1/6/14

Wild Food Foraging

I have several goals for 2014 and plan to write about some of them here for accountability reasons. The first is one I never would have considered, even six months ago. I have been reading a bit about foraging for food. Who me? Yes, me. Why not? I used to drive 2 hours round trip for raw milk. This is not so different.

 
But where to start? I live in the country and all the farms around us are owned privately, so knowing where to do this is a mystery. But my hubby and I are thinking this would be a very fun activity for the family. My kids already know that food does not come from the drive thru. Well, some of them do. We have a nephew living with us who when I make up cookie dough asks, "What is that?"
Really? You have never seen cookie dough? He has been amazed as he watches how food comes together in a kitchen. And for the most part, seems to relish meal times.

I naively thought that food foraging would be similar to geocaching and I could get online and find coordinates for berries or sand plums or some other of nature's delicacies. I live for online shopping. Why should this be any different? Get on the computer, look it up, pick it up. On second thought, does UPS deliver wild rhubarb? No, it seems not. So, I have put in a request with an expert to go on a foraging walk not too far from my home. Sounds fun, doesn't it? (But seriously, if you know of a service that does deliver...just kidding, sorta!)

I want my kids to know that not all of our food arrives on the porch via Fed Ex. To have a greater appreciation for this beautiful earth we live on and the gifts that it provides. Plants nourish our bodies...we know that. Plants have healing properties....we have experienced that. But plants in the wild are edible? I admit, I myself know very little about that. We saw a wild berry plant once.  But otherwise, I have no idea what else there is out here in Oklahoma to eat. This year, I intend to change that. And hope not to poison my family in the process.If nothing else, for a chance to explore in the sunshine and soak in the vitamin D. I was inspired even more by this post I read today. I have never had the least bit of desire to live up in the Arctic (Aka North of Missouri) due to the bone chilling cold that blankets the entire region from October to June(ish). But it looks like despite that, there is much more wild food to be had from maple syrup to twisted stalk which reported tastes like cucumbers. What do we get in Oklahoma?

 
 
 
Mushrooms! Really? EWWW! And Wild Desert Gourds.

Food isn't the only thing you can forage. I went to visit my sister in Oregon a few months ago and she had me drinking water they fill up at a local natural spring. Really? She drives to find quality milk, produce, and now water? Oh, but it tasted good. Who ever thought of foraging for something as simple as water? And why should you? Why not just turn on the tap and drink the chlorinated, florinated, perhaps brominated water from the city? That is a topic for another time. In the mean time, find a spring near you here. Unfortunately, the nearest one to me is 1 hour and 15 min one way. We may do it sometime, and see how much we can haul home!

I intend to work on this goal in 2014. So, do any of you wonderful readers out there have any resources you can share on this subject? Places to forage, great experiences you have had? Please share!!

Here are a few resources that have helped me get started. What ones can you add?

Find a spring
Wild Foraging in Oklahoma

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24 comments:

  1. Such a neat goal for 2014! I can't wait to see how this goes for you - it is sure to be interesting! Thanks so much for linking up at Tips and Tricks Tuesday after breaking for the holidays! We love when you link up with us!

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  2. This is on my to-do list this year too! Here in Maine we have all sorts of wild edibles--from berries like blueberries, raspberries and elderberries, to "weeds" like plantain and chickweed, shrubs and trees that offer fruits that grow along the roadside. When I was young my family used to perpetuate old abandoned farmsteads where berry bushes grew neglected and forgotten. Now I like to walk through the forest to see what I can find--and things like plantain can be harvested practically right out your front door! I suggested getting a book about wild edibles that you can talk with you on your walks to help you learn to recognize them; and perhaps keep a journal that you can record the locations of plants and foods you discover so that you know where to look in the years to come.

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    1. Great idea. I will look for one on native Oklahoma plants. I sooo want to visit Maine someday. It is one of the few States I have not been too. Sounds like a wonderful place for some nature walks.

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  3. Your story about your nephew reminds me of my daughter's friends. They came over for a sleepover and stood in my kitchen watching the air popper amazed that the popcorn didn't come out of the microwave.

