Want to become a forager? A forager is someone (or animal) who searches for wild food sources such as fungi, nuts, berries, and/or plants. Whether you're new to foraging or a seasoned veteran, this guide will serve as a primer or refresher to everything you've ever wanted to know about foraging! Let's learn about the various types of edible plants!
Chapter 1: The Various Types of Edible Plants
There are many people who explore outside often and like to prepare themselves for any situation that comes to them. If you are a camper or someone caught up in a not so great situation, being about to prep food that you can nutritionally survive on is very valuable. There have been studies that show that there are no adverse effect to anyone ingesting edible plants, but, with that said, there may be people who are allergic to certain plants or herbs. Before you gather a nice supply of plants, it is important you test them out to ensure you can ingest them without having, for example, a hypersensitive reaction. All you would have to do is sample a tiny piece of the plant you pick while it is raw and bite at it – no swallowing. Keeping it in your mouth is enough for your taste buds to test the flavor out and for your body to pick up trace contents that may or may not work well with you. Your body will be able to tell you if you have a negative reaction to a plant or not. If you still feel fine, then you can go ahead and swallow a small sample. Most plants can be eaten as is after you've cleaned them, but denser, bitter plants require they be cooked before consuming. After you finished trying the plant, make sure to continue to monitor yourself for about 1-4 hours. If eating an unknown plant is not your preferred style, you could instead apply it to your lips or your bare skin with a light amount if friction. If there is no reaction to the plants, go ahead and eat it.
1.1 – Setting Yourself Up For Success
There are people that have grown up not eating their vegetables, let alone be exposed to them. While you are young, I am sure most of you had no issue finishing starchy meals such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti. Nor might there have been any complaints about gobbling down your proteins, like beef or chicken. Of course, there never would have been a complaint from you when it comes to eating sweets either. You would have it all day if you could, easy. Unconsciously, most people accept this kind of food when they see it in their diet. However, there is an unconscious, general dislike or apprehension that people have associated with eating vegetables. No one taught us to dislike our vegetables. If anything we were encouraged, even forced to chow them down. Why is there such a dislike towards veggies? When it comes down to it, it is not the greens that are the issue. It is a specific attribute that is not very appealing. There are people who do not enjoy eating foods that are raw, whereas there are others who are not fond of cooking their vegetables.
When you cook veggies, the nutritional value goes down, so many people know to not overcook them. Some people do not eat foods if they cannot tolerate the smell, such as asparagu, Brussels sprouts, onions, or chives. There are also strong tasting plants others will not eat like mustard greens, asparagus and celery. There are also spicy tasting foods, like jalapenos or oregano, which some people would not allow to brush even their mouth. While you are foraging for foods, you will want to think about which flavors you enjoy and which turn you off. Though you can still try out all the plants you want as a test to see if you would like them, most people prefer to pick plants with attributes they like in food. If you are not a fan of bitter flavors, for example, you probably would not like eating foods like eggplants and dandelion greens. For those who like the bitterness in their veggies, or for those willing to tolerate it, the taste is a good thing. Research has shown that the taste is actually from an antioxidant. It is a powerful detoxifying substance with antiseptic and anti-parasitic qualities as well. Some people do not like tasting sour foods; I’m guilty of this one. Acidic or fermented foods like limes and pickles are some examples. When used in moderation, sourness assists digestion, circulation, elimination and energizes the body. Many people who are from Asia or India enjoy adding sour juices to their dishes. Sour tasting foods is a love or hate kind of thing. However, if you or whomever you may be foraging for, are the type who does enjoy spicy, strong tasting, really sweet, or bitter flavors; you would want to go crazy with them. The texture of certain foods can also be a turn-off for some. Astringent is a mix of both flavor and texture. It is in legumes like lentils; it is in fruits such as cranberries; it is in vegetables such as artichoke; it is in spices such as turmeric. Most describe the taste as having a great cooling effect. It also has a dry, chalky effect on the tongue. You will be surprised at how many new foods you will add to your diet
The Foragers Bible
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