Learning how to forage for edible plants in the wilderness is a great skill. You have been hiking around the woods for a long time.
But did you know that there are plenty of edible foods you can take while in the wilderness?
How do you distinguish the edible and the poisonous plants?
You can only know how to discern the two if you know how foraging in the wilderness works.
Once you start learning about the wild, you will realize that there are plenty of edible plant options, including seeds, berries, flowers, nuts, roots, and foliage.
Staying Safe as You Forage for Food in The Wilderness
Before you set off for foraging, learning how you can identify edible foods before consuming them is important. You should not just eat anything that appears edible.
You could be eating poison because some poisonous and edible plants look very similar and you may not know whether you are eating an edible plant. To be on the safe side, at least carry a book describing and showing images of edible plants to help you identify the ones you can consume.
General Guidelines When Foraging in The Wilderness
Whether you are a beginner or you feel you are an expert in foraging, keeping in mind the general rules will enhance your safety.
- If an animal feeds on a plant, it doesn’t mean you can also consume it. Remember your body does not work the same way with animals. So, a plant can be poisonous to humans, and edible to an animal.
- When foraging as a whole family, ensure you keep your children away from eating any plant without asking for permission. Of course, foraging as a whole family is an amazing experience that everyone would want to have. Your family’s safety, however, is all that matters before you even set off for your journey to the wilderness.
- Some plants have a strong, disagreeable odor. When you come across such plants, ensure you avoid them.
- Stay away from plants with leaves that grow in groups of three. A good example of such plants is poison ivy. They are poisonous and if you touch or brush yourself against them, you can develop a skin rash. So, you need to avoid those plants and if possible, cover yourself as much as you can, following the fact that these plants are very common.
- Plants that grow along the roadsides or in developed areas are not safe for consumption unless you wash them thoroughly with water. Such plants are always contaminated with pollutants, or sometimes, they are sprayed with pesticides.
- Some plants taste better when you cook them rather than eating them raw. Learn how you can properly prepare your foraged finds for consumption.
- If you find some edible plants in the wilderness, start by taking a small portion and wait for some time before taking more of it. This is to help you determine if in case, the plant could not be reacting well with your body.
Some of The Common Edible Plants
Before you even set off for the wilderness, start searching for this plant close to your home. Its flowers can be red, yellow, or orange. Nasturtium is a beautiful plant with a peppery taste. You can find it in the gardens, across parks or in the street-side flowerbeds. It is packed with vitamins and its every part can be consumed.
If you come across a rose bush in the wilderness, you have more than one edible option. Both the sweet flower petals and the small accessory fruits are edible. The fruits are either red or orange and they are well packed with vitamin C. Ensure the wilderness is free from chemicals or any other contamination when you are harvesting rose hips. You can either the fruits raw or make them into jelly, sauce, or tea.
Blackberries are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. When you are harvesting blackberries ensure you wear gloves and long-sleeve shirts because the shrubs have sharp thorns.
Foraging has been in existence for years. Forage for food in the wilderness can be done for fun, or it can be a great way to feel connected to the land. Whatever your reasons are, just forage with care.