Traditionally, the spring and summer months don’t hold a lot of potential for hunting wild game. But why should that hold you back from hunting game on a different level? Why not think about hunting down flora instead of fauna this spring and summer season by foraging the woods for edible vegetal delights? We’re talking about foraging the land for fun and finding fabulous food.
If you’re a fan of mother nature, then you know she can be infinitely generous yet also a fickle foe when it comes to plucking prime delights for nourishment. Here are some basic tips to foraging through nature for yummy bites or healing bits you may appreciate on your next walk in the great outdoors.
Get Properly Equipped: One of the most exciting aspects of foraging is prepping for the journey by procuring a proper backpack for tools needed on any foraging adventure. Equipment for a foraging foray looks a bit different than items found in a camping or hunting pack. Certain must-have tools in your foraging backpack include scissors, a spade or small shovel, pruners, a good knife, gloves, collection containers or baggies, and maybe a collapsible saw. As you tiptoe into the realm of foraging you may discover more essential items required for your carry-along pack, but these prime basics will serve you well on your first exploratory jaunt.
Know it Before You Pick it: Yeah, it might sound tedious when you’re rip-raring to go foraging through the forest, but research is crucial when picking edibles in the wild. Why? Because one seemingly harmless-looking flower might come from a poisonous plant that looks like food but in reality, it should go nowhere near your mouth. Do thorough research before, during, and after your foraging excursions so you can enjoy the art of collecting nature’s vegetation while staying safe and healthy.
Be Kind: If you’re already conscientious when it comes to keeping nature pristine and protected, then you’ll find the rules of conservation are no different with foraging. When harvesting plants, be sure to take only what you need to avoid needless waste of life. Also, take only the parts you require for your purpose. In other words, if you only need the flowers, don’t uproot the whole plant. Keep the concept of sustainability firmly in your mind as you reap nature’s rewards during your foraging expeditions.
Go Off the Beaten Path: If you are new to foraging, you may want to start close to home in regions you are familiar with because it will be easier to identify native plants in your area. However, once you gain experience, don’t be shy about off-roading into other locations for foraging adventures. Whether you are collecting plants from your backyard or snatching snippets in Kathmandu, find ways to make your foraging excursions fun and exciting. If you do opt to go foraging off the beaten path, it’s probably a good idea to take a plant identification guide for that area as well as a good survival guide before taking off on an exotic plant-plucking trail.
Keep a Journal: Don’t laugh, it’s not like “dear diary,” it’s more like keeping a written record of your forage outings. This is a great way to retain knowledge and document the variety of plant life you’ve collected over time. As an added reference, think about pressing dried plant samples in your foraging journal and writing their names down once you’ve confirmed the species.
Get a mentor (or a group): Foraging is more fun with friends! Think about registering for a foraging tour in your area or join a group. If you’re not keen on picking plants in a pack, at least consider finding a local foraging expert who is willing to tutor you about the ways of grazing the greenery of the land.
Go Pseudo: If foraging doesn’t sound like your scene, that’s okay. Think about planting your own edible garden. This is a way to enjoy edibles and healing plants from nature while partially dodging the learning curve that goes hand-in-hand with foraging. Your pseudo-foraging garden can be as simple as planting herbs in containers, or you can go wild by planting more elaborate local plants that can be used for tinctures, teas, or other medicinal purposes.
Last Thoughts About Foraging Like a Pro
If it seems like venturing out into the realm of foraging takes a lot of preparation, you’re right. But it’s totally worth it! Foraging done right is an extremely rewarding activity. Not only will it prepare you for survival in the wild, but it also encourages a deeper appreciation for nature and all the abundance available on this lovely earth.