How To Get Free Food
You already own it. It’s likely taking over an unused patch of your yard.
Weeds. Rather, edible, scrumptious green tidbits, chock full of nutrients, and kissed by the sun.
Foraging can be a fun and exciting activity in the spring, and since we’re stuck at home, now’s a great time to explore your yard or local wooded area for things to eat.
My favorite foraged plant is wood sorrel. It looks similar to clover but the leaves are on taller stalks, and small yellow flowers will bloom. Wood sorrel tastes a bit citrus-y and is light and refreshing. It is delicious to pick and chew on straight from the garden, or can be torn and added to greens salads with a balsamic vinaigrette. It can be found in shaded and sunny areas growing in clumps, and is a great source of vitamins C and beta-carotene.
See my recipe using wood sorrel.
Dandelion is another easily-come-by favorite. The leaves and yellow flowers can be thrown into salads, while the taproot can be washed and boiled as a vegetable into into a tea. The leaves are bitter, which supports bile flow, while the roots support liver function.
Finally, another delicious, mild flavored weed is chickweed. This is abundant this time of year, and you will see it sprawling from the main center stem. It’s nice eaten straight from the ground or in a salad, can replace watercress to top a soup, or can be lightly sautéed. It’s a great source of vitamin K, iron, beta-carotene, and potassium. (Just don’t eat too much of it at once or you might end up with a slight tummy ache…)
Be sure to harvest from herbicide- and pesticide-free areas.
I don’t recommend foraging for mushrooms without a trained guide to teach you, as many can be toxic.
My favorite foraging resource is Foraging Texas. Visit here for plant guides with photos.
Fun for kids! See how many species of wild edibles you have growing in your yard or community green space, and then do a taste test.
What are some edibles you like to forage for? Leave comments below!
The Herbarium. (2020). Chickweed. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/3055
The Herbarium. (2020). Dandelion. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1009
Link, R. (2020). Sorrel: Leafy greens that fight everything from canker sores to cancer. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/nutrition/sorrel/