greens
*Fiddleheads

For further information about foraging check out these additional resources:
New England Foraging Adventure Pt.1
Foraging For Food In The Wild

Have you ever foraged where you live?  If so, what did you get?  If not, would you ever consider doing this?


Today marks the 6th day of a month-long challenge that I’m taking part in called Blogging A to Z.  If you’re looking me up on the list, I am #1100.  My theme for this month is simple living.  Are you doing the challenge?  Leave me a comment so I can follow along.  Feel free to share with me any ideas, thoughts, or topics of interest you would like me to cover.  Join me each day for my Living Intentionally Simple A to Z.

 

 

Linked with:
Simple Saturdays Blog Hop
Create With Joy 

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4 thoughts on “Foraging

  1. I’m surprised more people DON’T forage! When we were little, my father would take us mushroom hunting a few times every year for chanterelle mushrooms. I taught my husband, and now we go regularly and preserve these buttery treats either by sauteing and canning, or dehydrating. Another favorite time to forage is when we are out backpacking/hiking/camping. Particularly in the summer, there are berries a plenty. One of my fave treats when backpacking is to pack in some pancake mix, pick and add fresh huckleberries to the mix, and viola! Fresh huckleberry pancakes in the great outdoors!! 🙂

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    • As am I especially considering how many frugal and/or cheap people there are out there. But you really don’t hear a lot about foraging, which is why I had to add it to my list.
      What a fun experience to do while camping. That is def something I would love to do. I may have to steal your idea on our next camping trips with the local strawberries that are near by.
      I myself, have never had huckleberries, what common berry do they taste the most like? Last year, I was lucky enough to try currants and gooseberries for the 1st time. Now, I’m going to add huckleberries, just don’t know where I would get them.

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