I have been foraging for many years now, and mushroom hunting for a few shorter than that and over those years I have noticed somethings about these hobbies and ways of life. First though let me say that doing either is not for everyone nor for the faint of heart or one of unsound mind. If you make a mistake on identification or the wrong part of the plant you can either get very sick, put into a coma, or die. Then there are the environmental risk factors involved. Things like snakes, wolfs, bears, mountain lions, etc. just depending on where you live. Some plants can cause irritating rashes, sting and burn, poke with thorns, or just be a general nuisance to your legs as you walk through. All of these things aside it can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, and most times the risks above are very easily minimized as well.
However there is one thing that remains with mushroom hunting that doesn't exist with foraging for edible plants. That's the fact that mushroom hunting is a gamble. You cannot guarantee you are going to get anything at all, or even see a mushroom. You may check a hundred trees and walk 5 miles. The whole time walking by hundreds of edible plants. Things like Nettles, Greenbriars, Bramble, Garlic Mustard, Water Cress, Violets, Wild Leeks, Wild Onions, Spicebush, Sassafras, Wood Sorrel, Cattail, and more could be right underneath your nose. Speaking of which, I frequently go out to hunt mushrooms but usually come back with plants, fruits, or nuts instead. With all the calories that one spends doing all the walking while mushroom hunting to most likely come home empty handed it only makes sense to actually come home with some food even if it isn't what you set out for. My most recent YouTube video shows this very well. Within a few hundred square foot area I found Violets, Spicebush, Greenbriars, Nettle, Cleavers, Polygonums, Garlic Mustard and more. All this would have provided a substantial amount of food and drink for a couple people for a couple days.
That brings another thing to point between mushroom hunting and foraging. In all the distance you cover mushroom hunting you might only have to cover half of that while foraging and most of the work is picking plant parts for food instead of walking so it's also a lot less demanding of calories. Though nothing beats the excitement of finding a huge patch of Morels or a nice cluster of Oysters. Nothing sucks more than looking for food and coming home empty handed when you didn't have to come home empty handed. Many mushrooms depend on very certain environmental conditions to grow and grow well especially. Where as plants only really depend on seasons. For example; every spring in mid April I can guarantee there will be Cattail shoots near lakes and ponds, Garlic Mustard will be out and easy to find, Nettles will be growing on creek bottoms. I can never guarantee that I will find a Morel or Spring Oyster underneath or on an Elm, Poplar, or Ash tree. Which can be a big problem for some because that gamble represents a waste of time. So if you're not the gambling type or get sick of hunting for mushrooms for food and coming home empty handed. Start picking edible plants that you know how to identify, harvest and, prepare properly. Not only will it help you feel better for not completely wasting your time, you will become a bit healthier by the addition of more vegetables and greens in your diet too.
Check out the video that shows you the differences between foraging edible plants and mushroom hunting below!
Hey guys, I'm Josh. I'd Like to welcome you to the Trillium: WE blog. Here I'll share things with you like wild food meal ideas, harvesting tips, conservation of wild plants, wild plant book reviews, and more! I'll also be including pictures from scrapped videos for entertainment purposes as well. Stay tuned!
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