How to Forage for Wild Edible Plants

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

  • Patience
  • A plant reference book
  • Daring

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.

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.

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!