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Foraging for Wild Foods - Basics
Foraging for food and supplies is something everyone can do. And it's fun! There are a ton of natural materials and plants just out there, free for the taking. This article introduces a few easy to find food items you might well be tripping over.
Remember when you forage to be considerate of others who also might need what you are taking, and to remember to be kind to the ecosystem so it can recover from your activities. Take only what you need, or a little less. :)
Common Foods to Forage in the wild, abandoned lots, and in urban landscaping -
- Seaweed (coastlines)
- Citrus Fruits (CA and FL, and warmer countries)
- Dandelions (yards everywhere)
- Mint (woods, along creeks, against houses, urban lots)
- Rosemary (urban landscaping)
- Apples, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries (old orchards and urban landscaping)
- Nuts from trees, esp walnut, pecans, acorns (old orchards and urban landscaping
- Wild Nuts like Pine Nuts (in desert scrub areas)
- Horehound (disturbed areas)
- Prickly Pear pads and fruits (in dry regions)
- Rosehips (urban landscaping, disturbed areas, parks, abandoned gardens, wild areas)
- Edible flowers - roses, carnations, nasturtiums, dandelions, violets, pansies, squash, lilies and more (urban landscaping)
- Cattails (marshy areas, lakeshores, along creeks and rivers)
- Shellfish (along beaches and in tidepools along the coast)
- Crawfish (freshwater areas)
- Fennel (disturbed areas, roadsides)
- Nettles (disturbed areas, wild areas)
- Fiddlenecks (fern fronds - wild areas)
- Bay Leaves (California foothills)
- Blackberries (common in the Pacific Northwest and many other areas)
- Other berries - raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, elderberries (wild areas, disturbed areas, in parks, along coasts)
- Mushrooms (everywhere, really - but be careful you know what you are doing. Several mushrooms are deadly)
This is really a small sampling of all the food that is out there, around you, everywhere you turn. Did you know kuzdu is edible, as are bamboo shoots? How many weeds that are full of delicious nutrients are you pulling and throwing away?
It can't hurt to collect what you find, learn ways to store and preserve said foods, and explore cooking with them. Even people living in small apartments can make room for this kind of free bounty. Check out books from your library on plant identification and wild edible foods. Search the internet for recipes using what you take home. Treat it as a fun adventure! Most people enjoy wild food collecting - especially children.
And who knows - you may need this food and knowledge some day.
Get started with edible foods with titles like these from Amazon -
- The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
- Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure Series)
Content copyright © 2013 by Jill Florio. All rights reserved.
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