You may not think of going to your backyard or the forest for ingredients for your dinner, but the wild edible plants that you can forage are nutritious and taste quite good. Foraging is becoming more popular, especially since some celebrities have started to forage for wild plants. You may wonder why you should even bother foraging. The wild edible plants that you can find will expand the variety of food you eat, but more importantly some are vastly more nutritious than anything you can find in the grocery store. If you are interested in wild edible plants, this list will give you an idea of some of the plants you can forage.
Borage is one of the wild edible plants that you can forage, and it may become your favorite new addition to salads. It has pretty blue edible flowers that are star shaped. They actually taste similar to cucumbers! You can also eat the stems and leaves, but they become prickly when they are older.
Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed that grows close to the ground, but instead of killing it you may want to consider eating it. Creeping Charlie is a member of the mint family, and it has purple-blue flowers and heart shaped leaves. The young leaves are high in vitamin C and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are mildly bitter, so you may want to start with just a few.
Dandelions are weeds that everyone wants to get rid of, but they are very healthy. Because of their health properties and popularity, you can actually purchase the leaves in the grocery store! Instead of paying money for dandelion leaves, consider using those in your backyard - just be sure they haven’t been sprayed with weed killer. Dandelion leaves are bitter, but one cup of raw leaves has 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin A and 535 percent of the RDA for vitamin K!
Known as a purifying plant because it restores nutrients to the soil, lamb’s quarters have a taste similar to Swiss chard. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and they are mineral rich. If you do forage for lamb’s quarters be sure you don’t pick them from a large patch of lamb’s quarters. Since they do purify the soil, they spread where soil has been contaminated.
Whether you know it or not, you have probably seen purslane hundreds of times. Purslane is a succulent weed that thrives in poor soil, and it can often be found growing in cracks in the sidewalk. Purslane is a very rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, it is the best plant source of omega 3! The stems, leaves, and flowers of purslane can all be eaten.
Shepherd’s purse is one of the first greens to appear in the spring. It is in the mustard family, and the young leaves are the tastiest. They can be eaten raw or cooked and they are quite good in salads. You can also dry the root and use it as a substitute for ginger!
Toothwort is common in wooded areas in North America. It has pretty flowers that are white or light purple, and the leaves have jagged edges. The leaves the roots are edible. Interestingly, the root can be used as a substitute for horseradish because of its heat.
Foraging for wild plants is a wonderful way to bring nutritious foods into your diet. Because you have to be careful when foraging for plants, I recommend you find a foraging class in your area if you are interested in foraging. You will learn everything you need to know about finding and eating wild plants. Are you interested in foraging for wild plants?