It is very possible to get a good meal off the land, you just need to know where to look and what to look for! Foraging can be a fun hobby, plus a way to supplement your diet for free. Look below for 7 tips for foraging edible plants, and see what you need to know before you pick your next snack.
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Tips for Foraging Edible Plants
1. Get permission to pick.
Before you pick your first dandelion or violet (for jelly, of course!) you should be sure you have permission. If you are on someone else’s land or visiting a park, be sure you have permission to pick and take findings with you. Some state parks have strict rules about this, so know before you go. You don’t want to be accused of trespassing either, so permission is always key.
2. Download a plant identification app.
There are dozens of apps out there that can help you properly identify plants. Choose an app or two and always double check your findings. You want to be sure you have picked an item that is in fact edible and won’t harm you.
3. Only pick plants that haven’t been treated for pests.
It isn’t safe to eat plants that have been treated for pesticides. Even if you wash these items, the residue can remain and harm you. Only pick flowers and plants that have been grown organically without the use of any chemicals.
4. Always wash your findings well.
Even if you pick organically grown plants and flowers, you still need to wash them well before preparing them. Morel mushroom hunters, for example, soak their mushrooms in salt water to get the dirt, critters, and sand out of them. Leaves and flowers can be washed in a strainer with just luke warm water and then placed on a paper towel to dry.
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5. Know what is native to your area.
Certain plants are native to certain areas of the country, so knowing what is common in your area will give you a place to start. In the midwest, mushrooms and ramps (a type of onion) are quite popular. Know what grows in abundance in your area and start your search there.
6. Find inspiration on the net.
You can find an abundance of forager’s recipes on the internet as well as helpful tips and tricks. You can even find videos on YouTubes that teach foraging skills and even show recipes using foraged items. If on Facebook, you can even join foraging groups and communities where you can continue to learn more.
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7. Go prepared.
Taking the right supplies for your foraging is key. Take a small shovel for digging, scissors for snipping, hand wipes, water, and a net produce bag to carry your findings in. Don’t forget to check yourself for ticks when you are done, and always wear sunscreen on your adventures.
Foraging for food is a fun way to feed yourself. You can find everything from edible flowers, wild onions, mushrooms, lettuce, dandelions for salve and tea, and so much more. Use these 7 tips for foraging edible plants and see how much fun foraging can be.