If you’re a family doing prepping right you know it’s not just about buying a bunch of junk. Families who are prepping right know how to use prepping as an opportunity to teach their children valuable skills and spend quality time with their families.
One great opportunity for you to spend more time with your family while teaching your kids some valuable survival skills is looking for wild edibles. The fall is the absolute perfect time for this, with all kinds of fall edibles around for you to harvest and feast on with your kids.
This is the opposite of a harried trip to the grocery store with your kids to run through the aisles and get in and out as quickly as possible. Harvesting wild edibles together gives you guys time to slowly walk around, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and build experiences together.
Getting Started With Foraging
So much of what you can forage is reliant upon where you live. For example, if you live in Southern California you can forage for wild oranges and lemons… if you live in Maine, not so much.
So to get started with wild foraging there are two pieces of homework that you need to do.
First, you should get a book on foraging in general from your local library. Sam Thayer and Pascal Baudur are widely renowned as experts on the subject of what lies out there in the wild that you can safely eat. The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora is another excellent resource for getting your feet wet on this topic.
Then you need to do a little research about which of these actually grow in the area where you live. If you can find (and can afford) a guide that can help you get started, but it’s by no means necessary.
Thinking Beyond The Berry
Wild berries are obviously a favorite and for good reason – they’re absolutely delicious. It’s important to know the difference between the wild ones you can eat and the ones you can’t, but once you know which is which, they’re hard to unsee.
With that said, there’s so much more you can pick out of the wild to eat than just fruits and berries.
Many weeds have medicinal properties and having a small stock of these can help you to avoid a trip to the pharmacy if someone is feeling under the weather. Nuts, including the humble acorn are edible. While many people think about local leafy greens, there are plenty of roots and tubers growing from coast to coast that are likewise edible. You can even eat local pollen and save tons of money you might otherwise spend at the farmer’s market for the same thing.
Unusual Foraging Choices
Some choices for foraging are far more esoteric than others. In fact, you’d look at some of these and automatically think you couldn’t eat it… when in fact not only an you, but it’s delicious.
Mushrooms are an obvious example here, but one frankly can’t be too cautious about eating wild mushrooms Even expert mycologists have made the wrong choice and with fatal consequences.
Many forms of lichen growing in the forest make for delicious seasonings provided that you know how to cook with them. There’s even plants growing in both freshwater and saltwater that can be harvested for great effect.
Foraging is a great way to spend a few hours with the family while also expanding your horizons when it comes to what you can eat. Remember never to eat anything you’re not absolutely sure is safe… but also remember that includes a lot of plants you walk by every day without giving a second look.
Whether you end up having to live off of chicken of the woods or not, you’ll be building lasting memories with your family to last a lifetime.