Forage For Food

Forage for Food, find wild edible plants


Forage for Food figsCelebrity chefs do it.

Yet once upon a time, you were a confirmed “hippie” if you did this.

Certainly ‘different’, if not downright weird.

I’m talking about going off to forage for food.  As in, walking around and finding food for free.  Finding wild edible plants to eat.

Nowadays, though, if not quite mainstream, it has become a lot more popular.  Jamie Oliver, Ed Baines, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and many other celebrity chefs promote wild edible plants.

Michelin-starred chefs forage for food for their restaurants, knowing that wild edible plants add wonderful natural flavour to their dishes.

Why Forage for Food?

After all, we’ve got supermarkets!

Indeed we do, and very convenient they are too!

Most people who forage for food use what they collect as an ‘extra’.  They still use supermarkets and farmer’s markets.

(One woman blogged on CultureChange about living on only foraged food in Portland, Oregon.  That’s way too difficult for me, but I really admire her!).

But imagine being able to collect fresh herbs and spices from green spaces, and wild greens that make colourful salads.  Some foragers forage for flowers and plants to make tea.

But I Live in a City!

You might be surprised by just how many wild edible plants there are to find and eat, even in a city.  In every park and along every walkway you’ll find food.  You’ll find fruit in season in parking lot green zones or hanging over someone’s fence.  And the other benefit is that you become more familiar with your city or town.  In a surprisingly intimate way.

Isn’t it Dangerous?

It can be.  At first, you won’t necessarily know what’s safe to eat and what isn’t.  That’s why most people start off by reading about it, or by attending foraging classes and walks.  You don’t want to eat the wrong thing!  Because it’s now so popular, there are plenty of people who will gladly teach you how to identify edibles, as well as how to avoid dangers such as pesticide use.  (I’ll list some resources for this).

Many people think gathering anything that doesn’t look like the food we buy at the grocery store is a bit on the risky side.

But as the celebrity chefs and foragers tell us – food is everywhere.

I think perhaps we’ve just forgotten how to find it.

Next: how to avoid picking the wrong stuff

  • Mil says:

    I’ve been foraging for a while now. We first went on a walk with a wild food expert, and then used books. We don’t pick from areas close to roads or where a dog may have used the bathroom! 🙂

    We’re careful, and nothing bad has happened to us yet!

  • Covert Hypnosis Online says:

    A friend of mine used to take me foraging, I’d forgotten how much fun it was.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Be Well.

  • […] Should we Forage for food when there are supermarkets? Wild Plants that are edible – How to stay safe while foraging […]

  • Kevin Hogan says:

    Definitely brings us back to our roots, and probably a lot healthier too!

    Mark Hogan

  • Bryan says:

    It sound like it might be fun…but as you said I would prob be scared…

  • […] my previous post on why it’s good to forage for food, I noted that celebrity chefs had made it popular again, and that even in big cities it’s […]

  • Lisa McLellan says:

    I’ve never heard of this, but it does sound interesting. I have lots of “stuff” growing in my yard (especially when we don’t mow the lawn for a while!) and in the woods and down at the bog behind us. There is a cranberry bog down behind us that is no longer worked, but many cranberries still grow wild down there. Maybe I’ll pick some and try making my own cranberry sauce! I’ve heard it isn’t that difficult.

    Lisa McLellan
    Child Care Expert

    • Clare Delaney says:

      Hi Lisa, my goodness, you are SO lucky having so much so close to you! And the cranberry bog – wow – cranberries are Superfoods, that is so wonderful to have them growing wild! People pay good money for cranberries!

  • Michael D Walker says:

    Your post today reminded me of when I was a young boy and my grandfather would take me for walks out into the countryside where we would pick wild raspberries and blackberries.


  • ShaneAric says:

    Many of the holistics in the vitamin shoppe come from things right in your own yard. Cedar Berry if I remember detoxes the pancreas.

  • Creating a mini herb garden by your kitchen windowsill is a good alternative to foraging in the wild. It’s safer and much more convenient especially if you’re living in the city.

  • Dan says:

    does it foraging count if you go to your neighbors yard when they are not home? 😉

  • Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor says:

    Was your “once upon a time” reference to searching the forest for those little red mushrooms with the white dots on them?

    Lyle R. Johnson

  • Sonya Lenzo says:

    Very interesting subject. I am right now planting my herb garden, using many tips I have learned from your blog…and now I can supplement with foraged food!
    Sonya Lenzo

    • Clare Delaney says:

      Delighted you’re planting a herb garden – and that my blog has helped!! I bet there’s loads to forage in Costa Rica!

  • Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. says:

    We have classes in my town where they will show you how to collect edible food. Nettles is a common one that people get and make soup out of.

    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy

    • Clare Delaney says:

      That’s excellent Wendy! Yes, I know people who love nettle soup, and I believe it’s very good for you. I’ve got lots of nettles available to me locally but somehow, out of all the things I can forage, nettles aren’t one of them – got stung too often as a kid I suspect, rummaging in the hedgerows of rural Ireland for blackberries!

  • Body Language: Real Time Application says:

    I use wild edibles when I go to Bulgaria. My house is a the foot of Vitosha mountain and I pick up “глухарче” – translates Taraxacum for tea and salad.

  • Suzanne Laramore says:

    Great post. One other thing, introduce wild edibles slowly into the diet. They could have a laxative effect. Day Lily buds, are one example but very tasty in a salad.