Foraging for nutritious, edible wild plants has been in practice for eons. Today, “wildcrafting” is as simple as heading into your backyard. Learn how to become a part of the movement!
The term “wildcrafting” comes from the old English word wildcrafting, which means “farming the woods.” Farming and wildcrafting go hand in hand. Before you even have a crop to harvest, you have the crop that Mother Nature planted. Plants and crops are not only food sources, they are medicinal as well.
Knowing what grows in your neighborhood could be vital to your family in an emergency. If stores are closed due to storms, violence, or whatever reason, you can still provide for their needs. And it’s free! Elderberries, which have potent anti-viral properties for the flu season when prepared as a syrup is one of my favs and I swear by it during cold + flu season.
So, if foraging and wildcrafting are so vital to human security, why isn’t everyone out on their hands and knees stalking edible wild greens? To many, wildcrafting is important because it fosters an intimate connection to the natural world. It’s also a fun way to save money and eat the healthiest and most delicious food that exists.
Properly Identifying Plants
So how do you tell which greens will make a tasty salad or tea, and which will send you scuttling off to the bathroom—or worse, the hospital ER because of a misidentified mushroom? That’s where the human traits of teaching and mentoring come in. For just as long as we’ve gathered wild food, we’ve taught our young and each other what is safe to eat. And because of the surge in wildcrafting, resources for learning are more abundant than morel mushrooms sprouting up after a wildfire.
Want To Start Wildcrafting? Start Close To Home
Ask around. is there someone in your community who knows their wild plants? Get out your boots, and head into the woods with a basket. Use a plant app, that is what my husband and I do, to help you identify.
Some plants are easier to identify than others, so if you’re starting out, err on the conservative side. Once you get a taste of the joys of traipsing around in the fields and forests specifically to collect food, tea, medicinals, or other materials, you may find yourself hooked. The good news is you can find an almost endless supply of resources via the Internet..
A lot of edibles go to waste because they are not recognized as edibles. You can find fruiting crab apples that were planted around public buildings for their spring flowers, but the fruit is ignored. There are always dandelions to be found, and they are more nutritious than most garden plants. Their leaves have more Vitamin A than carrots! Dandelion Salad recipe here.
Wildcrafting has become so popular that you may just find yourself staring down at a tray full of wild morel or chanterelle mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, blackberries, or tea leaves at your local grocery store or food co-op. You’ll be witness to the remarkable convergence of the ancient practice of wildcrafting and modern farming, a convergence that could benefit everyone for its interwoven reminder of the profound links between humans and the land.
Information Source: myself and the Farmers Almanac