Foraging For Food: A Monthly Guide

Foraging is a Frugal Way to Feed Your Family Fresh Produce

Foraging for your food instead of purchasing it at the grocery store can be a frugal and healthy way to feed your family. It can help you save money, get exercise and bond with your loved ones as you forage together. 

Things you find the forest can enhance your usual grocery store purchases, such as adding mushrooms to your pasta sauce or adding a side of asparagus to a chicken dinner. 

If you think you cannot forage because you do not live in the country, do not be discouraged. There is a growing urban foraging movement and you would be surprised at how many opportunities there are. From overgrown fruit trees to discarded herb plants, there are many ways to add fresh fruits, vegetables and spices to your diet. 

Beginner Foraging

If you are just starting to entertain the idea of foraging, it can be overwhelming and a little scary. You likely worry about picking the wrong kind of mushroom and getting sick. For beginners, there are ways to ease into foraging without needing to worry about poisoning yourself.

One of the easiest foraging opportunities is dandelions. They are plentiful throughout the spring and summer and the leaves are delicious in salads. 

Apple trees and citrus trees are surprisingly common and the fruit often goes unpicked and spoils. Look for trees and orchards in your area, particularly those in public parks or pedestrian areas. They are ripe for picking and you can fill up baskets with the fruit, at no cost to you. It's a frugal and fun way to get some fresh produce. 

Below is a guide of foods to look for during the year. 

March

Backlit Common Dandelion Clocks (Taraxacum officinale) at Sunset
Stephen Shepherd/Taxi/Getty Images

Asparagus
Cattail shoots
Chickweed
Dandelions
Milkweed shoots
Shaggy Mane Mushrooms
Sheep Sorrel
Stinging Nettles
Wild Violets

April

Asparagus
Burdock
Cattail shoots
Chickweed
Dandelions
Lamb's Quarters
Milkweed shoots
Morels
Plantain
Shaggy Mane Mushrooms
Sheep Sorrel
Stinging Nettles
Wild Violets

May

Asparagus
Boysenberries
Burdock
Cherries
Chickweed
Dandelions
Fiddleheads (Ostrich Ferns)
Gooseberries
Lamb's Quarters
Mint
Morels
Plantain
Sheep Sorrel

June

Cattail spikes (late June)
Cherries
Chickweed
Dandelions
Figs
Gooseberries
Lamb's Quarters
Milkweed flower buds
Mint
Plantain
Purslane
Raspberries
Sheep Sorrel

July

Blackberries
Blueberries
Bolete Mushrooms
Cherries
Chickweed
Dandelions
Elderberries
Figs
Gooseberries
Hedgehog Mushrooms
Lamb's Quarters
Milkweed Fruits
Mint
Plantain
Purslane
Raspberries
Sheep Sorrel

August

Apples
Blackberries
Blueberries
Bolete Mushrooms
Buffalo Berries
Cherries
Chickweed
Chokeberries
Crab Apples
Dandelions
Elderberries
English Walnuts
Figs
Gooseberries
Hedgehog Mushrooms
Huckleberries
Lions Mane Mushrooms
Mint
Plantain
Pine Nuts
Purslane
Raspberries
Sheep Sorrel
Wild Grapes

September

Apples
Blackberries
Black Walnuts
Bolete Mushrooms
Buffalo Berries
Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chestnuts
Chickweed
Chokeberries
Dandelions
Elderberries
English Walnuts
Figs
Gingko nuts
Hedgehog Mushrooms
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
Lions Mane Mushrooms
Mint
Pine Nuts
Plantain
Prickly Pears
Rose hips (after first frost)
Shaggy Mane Mushrooms
Sheep Sorrel
Wild Grapes

October

Acorns (must be leached)
Apples
Black Walnuts
Bolete Mushrooms
Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chickweed
Chestnuts
Crab Apples
Dandelions
English Walnuts
Gingko nuts
Hedgehog Mushrooms
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
Lions Mane Mushrooms
Mint
Persimmons
Plantain
Prickly Pears
Rose hips (after first frost)
Shaggy Mane Mushrooms
Sheep Sorrel
Wild Grapes

November

Chestnuts
Crab Apples
Gingko nuts
Hen of the Woods mushrooms
Pecans
Persimmons
Sheep Sorrel

December

Chestnuts

Note: This is a general harvest guide for North America. Harvest times may vary slightly in your area