Upper Michigan wild blue berries

Benefits of wild food

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Wild food has so many benefits if you know where to look and some basics in knowing what exactly to look for. Foraging is less common but I do notice more people mentioning finding real food in their own back yard. Okay maybe not backyard, but the fact is more people are seeing the benefits of wild food.

I remember reading a national geographic article about the potatoes in Peru having such variety that a balanced diet could come from potatoes alone! Now, in the US and even in Peru, very few varieties are still found and selective breeding is causing fewer nutrients in foods.

Wild blueberries are common where I am from originally. Taking my daughter to pick blueberries for the first time was wonderful! First, when we told her she was going to get blueberries, she fell asleep on the way there. My husband woke her (she was a toddler) and she said “But where’s the store?!”

These statements show how important it is to connect people with real food!

 

fresh blueberries
Fresh blueberries, straight from the undergrowth!

Basics of foraging

  • Know your area, if you don’t know it, talk to locals
  • Many flowers are edible, including dandelions, roses and violets
  • If the area is populated, consider run off from pesticides when you forage
  • Tree fruits often are ornamental in many cities – what can you pick to eat?
  • Mint, rosemary and more often grow wildly
  • Wild nuts and more!

Of course consider property laws and be kind :) Never take more than you’ll use and don’t “clean out” an area!

Food today is bred and even GMO advocates will say that the food is fine, but USDA indicates that they will breed a plant and spend no time looking at actual nutritional make-up. So, how do we know which phytonutrients we are getting? How can we be sure that the food in the supermarket has the nutrients we need anyway?

We also know that there’s been decline in nutritional value in the past. Taking vitamins with aspertame, artificial colors and worse is not a good option either.

Wild food hasn’t been selectively bred and in undisturbed areas, one can enjoy the food of the past, so to speak.

Foraging wild berries
checking out the raspberries behind her great uncle’s camp. Family land, undisturbed offers bright, but small (not selectively bred!) and yummy berries!

Wild food
How’s that wild blue berry for you? Two years old is plenty old enough to connect with food!

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16 comments

    1. that’s awesome Shannon! I know I’ve watched shows that show more about freegans and some who eat just off fallen food — but for many that is too extreme :)

       
  1. I don’t know of any areas near me where we could do this, but I’d really like to! It’s so hard to trust the food you buy at the supermarket these days.

     
    1. Even the desert has some places for this! you can start with a small family farm that allows picking and move from there. talking to local farmers sometimes you can find places for foraging. Good luck!

       
  2. Wow, so many amazing ideas, this is something i would love to do. I think its time to send the boys out to find us so wild food, although in the uk this maybe limited in comparison to the us. Thank you Rachel x

     
  3. Not only are the flower of dandelions edible but the greens are also. Cut them at ground level when they are young and you would fix them just as you would any other green such as turnip greens or spinach. They are one of my favorite greens.

     
  4. This is so cool! I think it would be so amazing to take my kids out to pick some fresh fruit and veggies :) What a treat it would be to have a whole basket of blueberries to share with my children. Also, I had NO idea that most flowers were edible!

     
  5. I grew up on countryside and remember eating wild food every summer and autumn. Picking wild strawberries, raspberries, muchrooms, blueberries, nuts etc. Oh, how I miss it!

     
  6. Our family always love to go for apple or strawberry picking every season and we all have such fun during the time.. I can totally relate to this post. Its very important to maintain your relationship with mother nature :)

     

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