Foraging


FYFO-100 Tip: Why You Should Mostly Skip the Conventional Grocery Stores

Here’s an easy way to lower your grocery costs.  At the start of each week (or whenever your local stores change their sales), check out the sales flyers for any grocery stores near you.  Only check for grocery items that you either use regularly or would use if they were cheap enough.  Make a list for each store in a […]

why you should avoid conventional grocery stores

Wild foods list of each of Samuel Thayer's foraging books: Incredible Wild Edibles, Nature's Garden & The Forager's Harvest

Which Wild Edible Plants Are Covered in Samuel Thayer’s Foraging Books? 2

Samuel Thayer’s foraging books Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest are well loved by foragers, and his upcoming book, Incredible Wild Edibles, promises to be another great resource.  Thayer doesn’t cover the same wild edible foods in any of his books.  Each book goes into great detail about a few dozen wild foods to forage, with new wild edibles in […]


Recipe: Acorn Maple Ice Cream (Paleo & Vegan)

I thought I’d share another acorn recipe from my upcoming acorn book, in case anybody else has a stash of newly foraged acorns waiting to be put to good use.  This is an ice cream recipe I developed, and like the acorn drop biscuit recipe it is also vegan.  There is a traditional acorn ice cream recipe in the book, […]

Acorn Ice Cream (paleo and vegan)

Acorn Drop Biscuits

It’s acorn season, and anybody who follows my Instagram knows that our family has been foraging, processing and cooking with acorns all month.  Acorn processing #fallforaging #forageandharvest #wildedibles #foraging #foragingfamily #septemberforaging #fallflavors #acorns A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on Sep 4, 2017 at 11:04am PDT I made up a batch of acorn drop biscuits last night and they […]

Acorn drop biscuits

It's acorn season!

It’s Acorn Season! 2

Our family has been busy lately with one of our favorite wild edible foods of fall — acorns. Acorn processing #fallforaging #forageandharvest #wildedibles #foraging #foragingfamily #septemberforaging #fallflavors #acorns A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on Sep 4, 2017 at 11:04am PDT Yes, you can eat them, and they are absolutely delicious.  They’re also nutritious and versatile.  You can use […]


It’s Elderberry Season! 2

Daryl and I have been faithfully checking our elder patches for the past few weeks and he brought home a bag of our first elderberry bounty for the year this week. This particular clump of elders is bordering a nursing home that has given us permission to pick their pears and elderberries.  He harvested them in the dark, bless his […]


#fyfo100 checklist of 10 ways to afford organic foods

The Top 10 #FYFO-100 Strategies for Eating Organic for Less

I’ll mostly be focusing on 10 main ways to save money on healthy and organic foods in the FYFO-100 series (Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)). Everybody has different circumstances, so different strategies will be better for different families. You do not need to do all or even most of these to save money, but the more you […]


FYFO- 100: Feed Your Family Organic for $100 a Week (or less!) 2

Yes, you can feed your family healthy, organic, non-GMO food and not go bankrupt doing it! Welcome to FYFO-100, where I’ll share how we feed our family of 7 for around $100 a week. Every few days, I’ll share more tips for how we make it work. You can go all-in and learn skills like foraging or canning, or you […]

FYFO 100 Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)

Elderberries: The Beginner's Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More

Now in Paperback!

  My elderberry book is now available in a paperback edition!  We heard from many people who wanted a physical copy of the book, especially to make use of it while foraging and for the cookbook section.  I worked over the past couple of months to create the best possible paperback version, with black and white photos and illustrations throughout […]


Elderberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Elderflower season is coming to an end and that means elderberry season is coming soon!  Make sure you use some of this year’s elderberry crop to make some elderberry jam and elderberry pie filling, because they’re so wonderful in recipes like elderberry cream cheese cupcakes (and elderberry thumbprint cookies, and elderberry fluff, and elderberry frosting….). We’ve heard from a lot […]

Elderberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

How to make elderflower syrup (or elderflower sparkling wine)!

