Of the myriad of things nature grows, we only cultivate a relative handful in our farming systems. But there is a world full of edible plants out there.
Making the most of nature
Our backyards, fields, forests and seashores are just waiting for us to munch on them.
Green (and colourful) little fellows are growing as we speak, full of nutrients and taste that we can enjoy if we know where to look. The issue is: we generally don't.
Luckily for us there are some people out there who keep the knowledge of foraging alive, and we want to help you connect with it.
Pesto made from foraged greens
- Find It, Eat It by Michael Daly --- A great NZ guide, easy to use. Covers 52 plants, and gives many recipes.
- Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos --- Although written in America, this book is accessible and contains many plants that also appear in New Zealand.
- A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New Zealand by Andrew Crowe ---a comprehensive guide including fungi and seaweeds, well illustrated.
- A map of NZ foraging spots
- Julia's Edible Weeds contains a list of edible weeds, plus information on the workshops she runs, and a link to her downloadable ebook which can be a great resource to have on your phone while you're wandering around outside.
- Johanna Knox's collection of websites, including Wild Picnic, Wild Concoctions, and A Forager's Treasury (also the name of her book).
Blackberries foraged in February
So what weeds and wild plants can I eat?
If you know what you're looking for you can find free ingredients for salads, sandwiches, teas, pestos, sauces, stir fries and more! Edible plants that grow freely as weeds include:
- Onion weed
- Red dead nettle
- NZ spinach
- Only pick and eat something if you are 100% sure of what it is
- Make sure you have land owner's permission if on private rather than public land
- Be careful not to eat sprayed plants from council properties - look for indications of spraying (dying yellow plants), signage, or ask your local council for a spray schedule so you can safely time your foraging
Foraging is a wonderful, exciting thing. You get to spend time in nature, rediscover connections with the land, feed yourself, and enjoy an adventure by yourself or with family and friends.
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