Foraging and wild edibles basics
Many of us spend our Spring and Summer months strimming and weeding beds, lawns and paths and others use environmentally damaging herbicides. We see these unwanted plants as a nuisance that blight our well-kept gardens and ignorantly seek to destroy wild food that was once part of a balanced diet.
Wild edible food identification
Others will walk trails and paths oblivious to the fact that many ubiquitous wild plants are not only tasty but highly nutritious.
If you do your homework you will find that you recognise many of the common or garden weeds that are in fact wild edibles, part of every foragers handbook and the hidden domain of well-informed cooks not only here in Italy, but in Europe.
Wild food foraging in the media
In Copenhagen, Noma, a restaurant based on a foraged menu, has won succesive awards as the best Restaurant on the planet.
In the UK Bear Grylls and Ray Mears have drawn attention to these wonderful untapped resources and survivalist programmes such as 10,000 BC highlight modern man’s incredible lack of knowledge about the natural world around him, and how natures larder can help the wild foodie survive and thrive.
Rediscovering nature’s larder
Before organised agriculture and modern faming, people foraged for wild food and Roots, shoots, leaves, berries, fruit, and game were the norm.
Thankfully these wild edibles are available It’s just that we’ve forgotten how to tap into this free source of goodness. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your garden and the local countryside like never before, enable you to savour many long lost flavours and to live a more sustainable existence.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
Why eat wild and wonderful weeds
The wild edibles that we find here in Italy are common to much of Europe and most of them also found their way to America many centuries ago. They are
- Nutritious being packed with minerals and vitamins
- Very tasty, with flavours that vary from artichokes to Rocket
- Fun to harvest
The foraging tool kit
Foraging doesn’t require any special equipment. But we would recommend
- Reusable shopping bags, and baskets (particularly for mushroom hunting, as this allows spores to scatter and preserves the Fungi)
- Robust garden gloves
- hand trowels
- A bottle of water bottle
- A pocket knife preferably with an attached brush for removal of dirt from roots
We will soon be offering Foraging walks that aim to provide basic skills for spotting, collecting and preparing wild edibles. These can be included as part of any holiday, or a walking holiday or cooking holiday here in Marche Italy. Please let us know if you are interested and we will let you know when these start.
Included in the wild edibles foragers guide:
- Guides are specific to each wild edible plant.
- Where to find the wild edible
- A foraging identification guide – What the wild food looks like
- Tasting notes – what the wild food tastes like
- Nutritional information on vitamins and Minerals
- A wild edible recipe