Hi, we’re new! Lily and Lydia is an online publication for Christian women that was launched in July 2023. While we’re regularly adding new articles, please be patient with us as we build the site!

Hi, we’re new! Lily and Lydia is an online publication for Christian women that was launched in July 2023. While we’re regularly adding new articles, please be patient with us as we build the site!

Foraging for Edible Plants: Summer Fun for the Whole Family

Jul 13, 2023 | Featured, Food and Kitchen, Garden and Homestead, Home

Summer is here! You may be wanting to find some family activities to do outdoors that don’t require a lot of travel and don’t break the bank. Well, foraging is not only inexpensive, but it’s a great way to get outdoors and learn about God’s beautiful creation together as a family. In this article, I will tell you about the materials you will need, some basic guidelines to help keep everyone safe, and 3 easy plants to identify.  Keep reading to learn how you can easily begin your journey into foraging!

Materials for Foraging

  1. Field guide of plants that grow in your area, preferably with pictures.
  2. Something to carry your plant finds in like a basket, bowl, or small bucket. It is helpful if it is large enough to keep your plants organized so you can easily see what you have.
  3. Scissors or a small knife can be helpful, but optional. Sometimes, plant stems can be tough to break. 

That’s really all you need to get started!

Safety Guidelines

Like with anything, you always want to do things in the safest way possible. There are many plants that are edible, but there are also many that are NOT. So, you will want to follow some safety guidelines to make sure no one ingests or uses a plant they shouldn’t.  Below are the top 3 guidelines I follow. You know your family so please add your own guidelines.

Guideline #1: Do your own research! ( I cannot stress this enough)

This is where your field guide will come in handy. Look it over before you go out. This will help you to know what to begin to look for. Learn basic plant identifiers and terminology. Sometimes edible plants can look similar to toxic plants. It is very important to learn the differences. Check a few different reliable sources to make sure the information is consistent. 

Guideline #2: Never eat anything if you don’t know what it is.

I make my kids repeat this rule to me before every foraging excursion, “Never eat anything if you don’t know what it is”. Do they roll their eyes at me? Yes. It is so important that you never eat or use anything unless you are 100% certain what it is and if its edible. If you aren’t sure, take several pictures of the plant and do further research until you know what it is. You can go back later or pick it the next time you find it.

Guideline #3: Avoid using or eating plants that could have been sprayed with weed killer or pesticides.

I usually avoid plants from public areas like parks and roadsides. Don’t risk putting harmful chemicals in your body. When I forage, I like to stick to my own yard or trails I know haven’t been treated. 

Now on to the fun part!

3 Easily Identifiable Plants 

Here are 3 plants that are useful, and you probably only need to step out in your yard to find them! In this list I have included the common name and the scientific name of each plant. 

  1. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
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Although considered an annoyance by many, Dandelions are a nutritious weed. Every part of this plant can be used down to the root. They are easy to identify by their fluffy yellow flower on a hollow light green stem. 

Their leaves are light to dark green and jagged around the edges. Some people like to make fritters from the flowers by dipping them in a batter and frying them. You can also add the leaves to salads, soups, or make tea out of them. The roots are often used in tea for their health benefits. Fun fact: When the roots are being roasted they have a sweet chocolatey smell!

  1. Broad-Leaved Plantain (Plantago major)
crCBR vxl Nnn2aSSReJBq3q82IWL2Jgjgc7dAYNMEnsOEnRNamCqJqgl5OW2AzLC6QQWtbAeM X2vqu8xKY3EWsgIrLd8A7kOz78f40S0D93e aof1ok1wST OAo5iF35WNq8mZyi0LE0NEpoZyMQ _Summer is here! You may be wanting to find some family activities to do outdoors that don’t require a lot of travel and don’t break the bank. Well, foraging is not only inexpensive, but it’s a great way to get outdoors and learn about God’s beautiful creation together as a family. In this article, I will tell you about the materials you will need, some basic guidelines to help keep everyone safe, and 3 easy plants to identify.  Keep reading to learn how you can easily begin your journey into foraging!

This is a common weed that you have most likely seen but didn’t know what it was. Broad-Leaved Plantain has large tear drop shaped leaves that are dark green but can be light green when they are young. They have 5-9 veins that run from the stem to the top of the leaf. The leaves grow in a circular or basal rosette pattern. From the center 2-3 skinny seed spikes will grow up on stems.

Plantain is great for helping with bug bites. You can crush up a leaf to make a poultice, place it on the bite, and it with stop itching in minutes. You can add the younger leaves to salads, or you can make plantain chips out of the bigger leaves. The seed spikes are also edible. You can sauté them in a stir fry or the smaller spikes can be tender enough to add to salads. These are only a few of the things you can do with this versatile plant. This is one worth researching and is my favorite to forage.

  1. White Clover (Trifolium repens)
D9NW9eGh26s7sOTVZhGrBL9BAVwFRgT5ou5 AFC5t5CtenZ6bxm6xmFndVgg 13AIATU1 rFUw6p5 UNx GiDrejbwgzIk6yl8eIVgg TfP Bwe8yQlJEcHhRat3dva4rZfDdqLhiBxcl1M1o2NH Q _Summer is here! You may be wanting to find some family activities to do outdoors that don’t require a lot of travel and don’t break the bank. Well, foraging is not only inexpensive, but it’s a great way to get outdoors and learn about God’s beautiful creation together as a family. In this article, I will tell you about the materials you will need, some basic guidelines to help keep everyone safe, and 3 easy plants to identify.  Keep reading to learn how you can easily begin your journey into foraging!

This is a favorite of bunnies and deer, but it is also a favorite for foraging too. White clover is easily identifiable by its white flower with a green center on a thin green stem. The leaves are on their own stems. There are usually 3 of them, but sometimes there are 4 leaves. 

The flowers have a sweet vanilla like flavor. They can be steeped in hot water (fresh or dried) to make a refreshing tea. Many people like to dry them to use in baked goods like cookies or cakes. They also make a pretty spring garnish to brighten up fun tea time snacks. If you have daughters this flower is a favorite to make beautiful clover crowns and jewelry. 

I hope this article has been an encouragement for to you to get out in nature with your family. Learning about all the different plants has brought me joy and appreciation of the beautiful things God has created. I hope it does that for you too. Thank you for reading and happy foraging!

Rachel Perryman _Summer is here! You may be wanting to find some family activities to do outdoors that don’t require a lot of travel and don’t break the bank. Well, foraging is not only inexpensive, but it’s a great way to get outdoors and learn about God’s beautiful creation together as a family. In this article, I will tell you about the materials you will need, some basic guidelines to help keep everyone safe, and 3 easy plants to identify.  Keep reading to learn how you can easily begin your journey into foraging!

Rachel Perryman is a Christian, wife and mother to two beautiful girls. She lives in the Ozarks region of Missouri. Rachel loves spending time outdoors with her family, reading and discussing theology and politics. Rachel also has a small handmade jewelry business where she strives to honor God and start conversations with her designs.  You can find Rachel on Instagram at @ozarkianheart where she posts about a variety of things. You can find her jewelry store on Pelavida at: https://shoppelavida.com/brand/ozarkianheart/

3 Comments

  1. Patti

    I’ll be adding dandelion leaves to my salad tomorrow! I so enjoyed your article!

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    Thank you for the lesson! We now live in Kentucky and stuff is growing that I know can be used for something.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Loved Rachel Perryman’s article on foraging! Great to see a website that is for Christian woman. Keep up your great work!

    Lee Ann

    Reply

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