Create your own wild-picking wonderland
Now anyone who thinks you have to live in the woods or in the middle of the meadows to be able to forage is wrong. In the middle of the forest there is actually little to find: because there is so much shade, little can grow. In a clearing or around the edges of an open field, you are more likely to find something edible. But you can also forage in the middle of town. In city parks you can find anything: walnut trees, wild blackberries, ground elder under a bush, nettles on the roadside. There are even apps where avid foragers mark places where there is something to pick. And, of course, you can always let your own backyard go wild. 'At least half of my garden is edible. I have created a food forest in my own garden with Japanese wineberry, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. But there are also countless edible plants that have traveled by, for example the wind into my garden. For example, ground elder: a real proliferator so people often remove it, but you make delicious pesto from it. Or shepherd's purse, a plant with a cute little white flower that is often seen as a weed. It tastes like watercress and is hearty in salads. Garlic-less garlic is a very familiar one, grows everywhere and tastes like garlic. When I come across these little plants in my garden I think, 'hey, welcome to my garden.' So the next time you come across weeds in your garden, don't just pull them out of the ground. Who knows, you might be able to make something delicious with it.
At Mirjam's place, wildflower foraging is on the menu every week. I don't have a favorite recipe, the best thing about cooking with items I forage from nature, is seeing what you find and being creative in what you can make with it. The possibilities really are endless. Many edible plants you can use as seasonings, just like you use parsley or basil. Other plants can be used like you eat spinach: stir-fried, through a curry, in a soup or salad. From all kinds of small plants you can easily make a delicious pesto. Last week I made shoarma with wild oyster mushrooms. From Judas ear, a slimy mushroom, I made a Japanese noodle soup. And on a shelf in the basement, a bottle of pine needles is fermenting into vodka. I always try to come up with something different every time.
Take good care of the earth and take good care of yourself
Foraging is also a lot healthier than supermarket fruits and vegetables. Both for humans and the earth: not only because it doesn't require pesticides, food miles, and heated greenhouses, but also because food from nature contains far more nutrients. So there are far more nutrients in wild-picked foods. But beware: your stomach might be a little less happy with the wild harvest than you are, as it has to get used to the large amount of nutrients.
Do you want to go foraging yourself? Then we encourage you to do some research before you head out. There are numerous websites, books and other references you can use to prepare yourself. This way you will know what you need to get started, how to avoid picking a poisonous plant and what special and delicious recipes you can make with it. Take us along all your adventures using #worldofweltevree.