Spring is here, and I for one am anxious to get back out into nature! Today I was lucky enough to spend some time in the woods, mostly just soaking up the scenery, but also foraging!
As interest in foraging has developed in recent years, settler populations must (myself included!) must show extreme care with how we engage in this practice. Remember: we do not OWN the land. We are temporary stewards who are trying to make this world a better place. That includes being conscious of not over-harvesting, abiding by regional laws, engaging in sustainable practices, etc. For me, this also includes thanking the plants for their gifts.
One plant that may be safely foraged in the wild is Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Native to Europe, here in North America it is extremely invasive, and it can be found in shady woodlands, along roadsides, fields, etc. Per The Good Life Revival: “Garlic mustard leaves are quite distinct once you’ve developed an eye for them, but their variation in size and shape can lead to some uncertainty when you’re still learning. They vary from rounded, to kidney-shaped (reniform), to triangular, with a slightly rounded or serrated edge. Leaf venation is very pronounced and the foliage is often a deep and distinct shade of green.” An edible plant, it may be used to make a pesto (as we’re planning!), and young leaves may be mixed with salad greens.
Disclaimer: I haven’t been foraging for terribly long and it’s one that I easily spotted, but be sure to verify absolutely anything and everything that you forage before consuming!