We’re big fans of foraging. It helps us learn more about the world around us and makes us more self-reliant. We believe everyone should have some sort of foraging knowledge and should desire to learn more about the plants around us. Here are our top foraging tips to help you get started.
Top rules for foraging:
- When in doubt, don’t eat it. Never eat something if you’re not completely confident you know what it is. If you’re hesitant at all, it’s better to avoid it altogether than to risk it. Just add it to your list of things to research later!
- Familiarize yourself with the area. Make sure you know any potential threats in the area where you’re foraging, such as sources of water, changes in elevation, and native animal species. This can also help give you some insight into what types of plants to expect around you.
- Always have a backup. The better you know your location, the easier this one will be. Always have some sort of backup if you can’t find anything else to eat. For example, grasses are typically good backups but make sure you know the types of grasses and where they grow around you.
- Never let your guard down. While foraging, you can easily get distracted by paying so much attention to plants around you that you lose your way back or miss signs of potential threats. Be aware of your surroundings, even when you’re focusing on these plants.
- Always make someone aware of where you are. Before you leave, let someone know exactly where you’ll be starting your hunt as well as a time when you plan to be back. In case things go sideways, someone will know when and where to begin looking for you.
- Carry remedies with you. Always bring water and a first aid kit including a disinfectant when you’re foraging. If you come in contact with a poisonous plant, you’ll want to take steps toward remedying it as soon as you can (see below for more remedy tips).
What to avoid while foraging:
- Anything with milky or discolored sap
- Plants with fine hairs or thorns
- Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
- Anything with a bitter or soapy taste (spit it out!)
- A scent resembling that of almonds
- Anything with three leaves (leaves of three, let it be!)
What to do if you’ve come in contact with a poisonous plant:
- Try to determine which plant caused it. This will help you narrow down the possibilities of the cause of reaction, which will then lead you to any specific remedies. Trace your steps to see any potential dangers and to help determine the cause.
- Clean the contact site. Rinse with water and disinfectant. Be mindful to avoid spreading the irritant to other parts of your body or anyone who might be with you.
- Know when to seek medical attention. Most plants will simply cause a rash or some pain. However, if you begin experiencing effects on your breathing or heart rate, or if you notice more than just a rash on the afflicted area, contact a medical professional for further treatment and diagnosis.
- Document it. Foraging is all about furthering your knowledge through experience. While we hope you never come in contact with a poisonous plant, the reality is that this is possible, even for the best foragers around. If you notice any type of reaction, large or small, take note of it. Illustrate or photograph the plants you came in contact with and take note of the effects you notice. This will only prove to be a learning tool and will help you later on.
Have any more tips for foraging? We’d love to hear them. Just head to our Facebook page and join in on the conversation.