Foraging Wild Edibles – Part Two: Fruits & Nuts

Foraging for wild edibles can be a fun family adventure to harvest nutritional foods. Forests, parks, fields, and riverbeds offer an abundance of salad greens, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, and nuts. You will need a knife, gloves, digging trowel, and a basket or bag to carry your harvest. When foraging be sure to wear appropriate clothing, footwear, raingear, walking stick, sunscreen, and insect repellent. As well, taking water to hydrate and some food snacks is a good idea. For safety on longer trips it is wise to bring maps or GPS, a compass, a few first aid and hygiene items, matches or lighter, and so on.

Common fruits that grow in the wild include apple, crabapple, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, paw paws, hawthorns, mulberry, grapes, and more. Common wild nuts include acorns, hazelnut, beechnut, walnut, chestnut, almond, hickory, and more. Wild salad leafy greens include dandelion, purslane, plantain, chicory, chickweed, sorrel, and more. Wild cooking vegetables include asparagus, amaranth, cattail, burdock, amaranth, mustard, grape leaves, milkweed, nettle, lamb’s quarter, thistle, watercress, and more.


FIELD NOTES: American Beech - Issuu

Habitat: Eastern U.S., hard wood forests, river valleys, mountain slopes.

Identification: Tall tree, large oval toothed leaves, burrs on outer shell.

Harvest: In autumn gather fallen nuts on the ground, dry in open warm area.

Preparation: Roast nuts, crack shells, used in baked goods.


Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Habitat: Northern U.S. from Maine to Oregon; open, sunny areas, fields, mountain areas.

Identification: A small shrub, perennial flowering plant, small dark blue berries.

Harvest: July through August.

Preparation: Raw fruit, on cereal, salads, frozen, dried, used in baked goods, jam, sauces. High in vitamins C and K, manganese.


How to grow crab apple trees | Gardening advice | The Guardian

Habitat: North America, fields, shrub areas, margins of woodlands,

Identification: Small shrub tree, gnarled branches, small apples, oval serrated leaves.

Harvest: Autumn.

Preparation: Tart and sour, best used in cooking, jam, chutney, sauces, baked goods, wine, syrup, pickled. High in vitamin C, potassium, manganese.



Habitat: Eastern U.S., open areas, near farms, near organic waste, margins of woodland, near marshes, rivers.

Identification: Shrub, dark blue berries in clusters.

Harvest: Late summer.

Preparation: Raw fruit, teas, wine. High in vitamins C and B6, iron, good for immune system.


Is this plant a weed? : Garden : University of Minnesota Extension

Habitat: Eastern U.S., along streams, river banks, fields, road sides, trails, margins of woodlands.

Identification: Climbing vines, fruit in clusters, leaves heart shaped, toothed.

Harvest: August through September.

Preparation: Raw fruit, juice, wine, jelly, dried as raisons. Leaves used in stuffed grape leaves. High in sugar.


Fruit (haws)

Habitat: Eastern U.S., woods, fields, along streams and rivers.

Identification: Small spreading shrub with dense branches, long sharp thorns, toothed leaves with lobes, red fruit. Taste for sweetness, some varieties are bitter.

Harvest: Ripe in autumn.

Preparation: Raw, dried, jelly, syrup, wine.


Hazelnuts are the Overlooked Tree Nut | Northwest Hazelnut Company

Habitat: Eastern U.S., Pacific Coast, dense thickets, margins of woodlands, river banks.

Identification: Shrub, nuts in bristly husks, broad toothed leaves.

Harvest: Ripe in late summer, autumn.

Preparation: Dry nuts, raw or roasted, used in baking, deserts, confections.


Everbearing Mulberry Trees for Sale –

Habitat: North America, forests, road sides, fields,

Identification: Tree, lobed leaves, red and black berries, resemble raspberries.

Harvest: Autumn, ripe black berries.

Preparation: Raw fruit, dried, used in baked goods, wine, tea, jam. High in vitamin C, iron.

Oak, Acorns

53,200+ Oak Leaf Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock | Oak tree, Acorn, Oak

Habitat: Throughout the U.S., forests, parks, ridges, valleys.

Identification: Tall hardwood trees, spiral arranged leaves with smooth lobes, clusters of nuts. White oak acorns are sweet, red oak acorns are bitter.

Harvest: Gather fallen acorns on the ground in autumn.

Preparation: Dry acorns then grind, use like chopped nuts, meal, or flour. Soak red oak acorns for two days to eliminate bitterness.

Paw Paws

MSU and the Pawpaw: America's best tasting fruit | Alumni

Habitat: Eastern U.S., hardwood forests, drained bottomlands, river valleys, hilly areas.

Identification: Small tree, large yellow-green to brown fruit. Sweet custard like pulp similar to banana and mango.

Harvest: Late summer, early autumn.

Preparation: Raw fruit, pies, breads, puddings, ice cream. High in vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese.


Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) | Native Medicinal Plant Research Program

Habitat: Eastern U.S., margins of woodlands, fields, hillsides.

Identification: Common forest tree, large shrub, elliptical oblong leaves, yellow-orange or red-orange fruit.

Harvest: Ripe fruit in autumn.

Preparation: Eat raw like an apple, on cereal, salads, dried, used in baked goods, pudding. High in sugar, vitamin C, iron, manganese.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Wild red raspberry - flowering time, description, seasonal development and general distribution in West Virginia

Habitat: Northeastern U.S., open sunny areas, along roads, railroad tracks, trails, ditches, fields, margins of woodlands.

Identification: Red and black berry varieties, small shrub, thorny woody stems, elliptical toothed leaves.

Harvest: Early summer.

Preparation: Raw, on cereals, smoothies, ice cream, with cream, yogurt, dried, frozen, used in baked goods, jam, sauces, leaves in tea. High in vitamin C and manganese.


Wild Strawberry Plants For Sale | TN Nursery

Habitat: Eastern U.S. and northern Rocky Mountains, sunny areas, forest clearings, fields, meadows, edge of trails, margins of woodlands.

Identification: Low growing plant, red berries, oval toothed leaves.

Harvest: Early summer.

Preparation: Raw fruit, salads, cereal, ice cream, with cream, yogurt, dried, frozen, jams, baked goods, leaves for tea. High in vitamin C.



Habitat: Eastern U.S., forests, bottom lands, flood plains.

Identification: Large tree, thick outer bark, lance shaped leaves, green-yellow-black thick outer husk.

Harvest: Gather fallen nuts in autumn.

Preparation: Raw or roasted, salads, baking, ice cream.


The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plant, U.S. Army, Skyhorse, 2009.

Edible Wild Plants, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling, NY, 1982.

Wild Edibles: A Practical Guide, Sergei Bootenko, North Atlantic, 2013.


Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

Latest articles


Related articles