Foraging Wild Foods
& Medicinal Herbs
Your Guide to Sustainably Gathering Wild Edibles and Herbs:
Tools, Tips, Recipes, and Wildcrafting Safety
Calling all foragers!
Are you intrigued by the idea of foraging abundant wild edibles and weedy medicinal plants?
We’ve stocked up all the resources you need to begin your foraging adventures safely and wisely. Tools, field guides, harvesting ethics, and a primer on sustainable wildcrafting are all requisite. Browse our library of resources to start foraging on the right foot!
Grab your baskets, and let’s go!
Here’s a complete list of our articles on foraging and wildcrafting:
- Foraging for Wild Edibles and Herbs: Sustainable and Safe Gathering Practices
- The 10 Best Wild Foods and Medicinals for Beginning Foragers and Wildcrafters
- Wild Foods Recipe Round-Up
- Essential Foraging Tools & Supplies
- The Best Books on Foraging Wild Foods and Herbs
- The Best Regional Books for Plant Identification and Foraging Wild Foods and Herbs
- The Top Herbal and Foraging Blogs, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels
- Goldenrod: the Bee’s Knees (and Urethras Love it Too!)
- Lamb’s Quarters: How to Gather and Prepare this Delicious & Nutritious Wild Plant
- Violet’s Edible and Medicinal Uses
- Witch Hazel’s Medicinal Uses
- How to Harvest Medicinal Trees in Your Backyard
Every forager needs a primer on ethics and safety before grabbing their gathering baskets! This is your introduction to wildcrafting with a conscience and keeping yourself healthy—there are deadly poisonous plants out there that you’ll want to get to know and avoid ingesting. So take some time to paw through our foraging tips and pack in these essential skills.
These bountiful plants are among our own wildcrafted staples, and they’re especially enticing to the beginning forager—nutritious, easy to identify, and a pleasure to set on the table. Find out which 10 wild foods and herbs made our cut here.
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your foraged finds, take a peek at our seasonal recipe round-up, which features dishes from our own herbal kitchen plus a carefully chosen selection from our favorite wild foods chefs and kitchen witches. Join the foraged feast with us today!
Gear matters! Quality tools make life easier and reduce waste (by not ending up in the landfill so quickly). I have a small but essential cache of tools that comes with me into the field whenever I plan to forage food or medicine. Care to know what supplies I carry? Check out my tool bag, along with links to acquire a kit of your own.
One or two good field guides will serve your foraging adventures more than almost any other tool—especially if you’re just getting your feet wet. It can be a matter of life or death to accurately identify wild plants, so it’s essential to choose a guide that is both thorough and trust-worthy. These books are our top picks, and several include a scrumptious array of wild food recipes.
Subscribe to our newsletter & receive our Guide for Budding Herbalists, a FREE 100-page eBook. You’ll also get a video lesson & PDF on dandelion’s herbal uses.
Go local! Field guides tailored to your neck of the woods will be hugely helpful as you learn which food and medicine plants grow near you. These books often include ethnobotanical uses and regional anecdotes, along with species-specific descriptions that are sometimes lacking in more general guides. This list features all the major temperate regions of the United States and Canada!
Your one-stop spot for all the best online foraging sites, personally approved by yours truly. This roll-call of resources is loaded with identification guides, maps, videos, recipes, and musings. If you’re looking for free, high-quality information, this is the place.
Our ode to sun-child goldenrod; a medicinal late summer and early fall wildflower. Goldenrod is a premier decongestant, making it an all-star ally for allergies, sinusitis, flu, and the common cold. Bonus: it’s tasty! Get to know goldenrod here.
Did you know wild greens are chock-full of vitamins and minerals? Lamb’s quarters—also called wild spinach—is one of the most nutritious greens ever analyzed, outdoing many common veggies (including domestic spinach) in vitamin and mineral content. Join us for a look at lamb’s quarters, including all of our foraging and preparation tips.
Violet is a real herbal sweetheart! This winsome medicinal and edible herb is a springtime darling. It’s easy to identify and has an expansive healing repertoire. Welcome violet to your kitchen and apothecary—it’s equally at home in salves, salads, and teas. Gather up our guide for identifying and using violet here.
When witch hazel flowers in late fall, its leaves are either golden with the season’s splendor or have already fallen to join the rich tapestry of the eastern deciduous forest floor. Its yellow petals resemble crimped streamers, lending a wild look to the close aggregation of flowers (one might liken them to a late-night party of fringe-element spiders). Some callous individuals lacking floral social skills have been known to describe the blooms as scraggly.
Humans have been harvesting and using medicine from trees for millennia—there’s a veritable treasure trove of healing remedies towering above us. What’s more, a forest-full of medicinal trees and shrubs likely grow near where you live. Get our tips on ethically gathering tree medicine, plus check out our spotlight on five special medicinal trees.
What is wildcrafting?
Wildcrafting is the age-old art of gathering wild plants and mushrooms for food and medicine. It’s synonymous with foraging. This practice is in our blood—our ancestors all ate wild foods and prepared medicines from healing plants.
Is it truly sustainable to forage wild plants?
That depends on how and what you gather. When I forage, I focus on a particular array of plentiful, generous, and nourishing plants—the wild weeds, the common flora, and the invasives. I strongly encourage you to do the same! These plants are some of our most superb medicinal allies and nutrient-dense wild foods. And these feral, non-native, “weedy” plants are the most sustainable options out there. See our article on Ten Wild Foods for Beginners to get the inside scoop.
On the other hand, there are a number of native plants that should not be gathered from wild places. Please see the United Plant Savers’ Species At Risk list before you begin foraging. And read up on our Sustainable and Safe Gathering Practices while you’re at it.
Is foraging safe?
If you know what you’re doing and approach new plants with respect and caution, foraging can be very safe and satisfying! That being said, there are deadly poisonous plants out there that have edible and medicinal look-alikes. Be 150% sure of your identification before gathering a plant. Don’t take someone else’s word for it. If in doubt, DO NOT harvest! Find a reliable field guide and double check yourself. Learn about the poisonous plants in your area. For more guidance, see our article on Safe Gathering Practices.
Can I forage in urban areas?
Absolutely! Cities are fertile ground for foraging, as long as you follow some basic guidelines: Harvest in clean locations. Avoid harvesting near roads, foundations of buildings, electric lines, railroads, floodplains of polluted rivers, and fields or parks that may be sprayed with herbicide. If you have trouble finding clean places to gather, ask around at community garden plots. They might let you dig or pick wild and weedy interlopers.