Who here forages for food in the wild and how much of your diet is comprised of the foraged food?
I really want to forage more this year because of the higher nutritional value so hopefully lots of berries, nettles, dandelion greens, plantain, and who knows what else (I am really careful about wild food).
well it all depends on your area. google for local foraging classes, I did a while ago and don't believe I found anything. Also google around to find some source with climate like yours sometimes colleges post publications. Also you might want to check out backpacker's guides since they will rely partly on wild food if backpacking for a while.
I found a blog with a lady who was posting wild edibles she found here and there where she lived in Illinois and many of the things on her blog I found in Indiana. But I don't have the link for it on this computer I need to check my old computer for it.
I live in a reasonably good spot for foraging, if you look in the right places. Loads of haws, blackberries, hazelnuts, leafy greens. I found a wild pear tree once, and there are a few walnut trees here and there. Bit of juniper and barberry too. It's great once you get into the swing of it!
um....i live at the beach....at the mouth of the chesapeake bay....google 'save the bay' and you'll find plenty of reasons not to forage for, um, seafood...
i would love to forage---but in urban areas? i'll have to really find an area i trust...just seems like soooo much pollution in Hampton Roads, with the world's largest military base here, and numerous shipyards...so many pollutants, toxins, it just seems like, there's not enough *safe* rural areas around here to forage.
maybe the state parks ie first landing/ back bay area but, one of the fort's is adjacent and i tried going trail biking and got turned off to nature by the sounds of artillery practice.. not fun. kind of scary, even.
but the snakes there were soooo beautiful...i counted 7 snakes in the wild, countless skinks and lizards...it was soooo cool...
but i digress.
i know my library has a book with wild edibles of virginia; i want to check it out soon. also your local retail bookstore likely has a 'locals' section, so try searching there for backpacking/ foraging guides.
indigo just be very careful when eating wild mushrooms. I read a story about a women who was a naturalist and only ate wild food. She was a complete expert on all wild foods. One day she ate a mushroom she thought was a certain variety and died from it.
I'm in central Indiana (Indianapolis). I don't know how the plants would vary from here and there. But I think a lot of the common ones I know would be there like
wild berries (raspberries, dewberries, blackberries),
plantain (supposedly really good for the lymphatic system),
some wild ivy (I can't remember the name),
mallow (like what they used to make marshMALLOWs out of),
thistle (pick young leaves they are better less fibrous and yes they are prickly but you can just put them in a smoothie),
wild onions (never used them before though),
mayapple (pick only green fruits I believe research to make sure, but I have never had them before),
cattail (roots, young shoots edible, and male pollen can be used as flour - female tops can be eaten "like corn on the cob" but this is another thing I have not had before),
black walnuts (picked some from the forest this fall but haven't eaten one yet)
mulberries (they just started popping up in this area though there is one tree at my grandmas a mile away that has good amounts of berries, and lots at my dads house)
clover (I believe its edible)
stinging nettles (how could I forget this super superfood)
wild rose (leaves I believe are edible and mature rose hips are edible)
Just google things if you don't know what they are. Its best to know some general information about the plants because a lot of things only have a short window of time they are around like MAYapples, garlic mustard, stinging nettles, cattail shoots come up pretty soon in the spring and die out fast. Thistle, dandelion, wild onions are usually available year around minus the winter. Ask around about this or that plant. I was lucky to have a grandma who use to live in Appalachia and her mother collected lots of wild greens and had the kids forage for some food so she knew what some things and I could google them for more info.
mulberries are really good. they are just popping up around here so I really have to look for them. wild strawberries are edible my dad said he used to collect a lot that grew behind his house (he said he was able to collect buckets full) along with other berries and his mom made pies.
where do you live? what are your main/favorite wild edibles?
wild onions grow rampant in our yard. I think we have the most of anyone else in the whole neighborhood. At least one time some neighbor came over without saying anything and picked some wild onions from our yard. I have never had wild onions though I always thought they smelled a bit different but I guess I can get used to them.
Also I grew up in Charlottesville, VA and I remember digging up sasafras root and chew on it. It a good spice to add to a chia tea or pumpkin pie since it smells similar to nutmeg so it's good in some dessert type dishes.
This is a really interesting thread. I am getting my associate's degree in environmental horticulture, and two of the classes I have to take are woody and herbaceous identification; while classes do not go in depth about foraging, it does give some insight about the basic plants that grow in the wild and their levels of toxicity, which got me wondering more in depth about the edibility of a plant's roots, flowers, fruits, or foliage.
I know that my great grandmother used to make a tea out of Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon Holly, a native holly to the Georgia mountains, where I live) when she had a stomach ailment. It forced her to vomit, relieving her stomach. I researched this and found that Indians used to collect these berries and brew them to use in rituals in which they would detox their bodies in an effort to cleanse their spirit.
i believe I heard of that holly because it is closely related to yerba mate the tea ((llex paraguariensis). I once heard they would drink the tea you referred to before a hunt to cleanse themselves and also to stimulate them because it contains caffeine (or a stimulating substance similar to caffeine there's debate on whether or not yerba mate has caffeine not sure about the other)
I want to learn those sort of herbs out there like other than the ones for eating like also learn the medicinal uses so I can connect with the land and my spirit like the Native Americans did whom I really admire for their spirituality.
Question... where are the pine nuts located on a pine tree? In the pinecone? Are they in separate little hard shells? Because there's a bunch of pine around my parts (PA) and I love love love pine nuts, but don't know how to harvest them, and they're hard to find in stores around here...
I've heard in passing about Ilex paraguariensis, which is actually in the top 5 of my plants to research more about since we didn't cover it in our studies. I share your love for Native American history and culture! They way they connected to the land and utilized the space they had with respect is genuinely admirable. I also share your interest in learning about the medicinal purposes of herbs, edible or not! So much valuable information about nature's cures have been tossed aside in light of the drug companies putting out new dope to cure everything (supposedly).
A word of caution. Don't ever eat anything that you can't identify positively. And be sure what part of the plant is edible. And know if boiling etc is needed for edibility.
I'm 60 yrs old and have foraged many times and once wrote a booklet on edible plants decades ago. It is a fun healthy hobby.
This summer I munched on wild apples to strawberries but I never touched the poison water hemlock all growing along my county road. Many plants can resemble other plants at different stages of their growth.
Plenty of books out there on the subject, your local library will probably have some. These books will often mention if an edible plant has a poisoness similiar looking plant.
Best Wishes, I miss the taste of a nibble on a wintergreen berry or leaf. There is too much snow here now for them. They have some aspirin like qualities so I usually only nibble on one. Life is a treat sometimes, Gil.
Well, it's early spring now and things are popping up and I am harvesting wild food now!
Just the other day I boiled some potatoes and cabbage and threw in some wild garlic mustard greens and wild garlic.
I have picked wild dandelion greens and put them on toast with raw honey several times.
I am now having a green smoothie with lots of wild land cress, and a little wild cut leaved toothwort leaves and dandelion leaves, with some early dandelion flowers.
Stinging nettle is popping up too, I have scouted it out and even transplanted some into pots into my garden. But I wonder if it is really nettle it looks like it but doesn't sting, maybe the baby leaves don't sting, I am just going to wait on it anyway.
Mayapples are popping up too, but wont fruit until May.
Sorry that some of the above things aren't raw but something like garlic/garlic mustard greens are best cooked in my opinion because of there strong flavor.