There are probably wild plants growing in your own backyard—or at least in a nearby public park—just waiting to become a free, tasty meal. Just make sure they’re actually edible.
You will need
- A plant reference book
Step 1 Educate yourself Learn about the plants that grow wild in your area and are edible. Your local Horticultural Society or librarian can help you.
Step 2 Locate foraging areas Locate areas with natural plant life. Even large cities often have parks where edible wild plants can be foraged.
To avoid pesticides, don’t forage near railroad tracks or power line rights-of-way.
Step 3 Bring a book Bring an illustrated plant reference book with you to help identify plants and determine whether they are safe to eat.
Step 4 Know the edible parts Make sure you know which part of a plant is edible. Sometimes the roots are edible but the leaves are not, and vice versa.
Step 5 Know what to avoid Do not eat unknown plants that have a milky sap or a sap that turns black when exposed to air; are mushroom-like; resemble onions, garlic, parsley, parsnip, or dill; or have carrot-like leaves, roots, or tubers.
Follow this rule when foraging for mushrooms: If it ain’t hollow, don’t swallow; if it’s wavy, don’t make gravy; if it’s reddish, you could be deadish.
Step 6 Wash before eating Wash foraged food before eating it, especially anything picked lower than waist high.
Step 7 Don’t be greedy Don’t be greedy: Don’t pick every single berry, nut, or plant from an area–leave some for your fellow foragers!
Did You Know:
Out of 85,556 questionable mushroom ingestions reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers in an 11-year period, only 14 resulted in fatalities.