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Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


How to Find and Use Wild Foods

Green Living Ideas is happy to feature another guest post from Alexis of The Art of Sacred Body today! Alexis is a mama, permaculturalist, gentle living activist, aspiring midwife, freelance writer and health blogger.

Picture this: You’re sitting at a plastic bench on a concrete sidewalk next to an ice cream stand where you’ve just ordered a giant bizarre blizzard thing full of what you perceive as tasty, but what your body perceives as ‘???’. You look down to see a scraggly dandelion coming up through the concrete.

Your mind might not register it, but your body knows that the scraggly weeds growing down by your leather shoes are actually packed full of nutrients– far more nutrients than your cup of chemicals and dairy.

So how do you get those nutrients from sidewalk crack to happy body? It’s pretty easy! But, truthfully, try to avoid the sidewalk scraps and head to your nearest nature preserve or park.

dandelion plant

Find a natural setting– The best wild foods are those growing in their natural habitat. This means far away from streets, sidewalks and pesticide covered lawns. Your best bet will be to find a public nature preserve or prairie field where nutritious plants are growing in great abundance.

Why Stay Away From the Street? You may see lots of good herbs growing near the street as you drive by or on your daily dog walk. Sometimes, you can find good herbs there but you need to be aware of exhaust fumes from passing cars, pesticides from lawn manicurists and dog feces or other questionable materials from foot traffic.

{Learn more about foraging for wild foods here}

Choose herbs growing in abundance– As stewards of the Earth, we must be aware of the effect that everything we do have on the world around us. This is especially true when we tread into wild nature, which exists in such small proportions these days. This means choosing herbs that are healthy and growing in excess.

What are some common wild herbs? The most common herbs growing in the continental U.S. are dandelions, red clover, burdock, chickweed, lamb’s quarters, plantains, sorrel, and echinacea.

Boil herbs in water– This creates a tea, or if steeped for longer, a more potent version known as a decoction. It is necessary to boil the roots of plants for longer, while leaves and flowers should be steeped in hot water but not boiling water. You can also take herbs orally by simply eating the leaves or flowers, or making a tincture. Creating tinctures and syrups is a longer process which you can learn about in an upcoming post.

For more information on the specific qualities of herbs, I highly recommend Susun Weed. There are a number of reputable resources on herbs. We recommend finding a guide who can show you all the best places to find herbs in your area, and steer you towards to good plants and away from the bad ones (this is especially important if you are hunting mushrooms!). If you’re having any trouble with starting the herbal process, feel free to contact me at here.

Dandelion image from Shutterstock/ Brzostowska

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is many, many people. We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people. :D

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