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Foraging for Wild Food

Foraging for Wild Food

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Foraging for Wild Food

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  1. Foraging for Wild Food by Jack Abrahamson

  2. Foraging for Wild Food Foraging for Edible Wild Foods By

  3. Wildcrafting or Foraging for Wild Food • Wildcrafting is a term for the age-old practice of collecting plant materials in their natural habitat for food, medicine, and craft. 

  4. Rules for Foraging 1 of 3 • Do Not collect plants closer than 100 feet from a car path or contaminated area. • Never collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals. • Do Not collect plants with red stems or red striations or stripes • Always be familiar with all dangerous plants in your area of collection. • Positively Identify all plants you intend to use for foods. • Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers. Sniff Carefully. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go to next rule. • Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. Rub the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth. • Wait 20 minutes.

  5. Rules for Foraging 2 of 3 • Does your gum itch, burn, tingle, swell or sting? If no reaction occurs, go on to next rule, otherwise DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. • Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. Sip slowly for 20 more minutes. Watch for nausea, burning , or discomfort. If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount. • Wait another 20 minutes and watch for any reaction. • Keep all samples away from children or pets. • Store all seeds and bulbs away from children or pets. • Teach children to keep all plants away from their mouths and do not allow children to chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.

  6. Rules for Foraging 3 of 3 • Avoid smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions quickly. • Be aware of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. • Beware: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity. • Keep edibles separate from samples to be identified and use separate bags whenever possible. Poisons will give their bad qualities to food in the same proximity.

  7. Harvesting Guidelines • Begin harvesting when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. • Harvest early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day. • Harvest the wild edible before flowering, otherwise, leaf production declines. • Most flowers have their most intense oil concentration and flavor when harvested after flower buds appear but before they open.

  8. When to Harvest Edible Wild Food • Wild edibles should be harvested when the oils responsible for flavor and aroma are at their peak. Proper timing depends on the plant part you are harvesting and the intended use. • If you are collecting wild edible weeds for their foliage then to maximize the nutritional content, they should be harvested before they flower. After flowering they are still good for you and they still contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients, just not as plentiful. • Optimal time for collecting flowers such as chamomile should be done just before it reaches its maximum size. • Harvest roots, such as burdock, chicory or goldenseal are best in the autumn after the foliage fades.

  9. St. John’s Wort

  10. St. John’s Wort. Therapeutic uses promote healing Internal use St. John’s Wort is used internally for anxiety, mild to moderate depression, nervous tension, insomnia, menopausal disturbances, premenstrual syndrome, shingles, sciatica and fibrositis. It is also used to treat inflammation of the stomach and intestines and against internal worms. Not to be taken by people suffering from severe depression. It is also used in homeopathy for pain relief and to combat inflammation caused by nerve damage. External use It is used locally for its anti-septic and analgesic effect on burns, bruises, sores and deep wounds with nerve damage, as well as sprains, tennis elbow and cramps.
* Aromatherapy and essential oil use A macerated oil is normally made by steeping the dried material in a carrier oil such as wheatgerm or olive oil, and this macerated oil is then used to treat wounds and burns.

  11. Mullein

  12. Mullein

  13. Mullein Therapeutic uses cough Internal use The saponins contained in the herb help to loosen and remove mucus from the lungs, while the mucilage soothes the mucus membranes and the iridoid glycosides help to fight inflammation. Internally, it is used for coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, tracheitis, asthma, influenza, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, nervous tension, and insomnia. Although it is particularly effective to loosen mucus in the lungs it also shows some success with reducing water retention. Historically it was also used for genito-urinary tract infections. External use Externally, mullein is used to treat earache, specifically chronic otitis media (the flowers are macerated in olive oil), sores, eczema (especially around the ear), wounds, boils, rheumatic pain, hemorrhoids and chilblains.

  14. Lambs Quarters

  15. Lambs Quarters • Lambsquarters is a wild edible weed perfect for green smoothies and packed with nutrition. It is also called wild spinach, pigweed or goosefoot depending on where you are located. It has a mild, chlorophyll flavor like our domestic  greens.  Lambsquartersis a relative of swiss chard, beets and a few exotic garden greens. • It tends to grow in  disturbed soils, close to humans rather than in remote places. Its highly likely  that you will find some in your garden.  Not only does it grow everywhere but it has a very long edible season. It gets to  be a good eating size around June, being a late spring arrival, and its tender leaves are available for the rest of the growing  season.

  16. Lambs Quarters Recipe • Steam the leaves and stems in a small amount of water until tender. The greens will cook very quickly and turn a dark green color as they shrink down during cooking. The cooked greens are delicious just as they are with no additional seasoning or flavoring necessary. • The young leaves and smaller stems can also be eaten raw in salads. Or you can experiment by substituting lambs quarter for spinach or chard in some of your favorite recipes.

