Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Foraging For Food in Nature

Wow, our earth is so amazing!

I went foraging for food in nature today with my mom. She knows a lot about plants. It was great to spend time with her in this way, and learning from her. I was learning all about different types of edible, non-edible plants and poisonous plants, and she enjoyed sharing her plant-wisdom with me. Thanks mom! <3

My mom Yolanda with our foraged salad

And look at that beautiful, colorful salad! It's simply gorgeous.

It was really fun and empowering to learn about edible plants, because nature really provides free food in abundance. There were edible plants everywhere! Of course different types of habitat can contain different edible plants. But it is fun to learn about all types, and about what the plants can be used for. Different parts of the plants may be usable for different things, or may even have medicinal properties. Of course a lot of information is also available online!

Here are the ingredients of our salad:

Broadleaf plantain / Plantago major
With this plant, you really want the younger, juicy leaves, because they get a bit tough as they grow bigger. They provide a good base for a salad. And the flower tops are edible too!

Hemp-nettle / Galeopsis
The leaves can be used for a salad, and have a mild taste. The flowers are also edible and the seeds can be used to make oil.

The leaves are quite bitter, but if you cut them in small pieces and leave them in salt or water for an hour, then the taste gets milder. You can also eat the flowers.

Red Clover
Also a favorite for bees! :) You can add the flowers as colorful decoration to your salads. You can also use the leaves and shoots in soups or salads.

Chickweed is a great base for salads! The taste is very mild, while still very flavorful. The whole plant is edible.

Wild strawberry
These strawberries are delicious! There is absolutely no comparison with store-bought strawberries. The leaves can also be used in a salad, cooked as spinach or used to make tea.

European Blueberry
Again, such a beautiful flavor with no comparison to the store-bought variant.

Rosebay willowherb / Fireweed / Chamerion angustifolium
These flowers can also be used to decorate your salad. The stems can be peeled and eaten raw or be cooked like asparagus. In our salad, we only used the flowers.

The complete salad looked like this:
Foraged salad with a tiny dash of (rescued) cold-pressed olive oil
No pesticides, no chemicals; an all-natural salad. And it tasted so crunchy, healthy, sweet and flavorful. The flavors are very pure, whole and full. I totally recommend eating what nature provides. It probably offers more vitamins and minerals too!

Some guidelines from my mom:
1. Only pick what you'll use
2. Avoid foraging from busy roads and other possibly contaminated places
3. Try not to damage the plant: bring a knife or pair of scissors to avoid this
4. Don't pick a plant if it seems to be the only one left: choose the ones that grow abundantly.

We also found some camomile for tea:
Camomile tea
We rinsed the plant and then let it sit upside-down in a big jug of hot water for about 8 minutes. Very tasty and healthy!

Let me know in the comments below which edible plants grow abundantly where you live! :)
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