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Picking Wild Berries

Foraging is a hot new trend – and is quickly becoming a way of life for many people. Perhaps no other type of foraging is so appealing to such a wide variety of people than picking wild berries. And no wonder; wild berries are scrumptious, as fresh as they get, free, and highly nutritious! What’s not to like?

Know Your Berries

Before you go foraging, it’s vital to make sure you can properly identify edible berries. Not every wild berry is safe for human consumption, and many are not all that tasty. A good foraging guide for your general area is helpful in narrowing down the possibilities. Better yet, get together with someone who’s been foraging berries for years. Never eat any wild plant or berry unless you are absolutely certain you’ve identified it properly.

What to Bring

Those of us who love to forage always have a few bags in the car, in our pockets, or in our purse – and ordinary plastic or cloth bags work fine for berry picking, too. (Just be aware that berries are bound to stain cloth bags.) Buckets with handles are the preference of many people, but make sure they aren’t too big. If you fill a large bucket with berries, the berries on top will crush the ones on the bottom. Besides, large buckets of berries are also very heavy. Instead, opt for several smaller containers.

It’s also smart to wear a long sleeved shirt and pants, since many wild berries have thorns. Also bring along some wet hand wipes, to clean your berry-stained hands when the picking is over.

Where to Pick

It’s fine to forage berries in an urban area. Just make sure you’re not on someone else’s property (or you’ll be stealing). Berries that overhang the sidewalk are a gray area, but it’s generally a good idea to find somewhere else to pick. Also, be aware that some briars and bushes may have been sprayed with chemical weed killers.

You can also find berries in wilderness areas. Just make sure you’re on public land.

What to Do With Them

Most of the common berries, like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are terrific eaten fresh. Put them in cereal, yogurt, or cool drinks. Or add them to pancakes and muffins, crisps and pies. Other wild berries are generally more palatable with cooked with other, sweeter berries, or with added sugar. You’ll know ‘em when you taste ‘em! Use these for baked desserts and jams.

For great berry recipes, visit our sister site, GourmetRecipe.com

Posted by on July 10, 2012.

Tags: ,

Categories: Cooking, Health and Life, Recipes

25 Responses

  1. I loved picking wild strawberries in the mountains as a kid, and then mom would make them into jams. She never taught me how to do it, though, now I am really interested how to make them. Do you know any website with instructions on how to make strawberry jams?

    by Gigi on Jul 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

  2. Thanks for the tip! blueberries are my favorite but since the location where i forage berries is not that near in our place do you have any tips on how to preserve them ? thanks again

    by Carol on Jul 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

  3. A little risky about picking some wild berries but still those tips and helpful ways are just perfect for foraging. Nice article!!!

    by mia on Jul 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

  4. You are definitely right. It would be best to know your berries first. Who knows you may even be allergic to some variety of wild berries since there are a lot of ‘em out there. Nice recipes for the berries!

    by Maria on Jul 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

  5. This post really inspired me to go pick some wild berries with my kids. That could be a unique way for us to bond. And then we’ll make jams and other things together. You gave a wonderful idea for the weekend. Thank you so much.

    by Judith on Jul 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

  6. We are lucky in our part of the northwoods of WI to have an abundance of wild berries growing right on our property, wild blackberries and wild strawberries. We pick wild strawberries every year and make a variety of recipes out of it.

    by Tammie on Jul 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

  7. I have wild berries and wild grapes in my yard. Thanks for the information. I’ll be following what you’ve posted on this page.

    by jamie on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  8. Considering the sweetness and tastiness of berries this season. You can even, make many recipes out of it.

    by sophia on Jul 12, 2012 at 12:32 am

  9. Thanks for sharing some of your brilliant ideas in making a very good berry recipes. I do really appreciate it so much!

    by lilian on Jul 12, 2012 at 12:36 am

  10. One of my favorite blueberry recipe is — BLUEBERRY SPICE CAKE! I’ve learned that to GOURMETRECIPE food site…Love its taste, PERFECT!

    by jhazminever0326 on Jul 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

  11. Dewberries. Some just call em blackberries. They grow all over the southeastern states. Especially plentiful at the edges of the woods along roads and cleared lots that have begun to return to nature.

    by commetsadmin on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

  12. I like to just pick them and eat them while I’m going. Where they grow at that I eat them isn’t a place where people are dropping pesticides, fertilizer, and dangerous chemicals. My question is how safe is that?

    by commetsadmin on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  13. Before i though its just alright to just go out there and pick some berries , this article gave me some very reliable tips .

    by barbara on Jul 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm

  14. Very useful tips , will definitely forage berries later and make a dessert out of it . thanks for sharing .

    by Ethel on Jul 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

  15. I have wild berries on my yard too.. maybe I should pick them since I have already read your article. thanks for your tips and ideas about berries. It has an advantage for us viewers cause we are learning from your posts.

    by Cherie_00 on Jul 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

  16. As a forager, the most important piece of information is the edibility of the fruit or berry, and that is clearly noted with an additional band next to the color tab indicating whether the specimen is edible, not edible, delicious, or toxic. With this blog it helps me more… a lot!!!

    by kean on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

  17. Don’t forget to wear long pants and hiking shoes! Also remember that berries WILL stain your clothes, so be sure to wear clothes you can afford to be stained. And don’t forget those thorns. Of course, not all of them berries have thorns, but be prepared anyways.

    by Rhoan on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

  18. Its been a while since the last time we picked berries on my grandfather’s backyard. We even play around on that place. I also watched my mom on how to make blue berry jams. But the time I saw this article, it added more knowledge how interesting berries are. Thanks to your post!

    by faye on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm

  19. At first I didn’t know what is foraging is all about. But then as my friend recommended me this site, it became interesting to me what is the importance of FORAGING. Even make me interested on how to pick some berries in the wild…Thank you so much to your brilliant post!

    by ethel on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm

  20. cereal, yogurt, cool drinks, pancakes , muffins, crisps and pies i don’t like it if it doesn’t have blueberries on it. really like theses tips author. thanks for sharing

    by Sophy on Jul 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  21. Picking wild berries is somewhat dangerous. And thanks for this article I read, I already have an idea about it , It was very good to read cause it gives a lot of lessons.

    by Sheena on Jul 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

  22. A little risky about picking some wild berries with my kids but yet it’s a unique way for us to bond. It just so wonderful to be with someone important in your life. Nice article!!! Thank you so much!!!

    by Joh on Jul 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

  23. I’m a berry watcher too! We have these Himalayans blackberries here that are considered an invasive species, but are good eating and good for jam. It usually takes a herd of goats to eat them down to the nub to get rid of them.

    by Gale on Jul 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

  24. Pickling wild food is not dangerous – as long as you only pick food you can positively identify. This is why I suggest taking along a knowledgeable friend, or consulting field guides. :)

    by admin on Jul 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

  25. This is an inspiring article for my kids and it gives me a wonderful idea for the weekdays after school. Blueberries are of my fav fruit since then and my kids love it too that’s why I’m going to teach them how to pick some wild berries. Thanks with this article because it taught me so much. Thanks!!

    by Jenna on Jul 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

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