Foraging is so great for so many reasons. Aside from it being a way to source natural foods and medicines, it helps one better connect with, and learn about nature. Although fun and great learning opportunity, foraging needs to be taken seriously as ingesting – or sometimes simply touching certain plants – can be toxic, or even deadly. Being a person new to the foraging world myself, I’ve compiled some tools and resources I’ve found to be helpful for harvesting – and knowing how to cook – wild foods.
As Dr. Seuss once said ““The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Books and pocket guides for edible and medicinal plants can be found in various outdoor stores, bookstores, online… you name it. Grab a book or pocket guide that suits the region you live in – or the place you tend to explore in – to get the most useful information.
Pros to Pocket Guides
Cons to Pocket Guides
Pros to Guide and Informational Books
Cons to Guide Books
Taking a class is the best way to learn hands on! Take some time to look up foraging based classes and tours in your local area. From foraging hikes and walks, to cooking classes, to medicinal tours – there’s something for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of foraging.
Being able to identify plants is a key step towards becoming a knowledgeable forager! There’s some great apps out there that are fantastic tool to support your learning. These 3 apps are my go-to’s:
This app is fantastic for those with some plant knowledge in their backpocket. Although it does provide some identification guidance, the primary purpose is to share your findings for others to discover on an interactive map. Likewise, you can see what others share as well! Great for building and sharing knowledge, and discovering the environment around you. You can even search a plant species and discover locations other users have found them. You can use this app without wifi or cell service, so it's equally a great tool for remote locations.
Whether wild or domestic, this app helps identify plants by simply taking a picture. I typically like to use this one in conjunction with iNaturalist to cross reference results for the most accuracy. I must say, this one is especially useful for those looking to grow a garden as it provides care guides and can even identify diseases in plants. Although you can't use this app without service, you can take photos of a plant and scan it through once you're back in service.
Okay, so you still need strong and confident knowledge before foraging mushrooms, but this app is awesome for mushroom identification! This app stands out from others because it’s interactive and actually helps you learn how to identify mushrooms by key characteristics. The in-depth info about each fungi is also impressive.
There are tons of influencers and YouTube channels out there dedicated to foraging. The following are ones I like to tune into – but make sure to find one that focuses on foraging in your climate zone!
Whether you find a group through a bulletin post, Facebook, or an internet search, foraging groups exist all over the place! Joining one is a great way to not only learn about foraging from others, but provides a place to ask questions and build relationships with like-minded people. Nothing better than finding a friend to go foraging with!
We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.