This year we are going to be studying the science (or is it the art) of wild edible and medicinal foraging in our homeschool. I'm slowly gathering resources to support and guide us through. But to start with, we had to learn the rules of foraging.
RULES OF FORAGING
- Never forage closer than 100 feet from a road or parking lot
- Never collect from areas treated with herbicides
- POSITIVELY identify ALL plants
- Avoid burning plants, smoke may irritate
- Teach children thoroughly
As we discover new plants we will be adding them to our nature journals. Each plant and each experience will warrant different journal entries. Here are a few ideas if we don't know where to start:
JOURNAL ENTRY IDEAS
- Drawing! Probably always a drawing. It will help us see our specimen in more detail not to mention remind us in the future of what the specific plants look like.
- Labeling of botanical parts, learning new terms as we go.
- Health benefits of each plant or part.
- Which parts are edible, which parts are poisneous.
- How to use or prepare edible and medicinal portions of plants.
- Recipes we use or want to use
- Locations of where we found the plants, or may be likely to find the plants.
- A narrative about an actual experience in finding or preparing the plant.
- A poem either of our own, or by a famous author that speaks to us about the plant.
- Scientific vocabulary terms that apply
A few nature journaling books that might also help get you started are:
Our First Lesson: Elderberries
What perfect timing, as our school year was about to begin, that my friend gets word from her friend that the elderberries on her parents property were ripe and ready! We had a great tour of a section of their 100+ acres and collected from the many elderberry bushes/trees scattered throughout the property. We got to touch, see, smell, and taste first hand this magnificent wild medicinal edible, always making sure to only harvest the ripe berries, and leaving plenty for the birds.
Elderberries have been called a complete medical chest unto themselves. They are high in vitamin C and iron and strengthen your immune system. The berries work to remove viruses from the body and remove deep congestion, whether it be in the lungs, kidneys, or joints.
Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender has a gorgeous botanical print of this powerhouse along with an elderberry syrup recipe on their Botanical Arts Press website.
I've begun collecting resources and information on foraging and using wild foods on my Pinterest board Wild Weeds. And am still in search of more helpful books and guides to learn from. If you have any favorites, please share!