National Vegetarian Week 2016 is taking place all through this week and in case you didn’t know much about the event, it incorporates a celebration of stories and traditions behind the food we eat, as well as sharing recipes and other delicious vegetarian-inspired ideas.
So instead of going mainstream and simply sharing recipes, we thought we would give you a chance to live life on the veg and enjoy our top tips and advice for foraging. Why? Because it’s a great activity to get involved when you’re at one of our glamping UK abodes and it also gives you the chance to learn a new skill while taking in the amazing nature and wildlife-rich surroundings while doing so.
So here you go, get stuck these tips and see how you get on:
Before you do anything that has an element of risk to it, you should do some research. So kick off your foraging exploration days with some well-researched plants you have listed to ensure they are totally edible and safe to consume/handle. You need to be able to clearly distinguish the plants and have no doubt whatsoever.
If you’re looking to go foraging somewhere unfamiliar, it’s important to obtain permission first.
If you are heading off for a solo forage while the rest of your friends/family do something else, it’s worth letting them know the areas or direction you’re setting off to. It’s also a good idea to let people know what time you expect to be back, just in case.
Keep it natural
The optimum places for you to discover tasty forage food are those that you know haven’t been sprayed, for example, by pesticides, herbicides, and obvious animal waste, etc. If you know a good area to head that isn’t spray treated, that’s great, but if it’s a new area, revert to the first point and do a little research or ask a local first.
As we know, plants absorb exhaust fumes and other non-desirables, which are bound to lessen the appeal of the wild food, and reduce its quality and taste. So if you find yourself foraging not far from a road (obviously country lanes aren’t quite the same), you should aim for plants that are a minimum of 150 feet away from a road.
It’s essential that you do not overharvest the wild plants. The general rule of thumb to live by is to take no more than a third of a plant. Make sure you are only collecting plants that are in relative abundance. If you can only see one or two plants, it’s advised that you refrain from harvesting at all. It’s really important to have sustainability in mind when you are foraging.
If you’re about to tuck into something that is new to you, go steady to begin with. We know how exciting it can be to munch on some freshly sourced tasty wild food, but you need to only eat small amounts so as to allow your system time for adjustment with the new food.
Find a friend
This is generally a point for people who are foraging about at home and not while holidaying in the countryside, or in a place that is plentiful in wildlife and nature. The idea is that if you are with a friend you can either double check with them on particular plants and gain confidence as you learn more. Ideally you can buddy up with a friend who has some experience to share in terms of foraging, that way you will learn quicker and possibly enjoy your time exploring more.
We’ve saved the most important point for last. It’s paramount that you are able to correctly identify each plant you opt to harvest in order to be completely certain that it’s edible for humans. If you’re ever in doubt, give it a miss, do some research and go back to it once you can be sure, it’s never worth the risk, especially if you’re enjoying a glamping break and you’re only there for a week!