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Monday, January 24, 2011

Foraging in the City

I know I've been talking about foraging a decent amount lately, but that's because it has become my new love. Foraging is free, and it is healthy eating at its finest. Because foraged foods are grown on lands which have not been depleted of their nutrients, foraged foods tend to be much higher in nutrition than their agricultural counterparts. Foraged food is organic, local, sustainable, and quite delicious, if I may say so myself.

For me, the best thing about foraging is that it allows me to bring down my grocery bills very drastically. By foraging, I'm buying much less produce overall, and I'm going for much longer stretches between grocery shops. Last grocery shop was 4 weeks ago, and I decided that instead of my planned shopping trip tomorrow, I'm going to push off going to the supermarket for yet another week, making 5 weeks between grocery shops.

When I originally posted my first foraging pictures back in the summer, some of you probably thought that I lived in the wide open country side, with fields available for foraging. I corrected that mistaken assumption when I shared about living and foraging in suburbia, but I bet I've still got some of you shaking your heads and saying "Oh well, if only I didn't live in the city... Because you can't forage in the city because there's no green."

I wasn't sure what the situation was. Could you forage in the city? I knew I'd foraged carob in the city before, but what about greens and other things? Is it possible to forage if you're living where "there is no green"?

Today I needed to head to the big city to run some errands. And... you know me, I can't do one thing at a time- I've got ADD. I start off with one thing and end up doing 5 million things at the same time. (Which is why my posts nearly always go off on tangents.) So of course, in addition to running my errands, I also went on a foraging trip. (Which was quite unnecessary, because just yesterday I picked a nice 5 shopping bags stuffed to the brim with all sorts of wild edibles that I froze and dehydrated and refrigerated for later use.)
My foraging trip in the city was less to actually collect wild edibles, but more so, to prove that it can be done.
I spent probably half an hour, on and around one main city street roughly half a mile long, while doing other things, like popping in to stores..

What wild edibles did I find on my foraging trip?

Well, there were some that I didn't identify yet, but I am still pretty sure they are edible. But of the ones I know for certain, I found:


Prickly pear cactus and fruit. Did you know that even the cactus part is edible?



Milk thistle



Bull thistle



Wild Broccoli Raab



Olive leaves



Wild oats



Rosemary

...and last but not least, my favorite of all foraged foods-



Wild fennel 



and fennel seeds.

Foraging in the city? Absolutely possible. You just need to know where to look and know what things are edible.
My husband was with me when we were running these errands, and he was amazed how every three seconds I'd run off and pick something from a small patch of dirt around a tree, a tiny patch of ground next to a parking lot, a few square feet land on a corner, and an embankment near a road. He couldn't believe all that was edible, but it definitely is- and more!

Even if you can't find any of these plants growing in the one or two spare feet of dirt that there are in the city or sprouting from between cracks in sidewalks, most cities have some large parks or even small grassy areas which often are the perfect place to forage all sorts of yummy veggies!

Where do you live? In the city? In the suburbs? Or in the country?
Do you think it is possible to forage where you live? Have you ever seen any of these plants listed above? Did you know you could eat them? Would you feel comfortable foraging in the city?

Joining the Hearth and Soul blog hop and Simple Lives Thursday for the very first time!
Linking up to Pennywise Platter Thursday.

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