When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do in summer was pick blackberries. They grew wild along fence lines at every home we lived in. It was a coveted treat that only summer could deliver to my back yard. But berries are just the tip of the iceberg. So many delicious edible plants grow all around us!
What I thought of as going out and picking a few berries is now called foraging and there is so much more than berries available to supplement your table. Why not take a moment to pick a few foraged goodies and add some fresh, natural produce to your diet without spending a penny!
1. It’s a free, fun activity. Grab a bucket, basket, or colander, and go picking. Take your kids and make it a family event or grab your significant other for walk and a snack.
2. You’ll get some exercise. Sure you can park a bit farther away from the front door at the grocery store or you can get outside and pick a pint of berries and burn a few more calories.
3. Produce picked by hand tastes better. It’s not because you have the satisfaction as the person who picked it. It tastes better because it was allowed to ripen outside under the sun. Many kind of store bought produce are picked before they are ripe and are allowed to ripen on their journey to your supermarket. Because their access to nutrients, water, and sunlight are interrupted, these produce have significantly less flavor.
4. Your carbon footprint will be lower. No one had to genetically engineer, fertilize, spray pesticide on, ship, package, or cool your foraged produce! Less fuel, fertilizer, water, and energy means less of a carbon footprint!
5. Enjoy more variety that can’t be found in stores. Have you heard of wine berries? Sorrel? Garlic mustard? No? It’s because they’re not found in stores. To enjoy these treats you have to pick them yourself!
6. Supplement you diet with healthier, organic food at a lower cost. Just like flavor, nutrients are higher in freshly picked produce than in store bought produce. The longer produce sits on the shelf and the sooner it’s picked before ripeness, the more nutrients it loses.
7. Get rid of invasive plants. If you visit the US Department of Agriculture’s Invasive Plants website you’ll see a list of invasive species of plants the US Dept of Ag would love help in eradicating. You can do your part by eating them. A great example is dandelions. Do you hate finding them in your yard? Instead of spraying herbicide on them, try eating them. Every part of the dandelion is edible, even the root.
Have you ever picked berries or harvested wild greens? Do you consider it foraging? Let me know in the comments!
I’ve linked this post up with Mama Kautz this week. Click on the picture to see more great prepping, homesteading, frugal and natural living posts.