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Discover the Benefits of Local Wild Edible Plants

by Brett Mayette

When wild foods are referenced, it is usually in connection with a restaurant (often high end) promoting a farm to table/foraged menu. While foraged foods are often featured menu items, they aren’t necessarily special, and it does’t take a professional chef or foraging expert to select and prepare these delicacies.

Educating oneself about nutrient dense wild foods is a straightforward and empowering activity. Many plants that are healthier to eat than most cultivated ones naturally grow in yards or local neighborhoods. For example, the seaweed that entangles legs when swimming in the summer is a super food source easily available locally.

The human body makes 30,000 different proteins in order to function properly. A diverse vitamin- and mineral-rich plant diet is full of the phytonutrient raw materials that help make these proteins which have been recognized as one of the primary foundations of a preventative health lifestyle. Wild foraged foods are an easy way to add this diversity to one’s diet.

Wild plants are generally found growing in areas with partial to full sun. These include open pastures, empty lots, meadows and farms. Before foraging, be sure the sites are clean and unpolluted. A great option is to become friendly with the local farmer or neighborhood gardener. Many of the weeds that they pull and discard are healthy to eat.

Identifying common edible plants is not difficult. There are numerous books and plenty of information is available online for the self-educator. For hands-on personal guidance, seek out local experts that teach and share this vital knowledge.

Another consideration is to cultivate one’s own wild edible garden. Over the course of a growing season, gardeners can easily grow 20 to 30 delicious nutrient-dense plants along with other standard vegetables in a tucked-away corner of the yard. Both annual and perennial plants make it easy to supplement a diet with these edibles year-round, a simple way to greatly enhance one’s personal health.

Brett Mayette is a passionate cook, organic grower, forager, herbalist and owner of Conscious Cuisine—Enjoying Wild Plants for Better Health. This unique business, in West Greenwich, educates and informs about the importance of using wild foraged plants in the modern diet through cooking classes and demonstrations. For more information, call 401-580-6919 or visit ConsciousCuisineRI.com