Wild herbs and edible weeds are free, nutritious additions to your diet. Many wildcrafted herbs have medicinal properties, too, and can be used to make herbal home remedies.
How To Pick Wildcrafted Herbs
Avoid picking from areas where fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals have been used. Do not pick from polluted areas such as busy roadsides. Many familiar and useful edible weeds, such as plantain or nettles, grow conveniently in gardens and backyards – but if you are going to eat them, make sure that chemical fertilizers or pesticides have not been used in the garden.
Do not collect from protected areas, nature reserves and other places where foraging could cause damage. Learn which plants are endangered or protected in your local area and do not pick those. Don’t take everything you see in one place; leave some plants to let the nature recover and grow back until you return to pick more.
At least in my area some edible weeds, such as nettle or dandelion, grow back so fast that I don’t have to worry about overpicking! Of course I have to be more careful about less prolific plants. You can also grow your own edible weeds – in addition go your garden herbs, grow some yarrow, dandelion or chamomile to use in herb teas or home remedies.
Foraging is a great way to learn more about the herbs and edible weeds that grow in your area. Read about each plant and learn the best time to pick, which parts of the plant to use, and how to use them. Never use a plant if you are not able to identify it 100% correctly and confidently! Some edible berries and poisonous berries can look very similar, and a mistake can be fatal. Only pick plants you recognize as safe and edible. Try a little bit of the plant first before making a whole meal out of it.
If you are new to edible weeds, start with one or two herbs and learn how to pick, prepare and use them. Get a good book on foraging or read through some of the many excellent websites and Facebook groups (such as the Edible Wild Food website and its Facebook page, and the Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants Facebook community) to learn more about wild herbs, edible weeds and medicinal plants.