My Dad once told me that “you will never go hungry in the wild if you know what to look for”.
Learning what plants in the forest are edible is something that is not only fun, but so important for kids and adults alike. Over the Victoria Day long weekend, we took friends of ours and their kids on a nature walk on our property to look for edible wilds. We have a lot of wild leeks on our property right now, and they are perfect for leek and potato soup!
Kids need to know that there are lots of edible plants in the forest that are healthy for you and many contain medicinal properties. There is food in the forest — You just need to know what to look for.
You can make cedar tea and mint tea with leaves and sprigs. Wild strawberries and raspberries are always a welcome treat! It is important to know what to look for FIRST. Some plants, berries and fungi found in the forest can also be very dangerous and can make you very sick. It is very important to do your research and know what to look for before you head out to forage. Absolutely do not eat anything that you are not 100% of.
On our leek picking walk, I showed the kids a photo of the leaves so they knew what to look for. The kids also did a smell test. When we unearthed some of the plants, they were able to decipher what the plant was because of the distinct leek scent. It smelled so good!
Going on edible wilds walks with the kids is a great way to spend family time, get outdoors and active as a family, learn about edible wilds that grows locally, learn how to survive in the wild, and also learn team work. The idea of “from the garden to the table” (or in this case, from the forest to the table) is such a useful concept for kids. They learn how to look for edible wilds, how to harvest, how to make sure to leave a good portion of the plants so they can regrow and replenish themselves later on, and when the kids bring home their haul, they learn how to wash and clean their food and help parents cook and prepare their meal.
In this case, we made Leek and Potato Soup. I had my five year old helping me wash and clean the leeks so we could make the soup. She had a blast and was all tuckered out after a busy day outdoors! Active outdoors, family time, learning experience, homemade meal made with local edible wilds = Win-Win-Win-Win!
You might also be interested in:
- One of our favourite soup recipes with leeks: Vichyssoise Soup.
- For fresh vegetables available in Spring & what’s in Season.
- Cream of Leek & Potato Soup
My Grandmother was a school teacher on the Island, before she married and at one of the schools she worked at one spring day the boys went into the bush at
Iunch and ate wild leeks. Apparently the previous teacher had sent the boys home for having bad breath, but Grandma opened the windows and kept teaching.
I love this story! Thanks for sharing that, Kari! 🙂
Victoria Ess says
This sounds like such a great experience!
Definitely something all kids should have the experience of doing!
Rick F says
I remember picking wild leeks and morels with my father. My grandmother used to pick the mushrooms growing in the yard.
Rick! People go crazy for morels around here!
Amy S says
This is such a great idea! I live in rural Nova Scotia and “wild food” abounds! My little guys would love that 🙂
I’ve nenver heard of wild leek around here, but I am going to research that now!
Elva Roberts says
I think your walks to bring home food for the table is a wonderful idea. I also agree with you that knowledge of what you are about to gather is an important part of the process.
Lynda Cook says
I used to go out with my dad and we would collect puffballs and morel mushrooms, but that was long ago and I wouldn’t have a clue what to look for now
Brenda A says
What an informative and interesting article. I am in awe! Living urban I thought tasting a sample of edible flowers at the Farmer’s Market last weekend was “wild”!
This is just the coolest!
What a bounty you have at your fingertips. Amazing!
These are the survival/life skills that are being lost. Good for you for teaching and sharing this very fun, interesting and educational fun adventure!
How did the soup turn out? 🙂
Thanks so much, Peady! I totally agree with you. Kind of shocking that many kids don’t know about foraging. Actually, I’m shocked that many people don’t think about where their food comes from. It doesn’t start in the grocery store!
The soup turned out so well! We had no leftovers! I make leek and potato soup every Spring when the wild leeks are up!
Tammy @inRdream says
Christine that is wonderful! I have never had wild leeks! Although I have enjoyed ceder tea and I adore Fiddleheads this time of year!
Tammy, I didn’t like cedar tea when I first had it, but it has kind of grown on me! The medicinal properties are impressive. Mmm…fiddle heads!
What a fun and educational activity!!! Next time w visit, we’re doing this! 🙂
Canine, we would love that! We miss you guys and hope to see you again soon!!!
Jennifer Van Huss says
You are an inspirational women! Can I come on an edible walk and learn from you too? I’m always nervous in the forest….what is dangerous? What is edible! I’d never survive alone! lol
LOL! Jennifer, I was like that too! I always thought that if I were stranded in the woods, I’d die of hunger! My Dad taught me otherwise! Then my husband taught me more since he’s a walking encyclopedia and is really into knowing what flora and fauna are in our forests.
Our Family World says
I love the idea of being able to find food in the woods! I know a few berries and a few plants, but I wish I knew more. We were actually just out hiking this weekend with some friends who pointed out some mushrooms (poisonous) and talked about other plants around us. It was great to learn more. Thanks for sharing!
Yes. so great to do this with the kids! Yeah, there are a few mushrooms I can identify that are not poisonous, but I’m still a bit cautious with mushrooms. I don’t know enough about fungi to be comfortable eating them in the wild! There are maybe 2 varieties I know and that’s it! The rest I will not go near!
I can almost smell the leeks. Such a fun thing to teach the kiddos.
Shannon, the smell is so lovely! Mmm…love leeks!!
Paula Schuck says
My girls would go nuts for this! I need to bookmark your post. Also um potato leek soup is my personal favourite.
Ahhh! Thanks, Paula! If you ever want to come visit us on the Island, our door is always open to you and your lovely family! 🙂
Looks like the kids had fun .
I don’t think I have had leek before either 🙁
Chantale, they’re in the onion family. They have a distinct and flavourful taste. They’re great sauteed with veg and in soups. Yum!
This is sounds like a fun family activity! I would so love it. I have never had a leek before. I wonder if I would like it. hehe!
Brandy, leeks are one of my faves! Cream of Leek and Potato soup is a family favourite here. So yummy! 🙂