Wild foraging is the act of seeking food growing in the wild. Such a seemingly simple act done without a thought by all the world’s creatures, has somehow become something of a lost art to most the human race. Thankfully we are starting to rekindled our interest in semi-lost art and science of wild foraging.
Since wild foraging for our food no longer comes naturally to us, and is no longer our instinct, we must take the time to retrace our lost steps and learn how to identify wild food safely so that we can reclaim our heritage as hunter gathers, and be able to live off the land by our skills, not to mention the vast array of new and wonderful wild edible foods that become available to our diets.
Wild foraging is not just an art and a science, but a way of life. The more you you learn, the more exciting your foraging expeditions become. Being confident in your ability to safely identify a wild edible food in nature, and then take it from the woods to the table is a truly wonderful feeling in and of itself. I can’t walk 10 feet outside anymore without scanning for all the plants in my area, partly to see if there’s anything good to forage, but more so to see if there’s any interesting looking plants that I don’t know jump out at me and make me want to learn to identify a new plant. It makes your daily walks, no matter where you are walking, into a sort of scavenger hunt – all of the wild plants, and wild mushrooms hiding along the way for you to seek out along your way! But you have to learn how to see them first! There are plants and mushrooms that can get you sick, and ones that can kill you too…so you truly need to spend your time learning how to identify the things you find in the wild. Remember what they say: there are old wild foragers, and there are bold wild foragers, but there are few bold and old wild foragers! Take the time to learn and you will be have a true cornucopia open to you for the rest of your life. There’s abundance all around us, we just need to learn how to see it!
You don’t need to be a seasoned wild foraging expert to be able to recognize dandelions. In fact, dandelions are probably one of the best known wild edible foods in the entire world. Most people know that dandelion greens can be eaten, and most people have probably also heard that dandelions can be made into wine, but then why do so many people spend so much time and money trying to eradicate them from their lawns instead of eating them? They probably just don’t know how tasty dandelions are! In this article I am going to show you...read more
Few wild edible foods are more well known by non-wild foraging types as ramps. Despite them being very well known, and despite several years of looking for them, I had yet to find any ramps of my own…BUT my wild foraging mojo must’ve changed this week for me because I finally found ramps! I had eaten ramps before, but never was I able to find my own. Thankfully, I finally did, although with all the ramp laden food I have been eating since, I might have distanced a few friends and family members with my rampy breath! Sometimes...read more
I love when I look down and find a Downy Rattlesnake Plantain. It always makes me stop and be amazed by the beautiful snake skin like pattern drawn in white on evergreen across its fuzzy leaves. It’s not a plantain though, but does resemble one. It is actually an orchid. The plant is relatively scarce, and in most cases shouldn’t be harvested but does have some history of medicinal use. Native Americans used it to treat a variety of ailments, including treating loss of appetite, bruises, insect bites, rashes and burns. Despite...read more
Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunderbergii) This year I’m excited to go foraging for lots of Japanese Barberry fruits to make wine, fruit leathers and jelly. It is an extremely invasive plant that spreads via rhizomes, spreading and produces a great many seeds per plant, which germinate at a very high rate, at roughly 90 percent. It is a food source for local birds, who eat it and scatter the seeds to germinate elsewhere. Due to how invasive it is, I really won’t feel bad going out and collecting lots of the fruits, even if it makes...read more
While out making my wild foraging rounds today I found a few of these plants in an open field today. They have square Stems which means they’re probably in the mint family. When the leaves are crashed and smelled the scent is reminiscent of oregano, which makes me think this is a Wild Bergamont or Bee Balm. Last season when I came to this same field I found many Wild Bergamot plants here. The leaves also seem to match as they are toothed and lance shaped. The leaves were also purple underneath. Wild Bergamot entry in the Wild Foraging...read more
Saw these jack-in-the-pulpits peeking out from beyond the trail where I was wild foraging for some things to use in my dinner salad. While jack-in-the-pulpits aren’t edible, and contains high amounts of poisonous calcium oxalate crystals that will burn your mouth and throat without mercy, they still are one of my favorite plants to discover whole foraging or hiking. They’re just so unique! ...read more
Trout Lily are blooming for about a week and a half now and can be found in great number. I plan to harvest some of the wild edible trout lily bulbs soon. They are crisp and delicious and well worth the effort it takes to collect them, but the best times to collect them is either before they first start to grow for the season, or else after they flower and die back. The goal is to harvest the trout lily bulb when it has the most energy stored in the bulb, and is not using the energy for the flower. Right now though, they are...read more
Wild Mushroom Hunting is an act of Wild Foraging. If you are into one of them, there’s a good chance you are into both. Check out this site on wild foraging, wild edible plants, wild edible mushrooms, wild fermentation, and gardening. It’s a great site that will teach you all the wild foraging skills you need to know. Also talks a good deal about wild edible herbs, medicinal plants, and plant identification. It covers wild mushroom hunting too. Pretty extensive wild foraging...read more
Sauteed day lily tubers and day lily greens is officially now one of my favorite wild edible foods! The tubers taste like a superior version of a potato to my taste buds, having a similar potato like taste but with an almost citrus zing to them. The greens have a slight onion or chive like taste so frying them up in some olive oil with a little salt is a perfect combination, except it’s not really a combination–it’s all just Day Lily! I actually added a small onion in the recipe pictured, but it’s just as good without...read more
Learn about Wild Foraging Hungry? Looking for a free meal? Well, you’re in luck! Food is all around you! There is a literal cornucopia of wild edible foods right under your feet and you probably don’t even know it! Learning to wild forage can help you become more aware of your environment, and the abundance of wild food that surrounds you every single day of your life! Once you know how to identify wild edible plants and wild edible mushrooms, you will feel a lot more self sufficient and confident that no matter what happens, you...read more