How to Go On a Foraging Hunt
Easter is this weekend. And with it comes the requisite Easter egg hunts full of crowds of crying kids and grass-stained clothes.
We’re proposing a different way to celebrate the holiday this year. Instead of hunting for single-use plastic eggs full of candy, head to the woods for a real adventure—foraging for plants and mushrooms! A foraging hunt is more exciting, it’s better for the environment (and your health), adults can participate without raising eyebrows, it’s the perfect springtime activity, and it engages the kiddos in real-life experiences. Plus, if Easter isn’t your thing, foraging has zero to do with the holiday.
Here’s how to plan your own foraging hike.
Grab some guidebooks
The entire point of foraging is being able to eat what you pick. And that requires 100% accuracy and confidence that you are selecting the right plants. Because, you know, the wrong plants are poisonous to eat! Bring along some foraging pocket guides and constantly refer to them as you go. We’re partial to Foraging in North America by Tom Anderson, and Start Mushrooming by Stan Tekiela.
Carry an Easter basket
Brightly-colored wicker baskets aren’t just for fake plastic grass and plastic eggs. They’re the perfect tool for collecting mushrooms because they protect them while allowing good air circulation.
Wear an Easter bonnet
Just like the baskets, Easter bonnets aren’t just for parades and Facebook photos. They’re a fashionable and practical accessory to bring along on your hunt. They’ll keep the sun and sweat off your face.
Know what you’re looking for
Don’t go blindly into the woods—do your homework first! If you have a hankering for something like dandelion leaves or wild grapes, there’s a high probability you can find some. But if you’re searching after the elusive morel mushroom, read up on the habitats they grow in, and bring along a basket full of patience.
Foraging is a tad different than letting kids run wild on a groomed lawn—always remember Leave No Trace principles! Stay on the trail until you spot your plant, then minimize trampling surrounding plants as you harvest. Be respectful of those who will forage after you and don’t take everything you find.
Have a feast!
As tempting as it may be, do not eat anything you forage while on your hunt! Your harvest should be carefully rechecked against photos and washed before you can cook it. But then! Feast away! Make a foraged greens and mushroom fettuccine. Chanterelle soup. Foraged greens pesto. The possibilities are endless! And it will taste that much better because you and your family picked the ingredients yourself.