November 29, 2018

Foraging Tips for Safety

Protect Yourself

  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Avoid foraging alone in case of animal run-ins or injuries.
  • Wear long pants and sleeves to avoid sun exposure/thorns/insects/etc.
  • Waterproof boots will not only protect your feet from water, but also from other items on the forest floor.
  • Bring along:
    • Gloves for harvesting
    • Hats and sunblock to prevent sunburns
    • A belt or bag for your harvesting tools to keep your hands free
    • Plenty of water and snacks to prevent dehydration and fatigue
    • Bags and containers for safely transporting your foraged items back home

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Keep an eye out for signs and sounds of nearby wildlife.
  • Watch for plants like poison ivy and poison oak.
  • Ant mounds, wasp nests, spiders etc. can be very well hidden.
  • Always check your footing to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Check your map/route to avoid getting lost.
  • Watch for any changes in the weather to avoid getting caught in dangerous situations.

Test for Reactions

  • Be mindful of your body – only add one or two new wild edibles to your diet per week.
  • Test your body’s reaction by preparing a small sample. Wait a full 24 hours before consuming any more to watch for signs of a reaction.

A few others to keep in mind

  • Every “rule of thumb” has exceptions (i.e. if a deer eats it, you can – not always true).
  • Learn to identify the poisonous plants in the area as well to avoid mixing them up with harmless types.
  • Document any of your findings for future reference or in case of a reaction.

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