A Quick Word on Foraging

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see a lot of me referencing eating things on hikes/lake walks.  The truth is that I frequently eat stuff I find in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a great way to get fresh fruits and greens with very little effort. Oh, and they’re free. Do you know how much a tiny container of blackberries is at the grocery store? I do.  I’d rather take a hike and eat a ridiculously fresh handful. Nutritious and cost-effective.  Foraging freaking rocks.

A few things before you decide to go foraging in your area:

1. Educate yourself. There are things out there that are not-so-good for humans to attempt to eat.  Be adventurous, but bring a guide.  No one really wants explosive diarrhea. Here’s a good guide book, here’s a good web site. Don’t eat anything you can’t fully identify.

2. Wash your food, especially if it comes from high traffic areas. I live in an apartment complex, so I’ve been avoiding the temptation to harvest any delicious looking dandelion leaves that I’ve seen.  Raleigh has about a million dogs and half of them live in my complex.  Anything I see has probably been pooped on at some point. But berries? I don’t wash them because I’m hiking. They’re fine.

3. Stop weeding your yard. You don’t really have to go abroad to find greens to eat.  Your yard is FULL of plantain, dandelion, and clover (unless you’ve had turf installed recently). Why waste time looking for it anywhere else? Bonus if you dodge it when mowing.

4. Mind property lines. It should go without saying that you should not stray into anyone else’s yard to grab eats.  They may be saving it for themselves, but more likely, they will just be creeped out if you start grazing next to their lawn chairs.

5. Overharvesting. Don’t do it. Only take what you need. Let the plants live to see another day.  Not only will it benefit you later, it keeps the surrounding ecosystem in balance. Make sure to try to scatter their seeds, if you can find them, to proliferate the species.

Keep those facts in mind when you forage and enjoy your free food!

Have you ever foraged?  Would you try it? What’s your favorite wild plant to eat?

19 thoughts on “A Quick Word on Foraging

  1. aw man blueberries, raspberries and blackberries really are super expensive at the grocery store. I’m not really a big fan but I bought some for my husband one week and I was like “what… the…” when i went to check out and saw how much they were. I still bought them but I told my husband that I would NOT be buying them every week lol!

    Jessica
    Pyreflies.org

    • Seriously! Cherries are the worst. They put them on sale here for $5.99/lb. It’s like a smack in the face, because cherries are super heavy anyways. Jerks. That’s why I steal my vitamin C from public areas as much as possible.

  2. LOLing at explosive diarrhea and imagining myself grazing in my neighbor’s lawn. I always imagine myself as Spike from Land Before Time when I munch on some clover. HE MAKES IT LOOK SO TASTY. At my old house our entire back yard were blackberry bushes. We’d pick them and make cobblers throughout summer, or just randomly eat them throughout the day. I MISS THAT. I have no idea where any blackberry bushes are around here. ALAS.

    • The image of Spike is too good and now I must go attempt that. I’d be sad about the loss of blackberries, too. I hope there will be some left when I get back on Monday. It seems so far awayyyyyy.

    • Local guides are an AWESOME resource. There’s nothing better than someone showing you exactly what’s up. I’m still so nervous about mushrooms. Glad to find another forager!

  3. Great post! I’m also a fan of “living off the land”, which is what my friends call it when I forage with them haha. I think it’s a lot of fun, plus everything always tastes better. When we moved to our current house I was so excited to see a huge blackberry thicket in our backyard – it’s full of berries right now actually :). I also see you mentioned Raleigh, so I’m assuming you mean Raleigh, NC. If so, hello fellow North Carolinian! Happy foraging 🙂

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