The Basics of Foraged Food

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When summer rolls around I feel like I exist in a green hum. Pollinators abound and there is so much energy in every plant and creature. Everything seems to be enveloped in a warm glow. I find myself on walks smelling the flowers and taking too many pictures of bees while they are hard at work. Something I more recently became aware of, is that the summer season is packed full with fruits and herbs to forage in woodlands, fields, and lowland. Discovering foraged food is simple, once you know what to look for.

hands holding elderflowers

I didn’t know that many of the plants I love to stop and stare at are actually edible and beneficial for your body. I love being out in nature and finding plants like Yarrow or Raspberries. Both of these wonderful plants have leaves that make delicious teas that have many benefits to your body and they are plentiful. Plus, they are just two of many of the wonderful plants to be found. 

Below are a bunch of different foraged foods: fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants that you can find in the summer months. Plus you’ll find our favorite resources for identifying, gathering, and preparing what you forage at the end of the post!


There are a number of delicious edible foods to be foraged. Whether it be mushrooms, berries, or herbs, there is a whole world of food to be discovered when you know what to look for. Here are a few of our favorite foraged foods:

  • Oyster mushrooms 
  • Wild blueberry
  • Currants 
  • Wild grapes 
  • Raspberries 
  • Mulberries 

Looking for more information about mushrooms? Learn how to forage mushrooms with our dandy guide.

Medicinal Plants 

When it comes to natural remedies, you can often find everything you need from the land around you. Foraging for healing plants and medicinal plants is a great way to get started with foraging. Here are a few things to hun fort: 

  • Elderflower and berry
  • Yarrow
  • Raspberry leaves 
  • Mullein 
  • Goldenrod
  • Blackberry leaves
  • Mulberry Leaves 
  • Dandelion Root 

The Benefits of Foraging

black raspberries

Raspberry leaf: Raspberry leaf is known to be beneficial for women’s health. It can help to reduce menstrual cramp pain and support fertility. The leaves have been used since ancient times to prepare for birth and breastfeeding. It has a very pleasant flavor and works well dried and brewed into tea. It also shares some of the same properties as Blackberry leaves.

unripe blackberries on a bush

Blackberry leaf: Blackberry leaf can help to soothe sore throats and aid with gastrointestinal issues. 

elderflower blossom

Elderberry: Elderberry is a powerhouse of antioxidants and is a bigtime immune booster. It is great in tea but the berries can also be made into a syrup best taken during the fall and winter months during cold and flu season to fight off infection. Elderberry bushes like wetlands like marshes and grow well around ponds, but are not limited to these areas. I have found them both in the country and in urban park environments. 

wild grapes

Yarrow: Yarrow leaves and flowers can be dried for tea and also added to healing salves to help reduce bruises. The leaves and flowers can be made into a poultice and applied to wounds to stop bleeding. So cool, right? 

Mullein: Mullein is very good for respiratory infections. When brewed into tea it promotes a productive cough. Mullein is prolific, but I have found it mostly in fields as it loves full sun. The leaves are fuzzy and soft and are shaped like lamb’s ears. The flower, which only comes out during the second year of growth, shoots up super tall and has the loveliest little yellow flowers. Both the leaves and flowers can be used for medicinal purposes. 

a log full of turkey tail mushroom

Turkey Tail Mushrooms: Also great for boosting your immune system, Turkey Tail is best when made into an alcohol based tincture. You can also dry it and use it in tea or broth, but it doesn’t have the most pleasant flavor. Turkey Tail has a long history as a plant medicine and has been used in traditional Chinese medicinal practices for hundreds of years. 

Wild Blueberries: Blueberries are scientifically proven to boost cognitive health and are packed full of antioxidants. If a fruit or vegetable is bright and rich in color, that’s a good sign that it’s packed with nutrients. Blueberries are also just super delicious, so if you’re lucky enough to find a patch of this foraged food, definitely take advantage of it. 

Mulberry leaves: Mulberry leaves can be good for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. This can help fight illnesses like diabetes. Mulberry trees grow in many different soils and locations. I have found at least eight in my local park here in Chicago.  

Dandelion Root: Dandelion Root can be harvested at any time during its growing season and is great dried, roasted, then added to tea. Dandelion Root can be used to help aid in digestion and improve liver function. Dandelions are fun and easy to forage, because they are bountiful and so easy to identify. Also, simply being around Dandelions in bloom is a total mood booster, because of their sun yellow flowers and watching the pollinators collect their nectar and pollen. 

What You’ll Need


Helpful Hints

One of my favorite ways of finding new plants is just exploring. I use an app called “PictureThis” that helps me identify plants that I am curious about. I’ll then double check each one before I gather with a quick search on the web, or in one of my favorite foraging books. I am still learning so much about what’s edible and beneficial, and I’ve been blown away by how many of the plants I identify are both of those things. I truly think foraging is one of the most fulfilling ways of being in nature. 

Plants are really powerful healers, and while they are not a replacement for modern medicine, I believe they have a place alongside it, to aid in everyday ailments. If nothing else, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. So, even if your natural tea blend doesn’t get rid of that pesky headache, it’s aiding in creating a healthier and happier body. 

*This is not professional medical advice and we are not doctors. Please use your own discretion when foraging and consuming plants you have found. It is at your own risk.

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