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Foraging — Nature’s Pantry

By Fredrica Syren:

Spring is here, and it comes with lots of sun and nature’s awakening after its long winter slumber. Now is also the beginning of foraging season, something my family truly enjoys. Foraging is the process of gathering wild food resources such as plants, flowers, berries, nuts, seeds, mushrooms and herbs that grow naturally. There are a variety of wild foods that grow seasonally. Last week you could read about edible flowers; most of them do grow wild. These foraging items can be used as cooking ingredients as well as for herbal remedies. foragin dandelions

Of course, forests and countrysides are naturally rich in wild plant-based foods. But foraging doesn’t have to involve journeying for hours to find untouched ingredients growing in the countryside. The fact is that edible weeds and plants are right under our noses in our cities’ parks, bike trails and creeks. Actually, many “weeds” that people spend lots of effort to fight and get rid of are also very edible and a valuable resource not to be discarded. The most common weed is, of course, the dandelion. Not only are the dandelion leaves very nutritional, but also are actually a great source of Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper; and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. Furthermore, the flower is edible and can be use to make tea, herbal remedies or (my kid’s favorite) syrup.

So, what are the basic rules for foraging? The very first one, of course, is not to eat anything if you are not sure of it. Yes, there are plenty of inedible plants, flowers, mushrooms and berries, even some very poisonous plants; so EAT ONLY the ones you are 100% sure of.nettle

The second rule is to pick these items only in a clean area located far from a road. In order to be 100% sure they are clean, I would also include avoiding areas where dogs and other animals tend to do their “business.” Don’t pick from the side of the road or from places where plants can be sprayed with pesticides.

Third, take only as much as needed and always strive to leave as little a mark on nature as possible. Damage to trees and theft of entire plants should indeed be prevented.

Sweden, where we live, is very naturally rich in wild resources from April until November. Our kids truly enjoy the process of gathering their food and have so much pride in it all. I think it’s one the best ways to show how we need to take care of nature and our planet because she provides all this wonderful food for us.

Here is a video from my youtube.com channel talking about dandelions.

Here is a list of the things we forage for in Sweden.

Nettledandelion leaves

Dandelion

Elderberries

Hazelnuts

Raspberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberry leaves

Rosehipsblueberries

Pine spruce

Ramps

Apples

Plums

Once you start looking and asking, you will find all kinds of fun and edible resources in your area. Foraging allows people to reconnect with both food and the environment. Remember: foraging is healthy, sustainable and local.

To read more about foraging and wild grown crops check these out:

Mushroom foraging

Snow Foraging

Foraging

Eat Your Weeds

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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