  17. Dandelion

  18. Dandelions Dandelions: these can be collected for their leaves for salads and tea and their roots for roasting and turning into dandelion coffee. The roots are best in autumn while the leaves are best in spring but they are available all year round.

  19. Broad Leaf Plantain

  20. Plantain Salve • For a quick salve grab a leaf or two, chew them up and apply them to the bug bite. • Best is to take a few leaves, cut them finely, add a pinch or two of baking soda and a little water. Then grind them to a wet paste in a mortar & pestle and apply to the bug bite. It instantly works to get rid of the itch or sting and keeps it from coming back.

  21. Plantain Uses • Plantain has medicinal uses of all sorts: bites, cuts, scrapes, rashes, skin problems, intestinal pain & issues, worms, boils, bronchitis, coughs, colitis, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting, bed wetting and incontinence and many other things. • Use it often for bug bites, stings and cuts. • It’s an herb with no known side-effects • Young leaves are “tasty”  in salads and a good source of calcium, minerals and beta carotene.

  22. Mint

  23. Mint • Spearmint and peppermint leaves can be added to drinks and fruit dishes as a garnish. It also makes a refreshing tea. • The menthol in peppermint soothes the lining of the digestive tract and stimulates the production of bile, which is an essential digestive fluid. A hot cup of herbal tea is an excellent way to settle your stomach after a big meal. A handful of mint steeped in boiling water for ten minutes is all you need for a comforting mint tea. • To make a facial astringent combine 1 Tbsp. fresh peppermint or spearmint and 1 cup witch hazel in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Steep in a cool, dry place for one week, shaking occasionally. Strain and pour into a bottle or spritzer to use. Good for normal to oily skin. Makes about a six-week supply. • Moth Repellent -Tie branches of mint together and wrap lightly in cheesecloth (to avoid flaking). Hang the bundle upside down with a ribbon in your closet. • Make a foot scrub by combining 1 cup unflavored yogurt, 1 cup kosher or rock salt and 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves. Apply to feet. Use a damp washcloth to gently scrub rough spots. Rinse feet and apply lotion.

  24. Mint • BREATH PURIFIER. Simply chew a sprig of your favorite mint. • TEA. Steep 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried (or 3 teaspoons of fresh) chopped mint leaves in a cup of hot water. Sweeten to taste with honey, then sip slowly, breathing in the fragrance. (Think of green fields warmed by the summer sun.) For iced tea, simply serve hot mint tea "on the rocks." • MINTED VEGETABLES. During the last two minutes of cooking, add two tablespoons of fresh chopped mint (or one tablespoon of dried chopped mint) to each quart of peas, green beans, carrots, or cauliflower. • ZESTY SALAD. Toss together two cups of lettuce, two cups of lamb's-quarters (the herb, not the animal), two or three scallions (green leaves and all), a couple of sprigs of fresh marjoram or lemon thyme (chopped), and three tablespoons of fresh, chopped mint (more if you want, but be careful not to overpower the salad with mintiness). Serve with your favorite oil-and-vinegar dressing. (Yield: 4 servings.)

  25. Maple Leaf with Seed

  26. Maple Seed

  27. Maple Seed • How to Eat Maple Tree Seeds • If you feel eating maple seeds raw just doesn’t do it for your taste buds then boil them for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and season with whatever you think you will enjoy (butter and spices). • Toss spring maple seeds into a salad. • Roast maple tree seeds and eat them as a snack or toss onto a salad or as a garnish on soup. You can roast them by placing the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with spices you like. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 to 10 minutes. • Try drying out the seeds for something totally different. You can use a food dehydrator, drying in the sun on a hot, dry day, or in the oven at a very low temperature. Once they are dried grind them into powder and use them as a spice, as flour, or as a soup thickener. • If you want mashed potatoes like you’ve never had them before, mash your potatoes and add some fresh or roasted maple seeds into the mash!

  28. Purslane

  29. Purslane • This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. • Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of α-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children. • It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision. This vitamin is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. • Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. • Purslane seeds, that appear like black tea powder, are often used to make some herbal drinks.

