foraging: a beginner’s guide

Foraging Forager Basket Mushrooms Wild Edible Plants How To Guide Sustainability | Quality Unearthed Luxury Glamping Holidays UKBeing green and looking after our planet is something we passionately believe in here at Quality Unearthed.

We encourage people enjoying our luxurious glamping holidays to ‘leave no trace’ – just as Michael Eavis does at Worthy Farm each time Glastonbury Festival rolls around.

But even making sure to leave no waste behind you isn’t the greenest way to exist. In fact, it’s actually greener to leave some trace, as long as that trace is signs you’ve been foraging.

Foraging is the greenest of ways to sustain yourself, provided it’s done right. Obviously overharvesting any environment is bad, but if you forage in the right way you can find food in a totally natural and green way.

We’re realistic enough to know you won’t forage an entire meal, but you can get some delicious elements of any dish from the world around you.

So we thought we’d compile a miniature forager’s guide to help you be as green as possible.

1 Learn what’s what.

It’s important to be familiar with the wide variety of weeds, herbs, bushes and trees you can find in the Great British countryside, or indeed, the plants which grow in any environment you plan to forage within.

It’s important to know what is toxic so as to avoid making yourself or others ill, as well as to know what uses there may be for any given plant.

It’s also good to know what other species may be reliant upon a particular potential foodstuff – as taking too much of it could leave the localised eco-system with a deficiency in one part of the food chain which can have a knock on effect.

2 Don’t be greedy!

We’ve already made the point you shouldn’t overharvest an area or a certain food stuff – and that’s particularly true of anything which may be an endangered plant species. Instead of harvesting any rare plants you may come across, why not sow their seeds in the wild?

3 Avoid contaminated areas.

Goods growing in a particular area may look incredibly tempting, but you should never harvest them if they’re in an area which is subject to pollution.

That means roadsides, areas near to heavy industry or adjacent to farms where there is heavy spraying of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are all out of the question. Anything growing in areas like this could contain dangerous chemicals which could be harmful to your health.

4 Stay away from nature reserves.

This is an obvious point, and probably one we needn’t make, but nonetheless it is worth making.

Nature reserves are areas set up to protect wild species, so give them their space and leave them to grow in peace!

5 Give back.

Rather than just harvesting the goods on offer from Mother Nature, why not take a little time to give something back every once in a while?

Casting the seeds of native species to the winds is a good way of doing this, as well as sustaining the crops available.

6 Leave no trace.

When out and about hunting for food, make sure never to leave any litter behind. Again, an obvious point but one worth making!

7 Know when to harvest.

Knowing when to pick certain food stuffs is key for any forager. Any weeds or shrubs should be harvested before they flower for maximum nutritional content. Roots are best in autumn, after their foliage has faded.

Generally speaking you should begin harvesting when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. Plants should be picked early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day.


Related Categories

Here's a list of other related categories that you may wish to discover.

EcoLiving Environment Sustainability Things to do