This is one aspect of living a sustainable lifestyle that I struggle with a little bit. It is intimidating, and I am afraid I am going to screw up. There I said it. I’m scared. So many wild plants are delicious, and have awesome medicinal properties. Not to mention if you hit the jackpot on something, it saves you on the next food bill. I am just afraid of what *could* happen if I identify something wrong. For example, Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as a wild carrot, you can dig up the root and eat it, you can also eat the flower raw or batter and fry it. Poison Hemlock looks very similar and can make you really sick! A good indicator that it is Queen Anne’s Lace, is the tiny little purple flower in the centre. If it does not have this, steer clear. It could be poison hemlock or giant Hogweed, you do not want to ingest either!!
So, because I am a nervous Nelly, I stick to Morel mushrooms, Fiddle Head Ferns, wild garlic, wild strawberries and acorns. I know them, and can identify them.
Wild strawberries grow pretty abundantly around my area. Sometimes we stumble upon small patches of them and gobble them up. We usually can’t find enough to bring home and preserve in anyway.
Morels have a pretty distinct look, but you still do have to be careful. There are false morels. The way you can tell the difference is to cut one open. If the center of it is hollow, it is a true morel. If the stem goes all the way up, it is a false morel – DO NOT EAT a false morel!!!
Fiddlehead ferns are also easy to identify, I have looked everywhere and cannot find the photos I took of the ferns I picked and cooked. They happen to be growing in the back of my parents’ property, so that was a bonus. Fiddlehead ferns do have to be cooked though. There are instructions on Wikihow on how to prepare them. I sautéed them in butter, and it was delicious. They are very expensive to buy at the grocery store, so it is bonus if you can find them and eat them for free. Also, do not eat them if they are open, they taste the best when in a tight spiral.
Wild garlic is easily identifiable, and you can eat both the cloves and the scapes. We foraged for some in the summer and I canned them by pickling them with vinegar and spices!
All in all, we enjoy foraging as a fun pastime but have never really found enough to supplement growing our food or shopping at the store. However, it is a good skill to teach your children! There is food out there, you just have to find it!
Happy foraging! 🌱🌾
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