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    1. We do have one of those! I like popping best on the stove in coconut oil, slathered in butter. One of our favorite foods!

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  4. What an awesome goal to have! It is good to break out of comfort zones, even if only to broaden the horizons of those around us. In your case, it could be healthier too! Best of luck!

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  5. You can make your own flour out of acorns. One of my favorites to forage is burdock. I like making a tincture out of it and it makes great burdock patties. I love raiding the garden for violets, nasturiums, and daylilies. Stuffed daylily buds-yum! Dandelions are great for salads, jelly or wine. So are elderberries or raspberries. Chickory root or dandelion root makes a good coffee substitute. I love foraging in my woods, yard and pasture. Esp since I know that nothing is contaminated by pesticides. Everyone needs to be aware---DO NOT gather anything growing along a roadside which may be contaminated by exposure to carbon monoxide from passing cars.

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  6. Awesome idea - nothing as satisfying as going for a walk that yields dinner. I'm up in Canada and the book The Boreal Herbal is really a wonderful resource for both id'ing and knowing what to look for. Though the plants are surely different, it might still be worth a look!

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  7. It is nice to have foods that you can actually get "right from the ground" so you know there was nothing added to them!

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  8. In Singapore, it is tough to do food foraging as resources are limited. At least my kids have seen a hen and most of her classmates never seen a hen or duck..A respectable objectives. Thanks for sharing for 4 seasons blog hop. cheers and have a nice day.

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    1. Wow, so sad that kids are so far removed from the food source.

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  9. We used to forage for berries, pecans and asparagus. With a minnow trap we could catch crayfish not that we ate them. I'll be interested in hearing about your adventures :) Thanks for linking up to Real Food Fridays :)

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    1. Oh, my mom would forage for wild asparagus when I was a kid. I did not appreciate that. I hated it! Now I love it and only wish....

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  10. Now that reminded me...as a child, ( PA here ) my grandparents had a camp ( an old schoolhouse ) in Clarion, PA. And we would bring back all sorts of things including gallons and gallons of water from a spring up there! :)

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  11. Hi - Love your goal to learn foraging. I do a lot of it, and have learned that so many plants have edible parts. I suggest Samuel Thayer's books, Forager's Harvest and Nature's Garden, as a start. He has nice photos and great ID tips, and describes all edible parts of each plant he covers, including brief suggestions on how to use them. And if you really want to get into it, I suggest learning plant identification in general. Once you learn that, you can look up any plant you id and find out if it has edible parts. I would start with trees, because their are fewer of them and they can be identified in any season. A beginner friendly book is George Symonds' The Tree Identification Book.

    If there is no opportunity for roadside foraging, check out any land that is open to the public for hiking. It's best to contact the land owner (federal, state, town, or private) to make sure they don't mind you foraging.

    Finally, I have been blogging about identifying and using wild edilbles, and you can see my foraging posts here: http://ouroneacrefarm.com/topics/wild-edibles/

    Thanks for sharing on Mostly HomeMade Mondays!

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    1. Thanks for those resources Janet. I am gonna check them out!!

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  12. I'm also very interested in learning more and more about foraging. We too have a natural spring about a half mile from the homestead and it's amazing. Before we had running water, we got ALL of our drinking water from there! We also have an abundance of wild blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, and we even found wild cranberries. I'd love to learn more about the plant-like edibles not as easily recognized like berries are.

    Good luck to you in your venture!

    {visiting via the From the Farm hop}

    Erin
    http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

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    1. Sounds like heaven. For our next piece of property, a natural spring is top priority.

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  13. I have a local herbalist I talked to about going out to do some forging. Like you I would like to know what grows in my state that I can use to heal with, and eat if need be. We had a natural spring in Tennessee, but never got water out of it, we had some of the most amazing well water.

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  14. I would love to find someone who could teach me how to do this. I think I am going to hop online and see what I can find now! Thank you for the inspiration! And super thank you for linking up with us for MMM link up party this week! I hope you will come back tomorrow and link up another great post.

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    1. Let me know if you come across anything new.

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