When it comes to foraging for food, it is important to be safe. Do not ever eat anything you are not one hundred percent positive in identification. Many foraged plants cannot be eaten raw or have very specific areas that can be eaten. For example even the well-known and often eaten rhubarb plant has very poisonous leaves. Only the stems are edible. Some plants have toxic berries, flowers or roots. That is why it is important to always verify your finds before consuming them.
There is also an important factor in foraging in urban areas. The use of pesticides and other toxins are wide spread and can contaminate both the inside and outside of plants. Some edible planets, like Alligator Weed, absorb toxins in the soil and water and can become toxic if grown under those conditions. Other plants like those grown in contaminated ponds or lakes can be washed well to remove toxins. Always be aware of the growing conditions of the foraged plants before eating them.
As for foraging itself most places it is illegal to pick plants without the land owner’s permission unless it is a survival situation. Always ask permission to forage and do not damage the land or plant life. That means not taking too many plants from one area and also filling in any holes you dig. If you are harvesting leaves take only a few from each plant. If you are harvesting bark from a tree take thin strips vertically so that you do not create a ring around the trunk and kill the tree. These tips will help there to be food to be foraged at a later date and also preserve the natural ecology of the areas you are foraging from.
There are many reasons that people forage for food in the wild. Some are interested in learning about the ecology in their area in a real way. Some like to supplement their diet with native plants. Others like to keep their hiking load to a minimum and forage for their food instead. Whatever your reason for foraging remember to respect your safety and the safety and privacy of others in your quest.
For some common examples of foraged plants in the United States here are a few you can take a look at:
* Acorns – Acorns are grown on oak trees and typically take one to two years to fully mature. They are full of tannins that must be removed to make them palatable. The best way to remove the tannins is to submerge the acorns in running water for two or more days. You can also coarsely chop the center of the acorn (the edible part) and run it through a coffee maker until no longer bitter. Be sure to keep the hot water always going to prevent the tannins from bonding to the acorns permanently. Acorns have lots of fat, oil and protein so they are very good to eat but also spoil quickly.
* Blackberry – Blackberries grow wild next to water sources, even ditches. The berries are usually tougher and smaller than store bought kinds and start out red. When they get dull black or dark blue they are ready to eat. Beware of thorns on the stems. You can eat the berries raw, make jelly or jam out of them, or even make a pie. You can also make blackberry tea with the leaves. Pick small leaves and dry them before making the tea for the best flavor.
* Clover – Clover grows in yards and grasslands almost everywhere. With a cluster of three heart shaped leaves they are easy to identify. You can eat the leaves raw. They have a pleasant sour flavor. The roots can also be eaten raw and both can be cooked for extra protein in your dishes. The white flower can be dried and made into a tea.
Author Bio: Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently she is one of the writers for houstonnanny.com. If you want to get in touch with her, you can email her at stephanie. Houstonnanny @ gmail. com.
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