I read a blog recently at Frugually Sustainable “How Wild Foraging Can Lower the Cost of Groceries“. I promptly ordered two of the books listed on the website and begin to read them. It was kind of overwhelming. “The Forager’s Harvest” states “Never eat any part of a plant unless you are 100% positive of the plants identification, and certain that the part you intend to eat is edible in the condition in which you have harvested and prepared it.” The “Edible Wild Plant’s” book states it like this “When in doubt leave it out”.
In looking at these books I was convinced that I needed to take a foraging class and not just forage by looking at books and pictures. I told a friend that I really wanted to take a class and she did too. We talked on Tuesday and the following Sunday we were in her car at 7:20am headed to a class in Winter Park taught by Green Deane.
We met at Meade Park and spent over 4 hours learning about plants you can and can not eat. We also learned that some plants are “edible” but can cause major health issues down the road. Some plants you can eat the flowers but must cook the leaves and some plants you can eat the roots or tubers. Other plants you can eat but they don’t taste so hot and are considered famine food.
One of the most important lessons we learned in this class is that your nose plays a large roll in identifying many plants. If a plant smells like almonds “DON’T EAT IT” it contains cyanide.
On the non-edible side the Rosary Pea or Crabs eye is the most poison plant/seed you can find. DO NOT EAT OR TOUCH THE SEEDS. There is no known antidote for this plant. I have this growing in my area and am glad I know now not to touch it without gloves.
This tuber really doesn’t have much of a taste.
Then there was the creeping cucumber. You eat these when they are light green.They taste just like a little cucumber and are quiet juicy. If they are medium or dark green “DO NOT EAT”. I was able to bring home a dark green one and hopefully will be able to grow some of these.
I would encourage everyone to take a class on foraging. Do your research and take the class from someone who is knowledgeable. Green Deane has classes in Florida, GA, NC, and SC. It is well worth the money and if nothing else fun! My class was only $30 and well worth every penny. I will be taking another one soon as there is so much information to process.
Of course I am always taking pictures of wildlife and insects.