What if I were to tell you that I often send my children outside to gather weeds for our meals? Short of thinking I have lost my mind, you might be curious to learn what would prompt me to pick weeds, then add them to our family’s culinary delights!
“Foraging.” When I first heard the term, I imagined shipwrecked victims struggling to survive somewhere on a desert island. Little did I know I was about to become enlightened on a not-so-new-to-some-but-new-to-me homesteading experience.
“Foraging” can be defined as, “searching for food and provisions in the wild.”
Many people are aware of the ongoing food crisis we have in the United States.
GMO’s, toxic sprays and other contaminants have found their way into our food supply, for which many of us are bearing various ill-health effects. In recent years, there has been a strong trend toward more homegrown foods, natural healing and living methods, and a desire to cleanse the body by eating and drinking things that help strengthen the immune system and prevent some of the more commonly acquired adverse health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and cancer. What some people do not know is that many of those nutrient-rich, healthy foods can be found growing naturally in their own backyards!
Readers should beware that it is never safe to simply go outside, pick a random weed and eat it. When foraging, one always wants to carefully research ahead of time to avoid the potential dangers involved where look-alike plants or toxic weeds are concerned. Though two berries may appear very similar on the vine, one may be a treasure trove of good health while eating the other could land you in an emergency room. You also do not want to forage anywhere that the ground or plants have been chemically sprayed. There are many websites, books and experts out there to help you learn what you need to know before you begin reaping the benefits of “nature’s delicatessen.”
Dandelion fritters, anyone? How about a lambsquarter and violets salad? These are three of the many plants that my own family has been foraging from our yard for several years, now. We also love when, in a pinch, we can run down to our
creek and harvest some wild garlic, which serves as a great substitute when we are out of chives! Lunch time is great fun when we take berries off the wild vines in our woods and turn them into delicious-tasting smoothies!
Homeschoolers can add to the foraging experience by turning it into some great science lessons. Kids can keep a foraging journal, sketching each edible plant as it is discovered, labeling its Latin derivative and writing a few lines about its life-cycle, and how it can be used to benefit the diet.
Foraging allows you to supplement your family’s diet for free! It’s a fun, interesting, adventurous way to boost everyone’s good health, save money and make use of the God-given foods that are growing all around you. So, before you make your next grocery list, why not take a stroll around the yard and see what tasty products you might have growing in your own “produce aisle?”
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.