Skip to content

The Lost Art of Foraging and How To Start

There are literally thousands of plants, berries, mushrooms and assorted other things to forage for in the woods, and no one should expect to be able to identify them right away.

Author: Beka Garris

Start Small

There are literally thousands of plants, berries, mushrooms and assorted other things to forage for in the woods, and no one should expect to be able to identify them right away. As someone who has been foraging for most of my life, I still stick to what I know and if I have any doubts as to what it is I don’t pick it. Start with a common mushroom such as morels or chicken of the woods, or a fruit such as persimmon and mulberry. Not only are they easily identifiable, but there are no poisonous look a likes. Mushrooms such as chanterelles and oysters for example, have several toxic look alikes and thus should only be picked if you are 100% sure that you have a positive ID.

Identification Books

These are always a great idea to have on hand, even if you like to look things up on your phone the internet world can be full of misinformation and can also be confusing. Investing in a good identification book can be extremely helpful, and I have found it to be a better learning tool than the internet. You can choose to carry a book with you while hunting, or bring your foraged foods back home before identifying them. Check out Peterson’s Guides as well as Audubon Guides as a starting point.

I would also like to make a note here, that it’s always a good idea to carry a cloth or mesh bag in your backpack or pocket while walking or hunting in the woods – cheap laundry bags from the dollar store make great bags to carry mushrooms in! Plus they weigh nothing to pack in with you.

Types of Food To Forage

No matter where you live in the United States, there are many easy edible plants and mushrooms to forage for and there is something to look for in every season. Here is a list of a few common ones I find in Ohio that I suggest taking a look at and searching for. Keep in mind that many of these are season specific so keep that in mind when you go out looking!

Morel Mushrooms (probably the most foraged mushroom out there)

Chicken mushrooms

Pheasantback mushrooms

Autumn olive


Wild Blackberry

Wild Raspberry


Elderberry (needs to be cooked)



Wild onions

Wild garlic


Clearly there are many more options, however these offer a great starting point!


Knowing how to prepare your foraged foods is key – some things such as elderberry need to be cooked before consuming or it will make you sick. Yet other things like dandelions, are best when turned into some other dish such as fritters or jelly. Most berries can be eaten plain, or made into pies and jams. Mushrooms are often best sauteed into a dish or fried.

If you come across a lot of a specific mushroom/berry etc. it’s also usually fairly easy to preserve them as well. Nearly everything I forage for can be frozen in some way or another, and it’s a great way to preserve your harvest for later in the season.

Just Go For It

It may seem like a lot of information to take in at first, however especially if you are someone who enjoys hiking, hunting, or anything that puts you in the woods for periods of time – you will sooner or later come across some type of forage-able food. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is no time like now to start obtaining knowledge and becoming more self sufficient when it comes to food!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published..


Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping

Select options