How foraging for wild edibles can heal your Mind, Body & Soul

in ecoTrain24 days ago

Foraging is a natural & innate human behavior that we are already programmed with for our survival, at the same time its a skill that must be taught properly; to be sure you are identifying plants correctly and also picking respectfully, the activity itself becomes extremely rewarding, helps you to reconnect with nature, walking outside breathing the fresh air and exercising the body, at the same time coming home with something delicious to make for meal times.

There were times I felt like I was in an extremely low place and foraging for wild edibles really lifted me up, it gave me a reason to get outside and I would always feel a lot better afterwards.

Not only that but since I became much more aware about where conventional food comes from, the amount of pesticides and fertilizers being used, and how far food was being shipped around the world and the effect this has on biodiversity and the environment, I wanted to have more local options but didn't have a garden to grow my own, I was forced to forage.

Foraging for wild edibles has been an almost daily practice for me, which has particularly intensified over the last 2 years since living in Spain, the realization that there is so much out there that's edible, useful and free, has not only saved me money but also my physical health & well being.

This year has been extremely fruitful since the weather has been more natural, more rain came this year in northern Spain and I'm almost certain it is due to less air pollution from the lockdown situation. Seeing the sky blue with no plane (chem) trails like they used be when I was a kid, is not only visually pleasing but I've also experienced noticeable effect on my mood & health. I've felt much more calm and less agitated, I wonder if you have also noticed a personal and environmental effects in your area?

The extra rain has meant big juicy blackberries, I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but this blackberry was much bigger than the others, the berries were also extra sweet. The best i've ever tasted in my life.

20200803_185338.jpg

Berries are an essential part of a human diet since they contain so many antioxidants however most 'farmed' berries are grown with pesticides & fertilizers. I often try to stay clear of strawberries which are in the dirty dozen.

Wild berries tend to have higher antioxidant content in comparison to their farm-raised counterparts. I have fond memories of my Austrian grandpa going into the forest and bringing back buckets of wild blueberries and the red currents growing in the garden, how happy it used to make me, little did I know that it was extremely healthy for me. I think berries are by far one of my favorite foods.

20200803_190030.jpg

This year I made my first blackberry nice cream by freezing the blackberries and blending them with a few bananas to give them a creamier texture, you can experiment with syrups and other berries or fruit, milks & nuts.

20200811_114227.jpg

This year was the first time I tried mulberries (I think) since I can't remember ever having them before yet the taste of mulberries somehow brings back some nostalgic memories that I can exactly pin point, just a feeling... they are sweet yet tart, very complex and deep rich flavor, they definitely are natures candies.

20200813_103931.jpg

This mulberry tree was in my friends garden so not exactly wild but defiantly fresh and left to grow naturally. The ants were also enjoying some of the fruits.

20200813_104222.jpg

Picking mulberries is quite messy, a bright red juice squirts out, the berries that you can easily pull off are not quite ready and the ones that drop off are, however as you try to pull them its already too late and your hand is covered in red juice. Actually these berries would make a delicious cordial since the flavor is very strong like syrup.

IMG_20200817_142915_217.jpg

I put a few in my breakfast bowl along with other fruits and berries. I also tried mulberries in a vegan pancake and that was absolutely delicious!

IMG_20200817_142915_219.jpg

I'm now currently in the south of Spain and there are pomegranates grown everywhere but as you can see below they are not quite ready, the season is coming soon which is exciting. There are quite a few pomegranates with holes in them which is apparently due to tree rats.

20200813_150801.jpg

Right now i'm loving all the figs everywhere although I can't eat too much of them because it make me go :) hehehe

20200815_191129.jpg

Fig tree are extremely fruitful and grow wild happily, often people just leave the figs to dry up and fall off. I get the impression the local people are bored of them, as they are so abundant?

20200815_192049.jpg

Almond Season is just beginning, fresh almonds are insanely delicious, sweet, silky, nutty and also a favorite of the tree rat who will spend the nights scratching the nuts open against the trees. This is what wild food is about also sharing it with wild animals.

20200825_174525.jpg

Yesterday I cracked open about 20 nuts which is enough to make a litre of nut milk, making your own is much better since commercial almond milk production uses a lot of water not to mention the milk is stabilized and heated at high temperatures for storage. Almonds are great for healthy fats and since nuts are relatively expensive its amazing to be able to forage fresh wild ones.

There is so much more available to forage depending on the season, this was just a few photos taken in the last couple of weeks. I would be interesting to know what is growing in your local area now? Do let me know if you enjoy foraging, or have you never done it before but are interested in starting? Let me know in the comments below:

Sort:  

You have found some true gems!

I used to go to the forest to pick blackberries too! My legs were scratched like never before but I was happy and satisfied. My mom would bake a cake with my blackberries and I would feel proud that I helped to feed the family :)

My grandma had a huge and healthy mulberry tree in the garden. I remember that we had tons of mulberries each year and I was fed up with them. At that time we didn't know how healthy they were. I was simply fed up because we put them everywhere as we couldn't somehow finish them. There were too many. Then for some reason my uncle cut down the tree and I feel sorry that I didn't appreciate what I had when I had it. I think he cut it down because it is quite messy in the garden when you have mulberries. When they fall on the ground they attract different insects and everything is dirty.

I still remember that my hands were dirty for a couple of days when we were picking them up :) The best way is to lay a huge blanket on the ground, climb up the tree, shake the tree and let the mulberries fall on the blanket :) Easy and probably the cleanest way how to do it.

Thank you for sharing! Great post!

wow thank you for this tip, i should definitely try the blanket and shake technique!
That is a very sad story about the mulberry tree being cut down 😢 its funny how we humans don't appreciate what we got til its gone

you did it! well done ;_) lovely berries you got there... i think that banana cream one would do the job right now for me! (39 degrees today!)

xx

i know me too! no freezer where I am at the moment tho :( so i can only dream

 24 days ago 

Gosh, this brings back memories!
Your post has been featured in the Lotus Garden newsletter, which will be published tomorrow.

Curated for #naturalmedicine by @minismallholding.


The Lotus Garden is a newsletter supporting content relevant to Homesteaders & supported by Natural Medicine. Earn LOTUS & HIVE for your #homesteading content!
About II Discord II Community

Thank you!

This post has been submitted to the OCD community curation initiative.. supporting great posts in the ecoTrain community! Congrats and keep posting great content! Large upvotes incoming! <3

thank you!

Thank you for sharing such great content with the ecoTrain community! We have featured your post in our weekly What's Up! curation. Please do stop by and drop a comment.. you may also spot some great people to connect with!

https://peakd.com/hive-123046/@ecotrain/what-s-up-from-the-ecotrain-community-on-hive-qfs657

Right there with your thinking. Though physically speaking we are on the french side of the Pyrenees.

Have been foraging daily for a few months now and I've noticed how I can always stretch further than I think i can! Almost like the human body is designed for exactly this purpose. Yet most of us will never know the full potential of our stretching ability!

We added to our future food forest yesterday ;)

IMG3310.jpg