Did you know that the first grocery store only opened its doors 100 years ago? Before then, people bought their food largely from local producers, or they hunted, grew, or found their own. Many people today are getting back to hunting and growing large portions of their food stores, but the practice of foraging hasn’t gained the same kind of popularity.
This is a shame, because knowing how to forage for food is not only an essential wilderness survival skill, it’s also a great way to supplement your family’s diet with organic food.
Identifying edible wild food is easily done with the aid of a library book or a guide that you’ve purchased for your survival gear. Dandelions, nettle, and fiddlehead are three very common plants, often considered weeds, that are easy to harvest and can be used for a variety of recipes. Mushrooms, berries, and wild ginseng are popular foraged items, but you must be careful to identify only those which are edible – if you aren’t positive that a fungus is safe to eat, it’s best to leave it.
Once you know how to identify edible food, it’s important to know when to forage. Most plants are best eaten only during a specific season or part of its life cycle. If you live in an urban area, it’s best to forage only in places that are away from traffic, away from industrial centers, and aren’t popular dog-walking areas. Additionally, some towns and cities have laws that govern foraging activities, so it’s best to look into those laws before you begin.
You don’t need any expensive materials for foraging. Brown paper bags or an old picnic basket will work just fine for collecting your foraged food. With some research and patience, you’ll find that foraging can be a rewarding method for exploring new flavors in your organic cooking.