Get foraging with VILD MAD
Foraging doesn’t require extensive training or expertise to yield safe, delicious bounty. All you need is a little planning, a thoughtful attitude, and the full use of your senses. Whether you’re after specific ingredients, or just the pleasure of spotting food during a stroll, this guide offers important information to consider before leaving home. To make your inaugural trip as fruitful as possible, do the following before reading the rest of the guide, and certainly before you start foraging.
• Select a few ingredients you want to find. Bookmark them in the app for ease of reference.
• Read the “Nature” and “Senses” sections related to each ingredient, and study the pictures carefully so that you can recognize your desired plants in the wild.
How do I harvest ingredients?
Some plants require special techniques and tools for proper harvesting, while others can be twisted or snapped free by hand. Read the relevant guide in the “Encyclopedia” section to learn whether you need specific equipment.
Do the seasons influence foraging?
Nature always has something to offer the intrepid forager, but exactly what you find will be entirely dictated by the time of year. In spring you will find a lot of tender herbs, seaweed, and a few mushrooms. In summer you can still pick herbs and mushrooms, edible flowers, and some berries. Fall is the season of fruit, berries, nuts, and herbs. In winter you can find a few herbs and a bit of seaweed. Some plants have multiple edible parts that become ripe in different seasons. Elder is a good example: you can pick the flowers during the summer, and the berries later in the year. Read about the development of each plant over the course of the year in the “Nature” section of its description. The VILD MAD app and the website will always display plants that are in season.
How do I forage sustainably?
Always be respectful of local ecology when foraging by following these simple rules:
• Take care of the plants you forage. Always read the “Nature” section for each ingredient, so you know how to forage without destroying the plant and ruining its opportunity to reproduce.
• Think about the plant’s life cycle and the next forager. Leave something for the next person, and never pick the last of anything. If all of the elderflowers are picked in the summer, there won’t be any elderberries to forage in the fall.
• Only forage what you need, and use everything you bring home. It is best to forage with a recipe in mind, so you know exactly how much of a wild ingredient you need.
• Harvest each species in an amount that matches its abundance. In other words, forage many plants of the plentiful varieties, but fewer of the more scarce varieties. Plants considered weeds, like stinging nettles and Japanese knotweed, can be harvested liberally. Conversely, show restraint with more scattered plants.
How do I find the plants I want to forage?
Two piece of information are necessary to find specific plants: the type of landscape in which it is found, and the particular conditions it needs to thrive.
• To break down where to find various wild foods, Vild Mad has different topographic categories, called foraging landscapes: cities or towns, open land, forests, and waterways.
• Once you know which kind of landscape to visit, you need to know what conditions the plant prefers, called the foraging place. Does the plant like sunshine or shade? Does it prefer moist or dry soil?
Both the foraging landscape and the foraging place for your desired ingredient can be found in the “Nature” section of its description. Once you are familiar with them, all you need to guide you is your senses.
How do I recognize wild, edible plants?
All plants have distinctive characteristics to the trained forager. If there is any risk of a plant being confused with something dangerous or undesirable, it will be highlighted in the plant’s “Nature” section. If your desired plant can be confused with anything poisonous, take extra care in learning how to spot the difference and avoid harvesting when you have any doubts.
When and where is it illegal to forage?
Information about foraging laws and regulations can be found under “Foraging rules” in the “Encyclopedia” section.
How does the weather influence foraging?
Before foraging, always check the weather forecast and consider the patterns of the last few weeks, as this affects ingredients in two ways:
• Although all plants are seasonal, the recent temperature, precipitation, and wind can affect plant development. These varieties can cause wild food to bloom earlier or later than expected.
• Weather also substantially impacts the condition of the ingredients when you find them. Recent rainfall or a long drought period can mean the difference between firm and flaccid herbs. Moist weather with high temperatures is perfect weather for mushrooms, but can be ruinous to others.