Foraging tips and books you need right now!
Taking a walk on the wild side soon? Foraging for wild food sounds kind of crazy, maybe even desperate, but really it’s about learning your land and plants that are around you. So much of what grows around us is edible and you probably don’t even know it.
Some of the benefits of foraging are; fresh organic foods, food you don’t see in a grocery store, organic diversity, powerful healing herbs, and just getting a nice therapeutic walk in the woods.
There are more to the woods than you may even realize, yet most people don’t know the first thing when it comes to what is edible and what isn’t when they go hiking in the woods.
If you don’t know to pick in the wild (foraging), where do you start?
Here are some ideas on ways you can learn, choose, and navigate your way through the wild world of foraging in your area, safely.
If you are a beginner I would highly recommend you seek out a local foraging group and ask to forage alongside a seasoned person who knows what they are looking for. There are plenty of Facebook groups in your local area that can help you find someone knowledgeable enough to help you.
Many of the Facebook groups in your area have people who have successfully foraged for many decades and will be happy to share their love and knowledge of what they have learned. More often than not, these kind folks will do it for free.
Another option would be to take some classes from a local tour guide who can take you through the woods, help you identify plants, and show you where the edible fruit, plants, roots, and mushrooms grow well in your area.
Your local county cooperative extension office can also help you identify plants, roots, and mushrooms if you are unsure about what you have picked. Do be aware that this is a government agency and they are only open certain hours and days of the week. You can find their information in your local phone book or by searching for them online.
Sometimes a book or online source isn’t as nice as an actual human who can show you a plant that you can pick, smell, photograph, and feel. A human who can show you a plant that you can pick, smell, photograph, and feel. However, I have found books to be invaluable for looking up different characteristics that I may have missed when trying to identify a plant.
Books are an excellent resource for beginners and experts alike. There are so many plants out there that are similar in looks that you will eventually need some books to help you navigate your way through what is edible and what is not, especially if you choose to try foraging mushrooms.
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Below are four books that I found especially helpful in helping me identify plants that grow in my area, as well as much of the United States.
Bushcraft 101: A field guide to the art of wilderness survival. This book will help teach you basic skills about how to go about finding food available in the wild.
Mushrooming without fear: The beginner’s guide to collecting safe and delicious mushrooms. I originally borrowed this book from the library and fell in love with it. It has such simplistic terms that anyone could easily identify mushrooms. It’s a broad book meant for beginners who are terrified to start identifying and choosing mushrooms safe to eat.
The complete guide to edible and wild plants. This is a good general book that isn’t all about mushrooms. There are so many other plants you can harvest, yarrow, ramps, dandelions, chickory, etc. The list is enormous. This book will help you get started.
Nature’s Garden: A guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants. I liked this book because of the help in knowing what to do with the plants after you harvest them. Not everyone tells you what you need to use those plants for.
So much of what grows around us in our yards, on the curbs, in our cities, local woods, pathways, etc. are sometimes edible, including one form of cacti that grows in every state in the U.S. You can read about that cactus here.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If it helped spur you on to try foraging in your area, I’d love it if you left a comment below.