Tips for learning how to forage

Ville vekster i byenMore and more people are rediscovering the ancient art of foraging. I find this to be a very exciting field, and even if I can identify some plants, there is still a lot more to learn.

To learn more about wild plants that grow in the city I signed up fpr a course organized by Nabolagshager here in Oslo. They have a large selection of courses, amongst others the one called “Wild food in the city” by Nina Berge.

The course lasted a couple of hours and we went through some of the more common plants that we find during spring and early summer. This course was teoretical and we were only in the class room and looked at photoes of the plants on the presentation.

I knew a lot of the plants already, like dandelion, stingy nettle, sorrel, bishop’s weed, yarrow, lady’s mantle, ramsons and oregano. So some of this was repetition of stuff I knew, but some plants were also new to me, like barbarea, caraway, fireweed, lamb’s quarters, chickenweed and warty-cabbage. We also learned tips and tricks for determining the plants and we got to hear storys around foraging.

To get some more practical experience in finding and determining the plants that are new to me, I signed up for a plant walk arranged by Oslo og omland sopp- og nyttevekstforening. Edle Catharina Norman was leading the walk around Bygdøy in Oslo. She showed us somewhere around 40 plants, and many of these were completely new to me. I will not be able to remember all these plants stright away, but I also don’t aim to do that.

For me, the most important thing was to get a confirmation that I can identify the plants that I think I know. And also to learn to determine a few new once so I can start harvesting those too. This year the new plants that I will focus on are wild onion, garlic mustard and warty-cabbage, possibly caraway.

There are plenty of courses like these, both theoretical and practical, if you are interested in learning more about foraging. Going into nature with someone that knows the plants, is a great way to get first-hand experience yourself. You get to see where the plants grow, touch, smell and taste them. That way it is much easier to go foraging on your own later. I am definitely looking forwards to the season and am ready to start foraging new plants.

 

One Comment

  1. I absolutely love foraging. I mainly forage for mushrooms – I am obsessed with them! But also fruit (blueberries, blackberries, wild strawberries) and a few plants (wild garlic, nettle). I would love to expand my knowledge of edible wild plants as I know there are hundreds out there!

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