When foraging for wild food, knowing what seasons each food can be found in helps to achieve success. Follow these guidelines if you wish to be better at finding food in the wild.
1. Know the wild foods in your area
It’s too late to learn what plants, fruits and mushrooms are edible around you in an emergency.
You must begin to learn with an experienced forager and eventually you will learn a lot on nature hikes. Do this once a week throughout the year.
2. Know what gifts the seasons bring
Tender shoots, tender greens, leaves and sprouts are gifts of the spring. Blossoms, pollen and greens are gifts of later spring.
Pot herbs, boiling greens, roots, rhizomes and berries are gifts of summer. Roots, fruit, seeds and nuts are gifts of autumn. Different species of mushrooms abound throughout three seasons.
Winter is a time for hunting and making teas from conifer needles and the inner bark of elms and cherries.
3. Know to stay safe
You are not the only critter foraging in the wild. Take care to avoid animal attacks.
4. Know where wild foods grow
Small grow in meadows with deep soil where there are little trees to shade them from the sun. Wild rice grows near water.
Root and rhizome producing plants grow in open fields and they rarely grow large. Fruit trees like southern slopes.
Gulches with running water grow small, leafy plants that need shade. Irrigation ditches provide habitat for wild asparagus. Dandelion and plantain grow in a variety of habitats.
As you gain experience foraging you will develop a sense of what the landscape may provide through observation and trial and error.
5. Know how to use wild foods
Wild food plants can be quite versatile and fun to use for more than a single season. Wild cherry bark may be collected in the spring to be used medicinally. Its fruit is collected in late summer to be eaten and its bark may be collected again in the fall to be used as a vitamin rich tea or soup stock.
Dandelion roots may be used as a substitute for coffee, medicinally or used in a stew and its greens eaten in the spring while tender as a salad or boiled as spinach through the summer.
6. Know how wild foods change in appearance
As plants grow they look different. Observe plants through their growth cycle to identify them.
Harris Norman is a 30-year-old hiking guide, former fitness instructor and part-time blog writer at www.prosurvivalist.com. His favorite past times are fishing, painting and spending time with his dogs in his home town of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Healthy living and wellbeing have always been Harris’s main occupation. He’s a certified fitness instructor and in the last ten years, he’s taken up hiking and trekking as a way of staying in shape and keeping his inner peace. He shares his experiences and advice on http://www.prosurvivalist.com/ as one of its revered writers.