The latest culinary quaran-trend could be found in your backyard

Foraging for wild edibles is one way to score free food… or launch a new business.

June 30, 2020

Photo: Tessa Bunney/In Pictures via Getty Images Images

You’d never know it from our soft bellies and carpal tunnel-ravaged hands, but our hunter-gatherer ancestors once roved the land in search of sustenance. 

And as The New Yorker reports, what’s old is new again: Foraging is the latest foodie fad to tantalize taste buds and sprout business opportunities.

Let’s get wild

The natural world has a bounty of delicious edibles… if you know where to look. A tasting menu might include:

  • Chicken-of-the-woods: These vibrantly colored mushrooms grow at the bases of decomposing trees. Some say they taste like chicken, but what doesn’t?
  • Mussels: Found along rocky beaches during low tide. Serve ’em steamed with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Pawpaw: The mango of the Midwest — can be eaten by itself or made into pudding or ice cream.

But safe foraging requires training. The prized morel mushroom, for example, has an evil twin called the false morel. Eating one of these can cause severe headaches, vomiting, diarrhea… and sometimes death. 

No time to find your own food? No problem

Some farm-to-table restaurants specialize in cooking with foraged ingredients. When the pandemic forced restaurants to close, some foragers pivoted to serving home cooks:

  • In New York, Wild Box is a subscription service featuring foraged foods.
  • The Brooklyn-based restaurant Honey Badger offers meal kits built around locally raised and foraged goods.

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