My husband and I just bought a small homestead and moved in late last spring. This year, we are seeing for the first time lots of familiar looking plants that I think might be edibles, but I have no clue what I'm doing and don't want to poison my family. Anyone know of any good resources we could use to figure out what these things are and if they are safe? We live in northeast Ohio if that's helpful at all.
Hi Lexirain. Since you confess that you don't have a clue about foraging, I would personally suggest that you begin slowly. I would also suggest working with books for identification and to partner up with someone who is experienced. Also, I would suggest that you begin with nuts or fruits and leave the roots, fungi, and greens alone until you gain experience. Hopefully you work with others who can show you the way. Plants that look familiar may be familiar to you, yes, but they also may be toxic!! For example, mistaking poison hemlock for wild carrot would be a fatal error. Be safe and cautious -- when you do 'sample', go slowly to make sure your system is tolerant even when you have identified wild foods.
In Ohio, toxic and edible plants can be found. When you begin your research, look at the flora/fauna specific to your region. Also, research what the Natives subsisted on.
My favorite foraging books are by Samuel Thayer. Another good book is by Kallas. Most of my foraging was learned from my mother and grandfather. I'm a 4th generation forager and still learning about wild foods.
Petersons Field Guides - Full of pics and there's a symbol key to tell u what the plant can be used for, however no recipes.
You also ask your local librarain if they know of any wildcrafting groups in yoru area. Perhaps a local colledge might have classes, as well as your local extension office.
Let us know how u made out.
My favorite advice for most homesteading questions is to find an old-timer--someone who's been doing this all their life.
Next, field guides. I started with Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons and from there went to Peterson's.
Have fun and be safe,