One Simple Change: Try Foraging (Plus Dandelion Salad)

Hey everyone! I know it’s only been a few days since my last One Simple Change post, but that one was “late” and this one is “on time”, so there you go. I do try always to post something for One Simple Change on Fridays, but sometimes life gets in the way…I am sure you can relate :)

With Earth Day right around the corner, and with this violet jelly still fresh on my mind and in my belly, I want to talk about foraging!

I have a longstanding interest in herbal medicine and edible wild plants, so foraging is something I really love to do. That said, while I own a few foraging books and I’ve attended numerous foraging walks over the years, I am by no means an expert. So what I want to do with this post is try to inspire you to get interested in foraging, too, and highlight a few ways you can learn more.

Why forage for wild foods? Well first of all, it’s fun and a great way to get out and experience nature. Also: foraged foods are generally very high in nutrients…and they’re free. A couple of cautions, though: it’s very important to not just eat anything you find in the wild. There are a lot of poisonous plants out there, and many of them look like plants that you can eat. So buy some guide books, and/or forage with a knowledgeable person until you are really comfortable with what you’re doing. Please.

Here are some of my favorite wild plants…ones I think everyone should know how to identify. They are pretty common, and very nutritious:

Stinging Nettles
Purslane
Violet
Chickweed
Dandelion
Daylily
Lamb’s quarters
White and red clover

If you have no idea where to begin when it comes to foraging, here are some books I suggest for learning about wild foods:

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places
The Wild Vegetarian Cookbook
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure Series, Book 1)
Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
The Everything Guide to Foraging: Identifying, Harvesting, and Cooking Nature’s Wild Fruits and Vegetables (Everything Series)
There’s also an excellent app called Wild Edibles with Wildman Steve Brill…I have it on my iPhone.

Here are some blogs that post excellent content about foraged/wild foods:

Hunger and Thirst for Life
Fat of the Land
Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook

And here are some of the posts I’ve done in the past that feature foraged foods:

Black Barley, Purslane, and Watermelon Salad
Greek Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Purslane
Dandelion Greens with Ramps, Bacon, and Blue Cheese
Spinach and Violet Salad with Blue Cheese
Spinach and Blood Orange Salad with Violets
Pan Crisped Greens with Eggs and Sweet Potato
Spring Vegetable Curry with Ramp Cilantro Chutney
Violet jelly

I’ll leave you today with high praise for a salad I made recently with dandelion greens from my yard. Dandelions are pretty much everywhere in early spring, and the greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. I mixed them with chopped Cara Cara orange, avocado, cheddar cheese, and toasted almonds, then dressed the whole shebang with a maple poppyseed dressing (inspired by Cheryl Sternman Rule’s new cookbook: Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables; I love this book and you’ll be hearing more about it soon by the way).

dandelion salad

So are you “in” to this week’s One Simple Change? How do you feel about foraging? Ever done it? Want to give it a try?