A guide to foraging
There are a few simple but vital guidelines for foraging safely and sustainably. In essence, take only what you need, waste nothing, and help to promote the preservation and growth of more wild spaces for future foragers.
The number one rule is never to consume a plant without double checking its identification. Do not try to force fit an identification, no matter how much you may want a plant to be the one you’re looking for. Always use a good native plant guidebook and check a plant’s ID, feature by feature, from leaf shape to bud, bloom and so on.
Some people may be allergic
to certain herbs, so be aware and carefully taste-test a little of each new plant 48 hours before tucking in. Get to know your local flora. Go on guided plant walks with a local naturalist, forager or herbalist who can show you the edible and poisonous plants in real life, so you get a good feel for them and know what to avoid. There are many poisonous plants in the wild that are easily avoided once you know them. Look for local herbalists or permaculture groups for walks, or check out the Field Studies Council (FSC) and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), which often run courses.
Get permission before
harvesting. In many public open spaces in the UK, endangered flora is protected and foraging is prohibited for very good conservation reasons. But generally you don’t need permission to pick the fruits, flowers and foliage of most wild plants for your own