One of the most overlooked free resources for many homesteads can be the foraging of local edibles! Often when we think of setting up our homesteads to be self sufficient we focus on the garden, on fruit tress and berry bushes. All of this is excellent! Yet have you checked out your own local edibles to see if foraging is available?
Foraging offers a abundance of free food that can be dried, canned , frozen, and eaten fresh! These edibles are organic, untouched by man, unspoiled and healthy! Not only that but this addition to your pantry can save MONEY! All one needs is some time and basket!
This week the morals started popping up in our mountains. So as part of our spring routine we go mushroom picking. Later in the season we scout for huckleberry! From picking wild raspberry, black berries to picking cherries apples plums on neighbors trees, having edible resources available really does assist in sustaining our pantry and food needs!
How To Learn About Your Own Edibles In Your Back Yard
1) Forest Department
If you are new to picking such edibles as mushrooms or berries just stop at your local forest department and have them help you out. Most forest department carry pamplets on local wild edibles with pictures even!
2) Extension Offices
Another great resource that many county's and university have is a extension office. These local entities are there to address local agricultural, natural resource, youth, family, community and environmental issues. They utilize researched based education and serve as a bridge between the needs of the community and the "knowledge and resources available throughout the university, working to solve problems at the local level."
Look into your local extension for classes on foraging, plant identification, local resources.
My greatest teachers were the people at work who lived in the area all their lives and lived to pick huckleberry s and morals. Their advice and free samples and tips taught me what to look for, where to go, and what season to scout. A mentor can even take you out with them to show you first hand! Such valuable information that no book or class can give you!
4) Google It!
There is always resources at our finger tips on line. I like to use this as the last resort. Mother Earth News always have real life articles as does Backwoods Home.
No matter where you live, if your goal is to be more self sustainable, wild edibles is a resource one cannot overlook. Go green, go organic save money and most of all..... have fun!