With the wide variety of pre-packaged foods available, most of us are not even aware that provision items can be search for in our own vicinity. Foraging, which was once a common part of our ancestor’s lives but now with the modern culture and the developing supermarkets, the trend has faded away. However, recently with the growing health awareness, foraging for wild food is again gaining popularity.
Foraging is a great way to obtain free and nutritious berries, seeds, leaves, nuts, flowers, fungi, etc as well as explore the great outdoors. Foraging can be done year round, but different season bring out different wild food. For example, springtime is ideal for foraging assorted leaves that can be used in salads while the late summers and autumns bring out berries, nuts, and fungi.
Although, consuming wild food is good for you – foragers, especially the novice make small mistakes which can put them at risks. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind before heading out on an adventure.
• Always wear appropriate clothing (long sleeved shirts and pants) and carry containers, bottles and plastic bags during your trip. A long stick can also be used to move unwanted objects out of the way.
• Do take a guide book along with you or forage with an expert.
• Make sure you can identify the plants and its parts correctly. Check the plants features thoroughly such as its color, leaf, season, etc to be positive. If in doubt, ask an expert or better yet, leave the plant.
• Always take plants, fruits, nuts, and berries only for your personal use. Leave plenty of wild plants for regrowth and for other foragers use.
• Take permission from landowners before foraging in their respective areas. Also check state and local laws, as some state parks and areas forbid foraging.
• Do rinse and wash plants thoroughly before consuming.
• Never take or consume anything you can’t identify.
• Never harvest close to roads or near areas with heavy pollution as the plants may be contaminated with exhaust. Also, never forage near polluted water.
• Do not take rare plants or those that are listed in the endangered species list.
• Never take or even touch mushrooms if you are unable to accurately identify them.
• Don’t leave any litter behind you. Always clean up after yourselves.