How to Make Elderflower Soda (or Elderflower Sparkling Wine) 2

Have you heard of elderflower soda?  This is a traditional elderflower delicacy that is so popular in Romania that it inspired Coca-Cola to release their own version, Fanta Shokata (though theirs contains no real elderflowers). It is also known as Socată or Suc de Soc. Here’s the recipe to make your own, which is another from my book, Elderberries: The […]


How to Find Wild Asparagus

Few wild edibles are as satisfying to forage as wild asparagus. It’s tasty, prolific, nutritious, and you can gather a huge bounty of it in just the few weeks of its season. Indeed, it grows so fast (many inches per day) that you can sometimes visit the same foraging spots twice a day and still keep harvesting new spears.   […]

How to find wild asparagus

What to forage in May

31 Wonderful Wild Edible Foods to Forage in May

There are so many fantastic wild edibles to forage in May! Many of the best wild foods can only be found this time of year, such as wild asparagus and morels.  Greens are still mild and delicious, and more and more favorites are starting to show themselves. Here are 31 wild edible foods to look for in May, along with […]


Make Your Own Elderberry Schnapps! 5

Here’s another easy recipe from my new book, Elderberries: The Beginner’s Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More (available now on Kindle and in paperback). This is a beautiful, deep purple schnapps that is so simple to make with either fresh or frozen elderberries.  See the directions at the bottom of the recipe […]

Make your own elderberry schnapps from dried elderberries

elderberry cream cheese spread

Elderberry Cream Cheese Spread 2

Here’s a quick, easy and delicious recipe to make use of elderberry jam that you may have put up.  I featured it in my new book, Elderberries: The Beginner’s Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More, which went live on Amazon at the Kindle store on Friday and should be out in print […]


What to Forage in April

April is a fantastic time to forage for wild edible foods. The weather is generally beautiful, and it’s great to get back out in the outdoors after a long winter. Greens like dandelions and nettles are tender, mild and at their peak for cooking, teas, salads and medicinal uses. Many of the best wild edibles can only be found this […]


Foraging, 9/14/16, part 2

  1) The Windom hospital cut down its apple trees! I’m really sad, those were wonderful Red Baron apples. I mean, I still have too many to pick and process, but I liked those apples.   2) They *do* still have pear trees, though. Two different kinds – the larger ones (almost all gone) have a very thick, leathery skin […]


30 Ways to use mint

Mint is one of those workhorses of the garden. Once you plant it, your hardest job is keeping it from overtaking everything else in the yard and figuring out what to do with it all. It grows easily in most of the country and robustly returns to zone 4 Minnesota gardens every spring, where it grows happily until fall frosts. […]

30 Ways to use mint

Famous herbalists teach how and why to use motherwort

Famous herbalists teach how and why to use motherwort

Motherwort is a commonly found plant that is excellent for treating heart issues, menstrual problems, menopause symptoms, stress and anxiety, among other issues. It has been historically used extensively in China, Europe and North America, and still offers exceptional benefits for a whole range of issues today. Motherwort, whose latin name is Leonurus cardiaca, is an herbaceous perennial plant in […]


25 Fantastic foraging groups and pages on Facebook

Has your family tried foraging yet? Foraging for wild edibles is a great way to get healthy, pesticide-free, tasty food for free, plus try wonderful new tastes and get out in nature. There are many great books out there to give you basic information about foraging and I recommend you check out a pile of them from the library since […]

25 Fantastic foraging groups and pages on Facebook

How to make acorn flour

Late summer and early autumn are acorn harvesting time in Minnesota and much of the country.  If you’ve never tried making your own acorn flour from this plentiful, free, nutritious food source, you’re in for a treat!  It’s a lot of effort, but the results are delicious. Acorns were a large part of many Native American tribes’ diets and have […]


How to tell the difference between ramps and lily-of-the-valley 1

New foragers sometimes worry about telling the difference between highly sought-after ramps (wild leeks) and their poisonous look-alikes, Lily-of-the-valley. It’s always wise to be leery when you’re new to foraging, but once you know what to look for you don’t need to worry. There are quite a few ways to accurately tell the difference between the two plants. Ramps (ramsons […]


Famous herbalists teach how and why to use nettles

Here’s a wonderful video where famous herbalists such as Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed and Matthew Wood teach why they love nettles, how to harvest it and use them, their many health benefits and more. The video begins and ends with herbalists David Hoffmann and Isla Burgess talking about why nettles are their favorite plants. During the main part of the […]


