With the rising costs of groceries and incredibly higher prices of produce in Arkansas, there is little relief for struggling families wanting healthier diets.
Last year in one study by the American Dietetic Association, researchers found that healthier food really does cost more.
“…junk foods not only cost less than fruits and vegetables, but junk food prices also are less likely to rise as a result of inflation.” NY Times
Foragers, or wild food gatherers are hobbyists fighting the trend and winning. Not only do they find natural, healthy food, they find it free.
Online, foragers help each other identify and educate one another about the different varieties of edible plants available around the country; and this includes, berries, nuts, fresh greens and more.
Unfortunately, NW Arkansas has no such group. People are still going solo while foraging for wild food and though this is still enjoyable, it’s better to have a second or third opinion when attempting to identify wild edibles. Never eat a plant you are not sure of.
A few local plants can be found in plentiful supply and trim a bit off not only the grocery bill, but the waistline as well.
There are several different varieties of Rumex available in NW Arkansas. These are edible greens with high fiber and nutrient content.
The common sorrel or dock plant can be found virtually everywhere. It’s best to take the youngest leaves, because as the leaves age they also become a bitter. It can be boiled, stir fried or used in salads, just as spinach or any other green.
Curly dock (or yellow dock) is a common plant known as an invasive weed. The plant is high in oxalic acid and should be cooked in a few changes of water before consuming.
The plantago is another common weed, inconspicuous for the most part, but plentiful and quite tasty if you cook it right.
Watch Green Deane’s video about Plantago.
Once you start foraging, the activity becomes addictive. It’s a healthy addiction that not only cuts down on your food cost, but gets you out into the fresh air and if your lucky, allows you to interact with other members of the community.