Foraging has become more popular in recent years, as restaurants start to be more locally focused and experimental, but with popularity comes some concerns. Over harvesting is a major concern for some edible species, and inaccurate identification can lead to some adverse reactions. Ex: (Just because fiddleheads are ferns, doesn't mean all ferns are edible.) Here are a few guidelines to follow before you try foraging on your own.
1. If you can't positively identify it, don't taste it, and definitely don't eat it.
2. Remember that just because a plant has edible parts, it doesn't mean the whole plant is edible.
3. Some edible parts of the plant may be inedible during some stages of the plants growth.
4. Harvest in healthy places away from roads and polluted waters. And, definitely away from backyards with dogs.
5. Keep the health of your resource in mind. Harvest only 10% of each patch, and pass by small patches all together.
6. Know the rules of foraging when on public lands.
7. When you try a new edible for the first time, always eat it in moderation.
*Guidelines provided by "Abundantly Wild - Collecting and Cooking Wild Edibles in the Upper Midwest by Teresa Marrone
Foraging is a great way to get outside during all times of the year. Whether it's for fiddleheads or ramps in spring, berries and milkweed in summer, or nuts and tubers in autumn; Grab an identification guide and the family, and have a great time outdoors.
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." - Aldo Leopold.