On April 30, 2012, I published a blog called: Precautionary Warning! The Other Side of the Coin.
I wanted to make sure if anyone read about the foraging, that the readers were safe as they explored this area in the wild. I came across the site I’m going to show you and thought this was a more concise list that seemed more understandable. You decide. If you are going to forage, please save this list and follow the rules that are there for your safety.
The Rules of Foraging
These rules are for your own protection when investigating plants that are new to you. If followed closely, they will protect you in the field.
- DO NOT collect plants closer than 200 feet from a car path or contaminated area.
- NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals.
- DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS, or red striations or stripes.
- ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.
- POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.
- Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers. SNIFF CAREFULLY. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go to rule 7.
- Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.
- WAIT 20 minutes.
- DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING? If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10.
- Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes. WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, DISCOMFORT.
If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.
- WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.
- Keep all samples AWAY from children or pets.
- Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from children and pets.
- Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths and DO NOT ALLOW children chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.
- AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.
- BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
- BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.
This is information about wild food. The owners of this website (www.ofthefield.com) make no claims as to the correctness, safety or usability of the data.
The information contained herein is intended to be an educational tool for gathering and cooking wild plants. The information presented is for use as a supplement to a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. The nutritional requirements of individuals may vary greatly, therefore the author and publisher take no responsibility for an individual using and ingesting wild plants.
All data is to be used at your own risk. Using the Rules of Foraging, above, greatly help to reduce that risk, but they are not foolproof.
I got this information from a site called: http://ofthefield.com/
Click on the “Ongoing Information” link on the left side of the screen and below a list of several plants that you could look for and what they are good for, is The Rules for Foraging. This list seems the best to me. Foraging is a wonderful experience as long as you are well-informed and cautious. Remember the saying, ” An ounce of prevention (or caution) is worth a pound of cure!”
One of the plants she listed is the Red Clover you read about in my blog post: Gathering Red Clover (5/27/2012). The following is what Lind Runyon has to say about Clover:
When I homesteaded in the Adirondack wilderness, the intake of calcium and protein was my main interest. Reading references about wild foods became a very necessary occupation when I went to the town library.
Red clover is one wild food that is high in vegetable protein and calcium. Red clover buds are sold in health food stores as a tonic for the body.
I began by putting red clover leaves between two pieces of whole wheat bread and pretending it was cheese. After a week or so, I began to forage freely on red clover leaves and buds for my sweet candy.
Little did I know the plant would eventually supply casseroles, teas, stir-fry and flour for baking. For a few months, red clover was added to spaghetti sauce and cream sauce for a halfway normal diet.
When foraging for any plant be sure include careful, 100 percent identification. For a complete set of foraging rules, please see below in the Dandelions section, “Rules of Foraging”. For red clover, rub the plant on your upper gum and wait 20 minutes for any reaction. If no reaction, make a weak tea then consume small sections of this new plant.
You may be fortunate to have a weedy backyard. If not, locate an access field and call to inquire how long ago the field was cultivated and what was grown there as far back as five years ago.
Most chemicals are washed down below the quick-growing weed root system and wild food roots are in the first 4 inches of topsoil as a rule. Hardy and fast-growing, these plants are the very ones the agricultural system needs to eradicate.
Clover: Trifolium pratense (red clover), Trefolium repens (white clover), Legume Family, LeguminosaeTrefolium pratense (L.)
History: Throughout all cultures; a Native American vegetable.
Characteristics: Biennial or perennial herb. Red clover reaches the height of 10 inches or more, with hairy stems. Red or purple blossom with oval nectar sections; elongated leaves form trefoil with white vein when mature. White clover reaches the height of 2 inches or more. White blossoms have dozens of nectar filled sections; round leaves form trefoil at end of stem.
Location: Fields, roadsides, backyards.
Collection and Storage: Plants are most succulent in spring and early summer. Gathering a winter’s supply of clover takes only a few minutes. Clover can be frozen by placing it in a single layer on freezer wrap, folding over 2 sides to hold the clover in place, and freezing. After the clover is frozen, roll the paper to make a compact package, fasten, and label. Dry seed heads separately for an attractive potpourri.
Parts used: Leaves, blossoms, stems, roots. All can be used raw or cooked, dried or frozen.
Medicinal Value: Red clover is used as tea for cough, whooping-cough; blood tonic or purifier. Clover syrup used for chest congestion and bronchitis.
Hot Clover and Rice
1 cup milk or water
2 cups washed clover leaves
4 cups fluffy cooked rice
Add rice to a greased baking dish. Stir in clover and water (or milk). Stir again and serve hot. A protein delight. Serves 4.
Clover Sprout Muffins
3/4 cup partly cooked clover sprouts
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 cup milk or water
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons melted shortening (author uses water, no baking powder or egg, and sesame oil)
Stir flour, baking powder and honey together. Add milk or water and egg. Mix well. Add sprouts and melted shortening. Bake in a well-greased muffin tin at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Serves 3.
(Medicinal remedies suggested by this column are intended to be used solely at the discretion and responsibility of the user.)
CAUTION: Always check identification of wild foods with photographic sources. Some wild foods are toxic to humans. So when in doubt: DON’T! Also be aware of the use of chemicals in your lawn and neighbor’s lawn.
Wonderful information! Thanks Linda
I hope there are those out there that are opening their eyes to what is around you. Knowledge can add to our lives and bring joy as you shop in the free grocery store that is fields, your yard, woods nearby or places you may visit. Hope this is helpful.
Come and visit a bit when you can. Love to see you every time.