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11 Precautions and Tips for Safe Foraging

11 Precautions and Tips for Safe Foraging

Edible wild food to forage for in the spring include cattail stalks, dandelion, chickweed, chives, nettles, wild lettuce, violet leaves, redbud flowers, mustard and rose family flowers, violets, strawberry, and gooseberries. It is a great time to dig burdock, dandelion, and wild parsnip roots.

There is a veritable feast out there! Herbalists believe that foods available seasonally provide nourishment appropriate to the body’s needs at the different times of year.

Experts recommend you introduce yourself to two or three new wild plants to eat a season, so as not to become overwhelmed. Start now!. The most important thing of all is to forage safely, both for your health and the environment. These guidelines will help:

This is a condensed version of a list by Deborah Lee reprinted in The Green Kitchen Handbook. A few good guidebooks for identifying plants are a must!

1. Know what you are picking. (Many edible plants have a poisonous look-alike.)

2. Be extremely careful when collecting mushrooms.

3. Know what part to pick.

4. If wild animals can eat the plant, it doesn’t mean it is safe for humans.

5. Avoid plants near industrialized farming or any area where commercial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides may have been used.

6. Avoid foraging near main roads due to herbicide use by road crews.

7. Don’t over harvest any one plant or area.

8. Take only what you need.

9. Clean and sort through the plants in the woods.

10. Don’t overeat foraged plants as they can be strong medicinally.

Read more: Community, Eating for Health, Life, Nature & Wildlife

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

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+ add your own
6:36PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Thank You.

11:23AM PDT on Jun 10, 2013


11:22AM PDT on Jun 10, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

8:50AM PDT on Jun 8, 2013

thanks. I would love to know more wild plants that can be eaten, but I'm never really sure if I get them right.

5:44AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

I love eating wild violet leaves that grow in my yard. They don't taste so good this late in the season, though.

11:03PM PDT on May 31, 2013

This really is interesting. Thanks.

6:00PM PDT on May 27, 2013

thank you

11:19PM PDT on May 24, 2013

Good tips

5:29PM PDT on May 22, 2013

Great article Thanks Much! Berries .. yummms!

5:54PM PDT on May 21, 2013


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