  30. Oak Leaf (Acorn)

  31. Acorns from Oak Trees

  32. Oak Acorn • To prepare palatable acorns, crack them out of their shell and break any large pieces into “pea-sized” chunks. Then soak these acorn chunks in water to remove the bitter and irritating tannic acid. Note that some books instruct us to boil acorns, but this locks in some of the bitterness. You’ll have the best results with warm water. • Soak the acorns for a few hours. If the water was safe to drink, taste a piece of acorn to see if it is still bitter. If you don’t like it, dump off the water (which should be brown like tea), add fresh warm water and soak the acorn pieces again for a few hours. Repeat this a time or two, or three depending on the acorn’s bitterness. Once they taste “OK” (read: bland), let them dry out for a few hours. Then you can run them through a grain grinder, flour mill, or the classic mortar and pestle to make acorn flour. Add this flour to existing recipes; or try your hand at making acorn porridge or hard, brown biscuits. • How do you tell if you picked the right tree nuts?
•    Have positive identification with a good book, like Peterson’s Field Guide to Wild Edible Plants.
•    Know the poisonous nuts like Buckeye and Horse Chestnut
•    Don’t collect near roads, dumps, power lines, train tracks or other contaminated areas.
•    Eat only small amounts of plants that are new to you, after you have positively identified it.  
•    Just try one at a time so you can tell which plant you are allergic to, in case of allergic reaction.
•    Don’t try to eat these nuts if you have any tree nut allergies.
•    And last but not least - if you are in doubt, DON’T EAT IT!

  33. Pine Needles

  34. Pine Needles • Pine Needle Tea contains 4-5 times the Vitamin C of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and is high in Vitamin A. It is also an expectorant (thins mucus secretions), decongestant, and can be used as an antiseptic wash when cooled. So not only does it taste good, but it's good for you!
Each variety of pine has it's own flavor to impart, so experiment and see which needles you like best. And feel free to mix and match • Step-by-step Instructions for Making Pine Needle Tea: • Collect a small bundle of green needles, the younger the better. (A small handful will be plenty). • Remove any of the brown, papery sheaths that may remain at the base of the needles. (They just pull right off.) • Chop the needles into small bits, about ¼ to ½ inch long. • Heat about a cup of water to just before boiling. • Pour the hot water over about a tablespoon of the chopped needles. • Allow to steep (preferably covered) for 5-10 minutes, until the majority of needles have settled to the bottom of the cup. Enjoy your delicious tea! For a Medicinal Tea: (This process releases more of the oils & resins that contain the medicinal compounds that taste a little like turpentine.) • Bring about a cup of water to a full boil. Add approximately one tablespoon of chopped needles to the boiling water and cover. Allow the needles to boil in the water for 2-3 minutes. • Remove from heat and allow the tea to continue to steep, covered, until it is cool enough to drink. (Most of the needles should sink to the bottom.) Pour the tea into a mug, leaving the needles behind, and enjoy! • Drink this tea several times a day for maximum medicinal effect. (Make it fresh each time.)

  35. Juniper

  36. Juniper Berries Juniper Berries • Though the juniper is known for its dark blue berries, they're not actually berries at all, but are actually reproductive seed cones that develop into a hard, woody coating in other trees. They turn from green to black or purple over an 18-month period as they mature. They are released in March and April.
 Medicinal Benefits • Juniper berries go above and beyond when it comes to medicinal properties. It is not only a detoxifier, as most berries are, but it also prevents and fights urinary tract infections, contains high natural insulin, and is traditionally used as an herbal medicine for skin growths, including acne and warts. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Medical Warning • Although edible juniper berries do have several health benefits, they are also a diuretic. Consuming too much may cause further medical issues for people with kidney problems. Expectant mothers should avoid the consumption of juniper berries as well, as they may heighten blood pressure and cause uterine spasms and a decrease in fertility. Healthy Dosage • A healthy, daily dose of dried juniper berries is roughly 1,000 to 2,000 mg. They should be taken over several small doses and taken for no more than six weeks at a time. They are great in dishes and as tea. Taste • Because juniper berries are not true berries but actually very small conifer cones, they tend to have a bitter and woody taste with a slight crunch.

  37. Sassafras Leaves

  38. Sassafras Roots

  39. Sassafras • Two parts that are used are the dried and powdered leaves, and the roots. To use the leaves, pick them when green and dry them in a dark place. Then powder them in the coffee grinder to make fine powder, used to thicken stews like gumbo. • To gather the roots, we look for the many saplings that are about 2 feet tall. Grasp the bottom of the sapling where it meets the ground and give the tree a slow, gentle pull. The root is brittle and often breaks, but sometimes we get a few feet at a time. We then wash the roots to remove the dirt, and slice up the smaller roots, and shave off the outer layer of any thicker roots. The cleaned roots are very aromatic, and can now be dried or used fresh. We boil the roots in water for about 20 minutes to make a reddish-brown decoction that can be sweetened and drunk hot or cold. You can use a strong root decoction to make jelly and syrup, and also ferment a spicy beer with sassafras and spicebush berries. Sassafras is an abundant and favorite wild food.

  40. References • Peterson Field Guides Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James A. Duke • Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants by Bradford Angier • A Digger’s Guide to Medicinal Plants by AlenLockard & Qlice Q. Swanson