Natural recipes: Elderberry honey syrup

Every family should keep a jar of elderberry honey syrup in their refrigerator. This simple, natural elixir is fabulous at preventing and treating illnesses and it couldn’t be easier to make or more natural. What’s so great about elderberry syrup? Elderberry syrup is one of the best things on the planet to fight illness. It protects against multiple strains of […]


How to forage and cook with spruce tips (with video for spruce tip jelly)

Spruce tips are wonderful spring edibles that are not only tasty and unique, but also great for us. They are rich in Vitamin C and have been used traditionally for years to soothe coughs and sore throats, as well as to alleviate lung congestion and to treat lung and kidney infections. Best of all, they’re abundantly available this time of […]


How to cook with ramps

It’s ramp season, and whether you buy them at the farmer’s market or forage them yourself in the wild, this is the time to take advantage of this delicious (but short lived) delicacy. What are ramps? The Huffington Post says: Here’s the short answer: ramps are a wild onion that grow during the spring in Eastern Canada and the U.S. […]


30 Wild foods to forage in April

30 Wild foods to forage in April

April is a fantastic time to forage for wild edible foods. The weather is generally beautiful, and it’s great to get back out in the outdoors after a long winter. Greens like dandelions and nettles are tender, mild and at their peak for cooking, teas, salads and medicinal uses. Many of the best wild edibles can only be found this […]


How to cook pheasant’s back or dryad’s saddle mushrooms 3

Pheasant’s back mushrooms can be incredibly easy to find this time of year and incredibly tasty — but you have to know which ones to use and how to prepare them right. Many foragers are told not to bother with pheasant’s back mushrooms, also known as dryad’s saddles. While it’s undisputed that they are edible (as in non-poisonous), many experienced […]


31 Wild foods to forage in July

July is a fantastic time to forage for wild edible foods. Whether you’re in the country or the city, there are wild foods all over that are tasty and nutritious. This is a good month for wild fruits, such as black raspberries and wild plums. Wild greens are still plentiful, such as purslane and lamb’s quarters (just look for the […]


31 Wild foods to forage in May

There are so many fantastic wild edibles to forage in May. Many of the best wild foods can only be found this time of year, such as wild asparagus and morels. Greens are still mild and delicious, and more and more favorites are starting to show themselves. Here are 31 wild edible foods to look for in May, along with […]


How to easily forage (and use) mulberries

Mulberries are some of the greatest wild edibles to forage. They’re nutritious, delicious and easy to gather. Most kids find them irresistible too. Here’s how you can gather mulberries with your kids and make it fun and easy. Mulberry trees can be found in parks, woods and neighborhoods all over the U.S. and the berries and trees are easy to […]


50 Reasons You Should Forage for Wild Foods

If you’re not foraging for wild foods, you’re missing out on opportunities left and right. Foraged foods are spectacular in so many ways, from saving money to exposing you to foods can’t find elsewhere to giving you awesome health benefits, just to name a fraction of the benefits. Foraging helps you, your family, your health and the planet. It’s good […]


Foraging as a Family

Foraging is such a wonderful skill to learn as a family! Wild foods are free, fresh, healthy and natural.  Many of them provide more nutrients than most foods you can find in the grocery store and some of them are absolutely delicious. Foraging gets families outside, providing fresh air and exercise while spending time together.  Children learn all sorts of […]


10 Delicious ways to use mulberries

I shared how to easily harvest mulberries with your kids last week. Now, here’s ten great ways to use your haul.A little about mulberries: You can use them in any recipe that calls for berries. If the berries are fully ripe, the stems are soft and completely edible (and will turn purple and look inconspicuous when cooked up), but you […]


Freezing tomatoes before they freeze 2

Fall is hitting early and with a vengeance (we’ve had frost warnings the past two nights) and we’re picking a lot of tomatoes right away that we’d otherwise harvest in waves. Some will still be not-quite-ripe or even green (it’s been a strange growing season), but that’s okay. If they’re close to ripe, just leave them on a sunny windowsill […]


