Wildcrafting: Dos and Don'ts
Food prices are rising, in fact, it seems as though the cost of everything is going up, what can you do?
Well you can supplement you food supply by becoming an urban forager, this simply involves identifying food sources, often fruit and berries, growing wild around your community or fruit trees and berry bushes on lands where you can gain permission to harvest.
You can complement this activity through wild crafting which means you go out into the wild which maybe a nearby field or forest and collect fresh herbs for your uses.
Wild Crafting Herbs
Herbs have many uses in both the culinary (for the kitchen) and the medicinal fields. Herbs are also used for landscaping to lend beauty and in some cases fragrance to the landscape.
Herbs are also frequently sought out by wild crafters who prefer a freshly gathered herb from one they have just purchased fresh from a local grocer. Some people think that the herb that they have collected in the wild is more potent than the same herb that they have purchased fresh.
Follow these basic guidelines and you will be off to a great start.
1. Do not take from diseased habitats, from the side of roads or the vicinity of factories and other scars on the landscape which may have polluted the earth.
2. Give back instead of just taking, bring some seeds with you and plant them after your have harvested.
3. Do not take more than you can use; others will also be seeking the same plants you do and you will want to leave some for them. You will also want to leave some for the pollinators who help the plants grow and for seed production.
Now wild crafting does not have to be limited to herbs, there is one plant that grows abundantly and all over your front and back lawn and yoru neighbours and so on. That’s right the dandelion, nutritious and versatile.
Now if you spray the lawn with poison to kill dandelions and other plants you call weeds, well don’t pick them for lunch.
Dandelions are good for tea or a coffee substitute, wine and the young leaves are great in salads.
Other Edible weeds
Lamb's quarter (Chenopodium alba, Chenopodium quinoa) grow in urban waste spaces and if the area is not sprayed regularly will provide fodder for yoru family. The young leaves can be used in salads. While the older leaves and tender stalks are cooked.
The leaves can be dried and ground into flour (replaces up to half the flour in any recipe; the seeds dried and cooked in soups, porridge.
Chickweed (Stellaria media), The young leaves and stalks and even the flowers are tasty in salads. You can add the seeds to porridge.
These are only a few examples of the plants that you can find, in town, that help you provide healthy food.
Get to know the empty lots and fields around town; take a trip into the country looking for the bounty that is waiting.
You will need to be able to identify the plants so invest in an edible wild food guide or drop by your public library and borrow one.
It can be useful to get a notebook and keep records of what you saw growing where. If the property is owned by the municipality, ask them if it is a lot they spray. You will also want to know if there was a gas station, for example, on the site, or any other potentially toxic activity took place there.
This is important to know as the plant’s roots could well have sucked up whatever toxic material got into the soil and by eating that plant, you will be transferring that toxin into your body. If the site is clean, harvest away always remembering to leave plants growing for the future and for others to enjoy.
The potential toxic threat in urban centres is the main reason people choose to travel tot eh countryside and forests to gather their wild food. However, with some common sense you can take advantage of the bounty that grows around town.
If wild crafting is an activity that you are interested in undertaking, then educate yourself first, know what you are picking and planning on eating.
a walk in the woods
importance of proper identification
wildcraftng plant id
his page serves to help identify edible plants featured on the website.