First, just to make sure that everyone knows what foraging is, lets define it. Foraging is simply defined as: searching for food or provisions.
Do you ever pick wild blueberries, blackberries or any other kind of berry? If you do, then you are a Forager. Do you search for the coveted Moral Mushroom? If you do, then you are a Forager. In a sense, if you go out and pick a bouquet of wild flowers (on private land of course), then you are a Forager. There are likely more Foragers out there, then you thought.
It’s not much of a stretch for a Shroomer, to take the next step and pick a bunch of Wild Peppermint to enjoy in a “tea”is it? Nor is it a stretch for a berry picker to grab that bunch of Wild Asparagus. And…why not?
So Foraging really isn’t as unusual as some might suppose it to be. Many people are just a small step away from taking it to the next level. That level of course is what you define it to be, depending on your interest, needs or opportunities. So the question, “why Forage?” really depends on your personal interest or needs.
Me, personally, I have always had an insatiable desire to study wild plants; to be a botanist. That ship has pretty much sailed, but that doesn’t stop me from studying plants…daily. I have been self educating for years. More so than ever over the last 2-3 years. Pretty much everyday I do something to increase my knowledge in all things wild and planty.
I enjoy making use out of what I learn. I enjoy the trips to the woods or fields to find my quarry. I enjoy more than anything, sharing the experience and knowledge that I have acquired.
I love experimenting with flavors. Tonight, I used Stinging Nettle, Wild Carrot root and Wild Garlic powders on our steak dinner. A bit of salt and pepper, fried in Coconut Oil. Dang, that was good.
My wife, Jan and I are tea drinkers. Of course, most of what we drink has no tea in it and therefore, they are really Herbal Infusions, but people get “tea”. Much of the “tea” we drink has an ulterior purpose.
For instance, we will put Mullein in our tea if we have a cough. We might drink Peppermint, Blackberry root tea if we have stomach issues or Purple Dead Nettle Tea if allergies are bugging us.
I also happen to believe that it is always better to eat food that you know where it came from. No GMO’s, no Round Up, no nutrient depleted vegetables. Vitamin packed, organic, micro nutrient abound vegetables that only a few generations ago, were the staple of our ancestors diets.
But with all that, there is one reason to Forage that is near and dear to my heart. There are 1 in 7 people, 1 in 5 children, that are going hungry in Michigan. Foraging can help eliminate that condition. I’m not suggesting that people take their kids out to the fields and start grazing. What I do suggest is, that people with limited means could benefit greatly from knowing how to extend their resources by using wild edible plants as extenders to their diets.
For instance, Brown Rice is fairly inexpensive and healthy. By adding a cup of chopped Plantain (not the banana) to the rice, the nutritional value just increased insanely. The flavor is good and the health benefits huge.
Buying a head of lettuce is pretty affordable. Adding a cup of Lambs Quarters and a half cup of Wild Strawberries drizzled with vinegar extends the nutritional value of the lettuce and extends the budget.
A family of four can boil, strain and chop a couple cups of dandelion leaves in about 15 minutes. Pull 2 or three Wild Garlic plants and chop fine. Add both cooked Dandelion greens and Wild Garlic to 8 eggs and scramble them together. The amount of nutrition added to the eggs, as well as the bulk, extended the value of the eggs considerably. That family of four just ate a dish packed with protein, Vitamins and Micro nutrients for about $1.50. Add a pan of corn bread for about a dollar and Dandelion Flower Syrup and I guarantee you that no one finished breakfast hungry or malnourished. $00.63 per person is all that meal cost.
The challenge isn’t finding food for people. The challenge is educating people. Not only the families themselves, but also the organizations that help people in need.
People wonder where their next meal is everyday. Other people wonder how they are going to meet the needs of the hungry. Everyday they walk past and on the answers. Please, if you have any questions or would like the opportunity to learn more on Foraging Wild Edible Plants and it’s benefits, contact me privately using the contact page or feel free to leave a comment (public) here.