My Completely Free Grocery "Shopping" Trip- Foraging and Salvaging

I just had a conversation with my publisher about my cover photography for my book, and what we want on it, as well as the photography for within the book, and then I realized that I don't have the ingredients needed to make all these foraged items, and to get them, I'd have to go into the city to go to a park there to forage. So I did.

I was there with a ticking clock- I arrived only 2 hours before sunset, and wanted to make sure I got enough of what I needed in time to make it back to civilization (and electric lights) before it got dark.

I had a long walk, and then got to the park and came home with a giant bag of goodies! Usually when I forage, it is mainly greens, and greens don't tend to be so heavy, but what I foraged certainly was heavy enough to feel it!

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I got wild fennel, umbilicus, wood sorrel, salsify leaves and roots...

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Bitter almonds, mallow, including a giant root which I want to try using as an egg replacement, wild lettuce, and chasteberry/vitex seeds- also medicinal, and also with a mild peppery taste.

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I especially came out looking to get something other than greens, ideally fruit, but while I was hopeful I had no idea if I'd get lucky or strike out. Fortunately I got a lot of fruit- over a pound each of hawthorn fruit and dog rose hips- so much more there, I just got bored of picking- and strawberry tree fruit. Not shown also was a bunch of sumac berry clusters.

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After finishing to forage as much as I could before dark, I went over to the market to see what I could get, especially as it was so close to closing time there. I didn't want too much, since my bag was already heavy (no wagon, because I was foraging on a nature trail where wagons aren't a good idea- I just had a backpack). I got 6 fish heads and 4 fish frames, plus a bunch of crispy cucumbers that were broken, all for free, because they would have been thrown out otherwise. I just cooked the fish and will pick it off the bones as soon as it cools off, and will use it to make some dish or another- probably either thai fish curry or fish gumbo.

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I love when I go "grocery shopping" and come home with a lot of food and pay absolutely nothing.

So far this month, 9 days in, and I've only spent $71 on groceries and my fridge and pantry are full. We'll see how low I can get my grocery budget this month.

Forage anything great lately? Got any free food or otherwise just great grocery deals lately? What was it?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Absolutely amazing! I wish I had the knowledge you do about foraging and what plants are what. Best of luck to you. God bless

  2. I'm so envious! We got about a foot of snow here in New England yesterday. But I'll bet I can still find chickweed growing under the snow at the corner of the house. Can't wait for Spring!

  3. yes wish I could forage a bit but in the city of Dhaka its difficult envy you the knowledge & ability

  4. How do you use the strawberry tree fruit? I have seen that where I live!

  5. I wish I could forage for goodies like you! Sadly most of the weeds I've seen grow near the freeways in our area.

  6. I wanna be you when I grow up. LOL. No foraging, but I did get a great deal on a already cooked rotisserie chicken $4. Had a coupon. The discount shelf at Kroger was great this week. I got 12 red, yellow or orange peppers, 3 cucumbers and 3 red onions for $4. Considering the red peppers are on sale for $1 each, I did good circumventing the sale and going for the mark down veggies. Time to make some salads, relish and freeze the rest.

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