By Lynnie Stein / September 8, 2022

Do we have any foragers amongst the fermento’s?

Foraging and fermenting wild food

Wild grasses + tubers + buds + leaves and more

Wild food fans and foragers are exactly the types to taste the unknown, try new things for the fun of it and not wait until a food is washed and free of dirt before tasting. We have already stepped off the path of packaged, cleaned and processed food, Styrofoam and plastic containers and antiseptic packaging.

  • Any successful food forager knows the basics of the local area
  • the look-a-likes (poisonous or toxic plants are similar to safe ones)
  • to taste only what we can identify and the areas to avoid (near railroad tracks, roadsides, reserves, power lines and manicured lawns, all places that may have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides (weed killers)
  • or where the water supply to the area could be polluted, such as from urban or industrial run-off,
  • and avoid weeds that are growing on contaminated sites as many are heavy metal accumulators).

Foragers are adventurers and experimenters

Isn’t it dangerous?

  • For many people what is real comes from a shop. Are the foods in the store somehow safer, approved and more comfortable?
  • Growing up a few decades ago, no one would think twice about finding a wild mulberry tree on a walk and tasting the ripe fruit. Picking berries and cramming them into your mouth by the handful. Grabbing a handful of yellow dock and chewing on the stem, to quench the thirst,
  • Or picking purslane (better known as pigweed) and holding under the tongue, to relieve thirst and digging up a bit of sassafras root to nibble on.
  • Today, the safe and first place to start foraging can be your own back yard. As you pull young edible weeds, make use of some of them as a food, if you have clearly identified them.
  • The term “weed” has many definitions and depends on intention for land use and perspective on the landscape. One bush regenerator’s weed can be another person’s delight. It is just the way you look at it, so do not abuse those weeds – use and enjoy them.

Gather & Forage Widely

  • Pick small quantities of many species, rather than large quantities of but a few.
  • Choose the shoots and young leaves, the roots and stalks, the flowers, the fruits, the medicinal and the edible.
Wild greens are full of nutrients you can't get from store-bought greens. Ferment the forage greens
Wild greens are full of nutrients you can’t get from store-bought greens

As a foraging rule 

  • pick the very youngest leaves as these will have less of any bad chemicals and taste better.
  • Learn the troublesome ones and everything else remains possible.
  • Plants containing milky latex should be regarded with caution, however, not all white-sapped plants are poisonous (e.g. dandelion, chicory and fig). It is best to use the picked plants immediately.
  • As soon as you pick the plants its liveliness and energy begin to diminish.

If you wait too long before processing the plants will start to dry out and you will only be able to extract a small quantity of juice.

  • On the second day stir the sticky mass with barbaric thoughts and bare hands.
  • Repeat at least once a day for about ten days.
  • After a day or two liquid will be drawn out of the plant material and the sugars dissolved.
  • After three or four days the liquid will begin fermenting.
  • At the end of ten days strain the plant material out, giving it a good squeeze through a cloth as you do so to get all the liquid out.
  • You will now have a thick syrupy herbal concentrate.
  • To imbibe mix with uncontaminated clean water in whatever proportion feels good.
  • The syrup needs to be kept cool to prevent further fermentation.

The best part of any season is the food. Don’t let this season go to waste. This food is free and edible!

Foraging: A beginner’s guide (external link)

Foraging Guide (external link)

Happy foraging & fermenting

Love & bacteria, Xo,

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