15 more ways to use your foraged walnuts 1

I’m still busy cracking the walnuts I harvested last fall (I have over 14 cups of meats so far), and I’m still finding creative ways to use them. Here are some more easy recipes I discovered online. Many of them involve maple syrup, because the maple sap has been running and it’s another great treat from your backyard! Maple-walnut butter […]


Fantastic ways to use foraged walnuts 1

Walnuts are some of the best nuts for foraging and there are all sorts of fantastic ways to use them. Last week, I wrote about how to shell your dried walnuts and harvest the meats. Now it’s time to put them to good use! You can eat them raw or grind them and use them as salad toppings, but the […]


Let’s get cracking! (those walnut meats) 3

Spring is FINALLY arriving in Minnesota, and it’s time to get back into the foraging mindset. Nothing’s ready to be picked yet, but I’ve got 3 large bags of walnuts that have been drying since last fall, and it’s warm enough to start opening them. So let’s get cracking! Materials: dried walnuts from last fall’s harvest (you DID remember this […]


Foraging walnuts 101 1

Have you ever walked through a park in the fall and stumbled over what looks like green tennis balls? Are you ready to make use of the black walnuts you see scattered all over your neighborhood? Gathering them is easy, and you’ll have a stash of delicious and nutritious treats when you’re finished. Finding the walnuts: To gather walnuts, all […]


Early summer foraging: Mulberries 2

It’s mulberry season! Mulberries are delicious treats that are easy to harvest and great to use in all kinds of recipes. I’ve written about them in the past, because mulberry picking is a great activity to do with the kids — and kids love to eat them! I detailed how to find and gather mulberries in Here we go ’round […]


inexpensive corn for freezing 1

It’s August, and farmer’s markets and roadside stands are full of fresh sweet corn. It’s delicious, of course, but it also can be very expensive if you want enough to put some away in the freezer. Fortunately there’s a simple solution. Ask. Quite often, the corn they have for sale there is the freshest corn they have. But the fields […]


Looking out for asparagus 4

The next time you’re driving along in the country, look out the window for clumps of spindly, dark green plants that look like wispy Christmas trees. Congratulations — you’ve found wild asparagus! It’s one of the most unknown of wild foods, which is a shame. It’s delicious, easy to harvest over quite a long period of time, and Euell Gibbons […]


11 Must-try ways to preserve elderberries

We’ll be picking wild elderberries soon, and after we get them off the stems we’ll need to cook with them or preserve them. This article is about preserving them for later. Why preserve them? According to Wildman Steve Brill: “Avoid unripe, green berries–they’ll get you sick. Even raw ripe elderberries make some people nauseous. Cooking or drying dispels the offending […]


What is urban foraging anyway? 2

I consider myself an urban forager, and many people have asked me exactly what I mean by that. To me, urban foraging is more than just walking through the woods (although that’s definitely a part of it). And it’s more than just wandering through town looking at people’s yards and gardens. First, let me say what it is not (at […]


12 Ways to preserve your pears

The pears are falling from the trees, so it’s time to collect as many as you can and put them up for the winter. Here’s a roundup of ideas I’ve tried (or will be trying very soon!) Pear butter, crockpot style Pear butter, stovetop style Freezing pears in syrup Spicy pear preserves Canning pears in syrup Pear sauce with spices […]


The wily wild plum 1

I took my children to Lake Shetek State Park in southwestern Minnesota today, and while chatting with the Park Ranger she mentioned there was a plum tree in the park, but she didn’t know where. We had a quest! We drove along the gravel roads, and I happened to look over at the right moment and spotted a tree with […]


Making your own fruit picker 1

The main problem I have with fruit trees is that they very seldom stop growing at 8′ tall. Most of the best looking harvest is far above that, so I need a way to extend my reach. Enter the fruit picker. I have a very old one my father passed on to me, and it works. That’s about all I […]


Making use of wild plums

I’ve written before about how to find the wily wild plum. Once you’ve located them and picked your fill (with your homemade fruit picker, of course), you’ll need to find a way to make use of your bounty. Here are a few ideas. Click on the blue links for the associated recipes. Preserving them Canning wild plums (and some recipes) […]