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gleaning - another kind of foraging

How-To and tips on foraging in urban areas

gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:29 pm

Another way that I have 'foraged' foods in an urban setting is by 'gleaning'. The park dept will often let you pick up windfall apples (although you have to explain A LOT that you will not sue them because you found a worm in their unsprayed fruits.) I find I can glean about 50% good apple for sauce from the park apples. Neighbors with apples will let you pick up their windfalls as it saves them having to do so before they mow the lawn. Even crabapples make nice jelly.

I ask folks who are 'thinning out' their landscape plants in the spring if I can have their thinnings. I have landscaped my entire yard this way. Emphasis is on edible AND ornamental items such as the highbush cranberry which not only has medicinal bark, the berries make delightful jelly. Dahlia bulbs are all edible, though they may not taste so good. You have to sample them to find the tasty ones. Daylily buds are tasty - boiled like snap beans - and the leaves make excellent cordage and basketry material (and they spread like crazy so people thin them a lot).

If you offer to help thin the veggies in a garden, the thinnings are edible, ditto many of the 'weeds' like purslane (plant source of omega 3 fatty acids, good in gumbo), lambs quarters, and any of the mustards (if young they are milder). Strawberry plants have to be thinned, and cutting from raspberries root easily. They often need thinning, too.

All maples and some other trees (birch and boxelder) can be tapped for syrup. I have found folks who will let me tap theirs in return for a share of the syrup.

Farmers' fields (if you have any near enough) often can be gleaned (get permission!) especially if they are used to grow crops for the canning companies (peas from the field corners, corn that the corn-pickers miss or even picked up from where they load the trucks and drop a lot, potatoes left by the mechanical pickers, are all just as edible as any fresh anywhere, and if you can or freeze them....SCOOOOORE! Gleaning is a fun adventure for children.

You might stop by the local state-run truck scale during potato season. Many of the overloads end up being dumped (when they think nobody is looking). Of course, you cant deal with 1,000 lb of potatoes, but the local food pantry might love you to bring some extras in!

Car-killed deer in my state can be claimed by the first person who comes along if the driver of the car does not want it. With some cutting, you can load the freezer! Call the DNR or state traffic cops for tags. You can have as many as you come across - I know one farmer who claimed 7 car-kills as his farm ran along the highway, and he wanted to eat the deer that had been fattening on his corn all year! I also had NO trouble (before I retired as state trooper) giving away deer meat the last few years. The DNR officer says you can live trap any 'pests' on your own property and dispose of them as you will - for me that means squirrel, possum and rabbit meat in the freezer or jars. (I have recipes for other critters, just in case, but those are most common in my neck of the woods). Live-traps in an urban area on your own property are not illegal.

I'm sure if you think outside the box you can think of more places to glean or forage in your area. Maybe these will get the ideas coming....
New laws are like new taxes....both evolve, but they never go away.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby mrduke » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:29 pm

up hear you get in trouble if you take, road kill deer which is a shame, all that good meet being waisted, i have been a forger/gleaner for a long time, just resonutly i picked up atleast 100lb apple off the side of the road, also becouse i drive truck, a lot of drivers will leave there damaged goods on the back of there delivered trailers instead of throwing them away, most of the time it,s just one leaking can or something that will ruin the pacageing on the rest of the items, just the other day i brought home 5 cases of 4oz snack pack mandrin oranges, ( 120 cans) 1 was damaged, but thay refused the rest, each year, between, what i bring home from work, ( trailer shoping) forageing and gleaning, and the garden ill bet i save atleast a couple thousand in food cost each year, while my dollers has less value each year ive learned strech it farther by doing stuff like this,
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby Lghmstng3 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:51 pm

Same in TEXAS,picking up Road kill is a no-no.They don't care how much damage it does to your ride.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby IceFire » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:57 pm

Regulations regarding road-kill eer vary from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you can pick up road-kill deer, then call the DNR to get a "road-kill tag".

Since every state is different, check with your state DCNR regarding the legalities of picking up road-kill deer. Some states may also have the information on their web sites.

Have to admit, though it seems an awful shame to let that meat go to waste.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:45 pm

I never heard of 'trailer shopping' mr duke, but it sounds like it would be most useful and it is exctly what I am talking about! I'll have to ask around at the truck stop. Another place to check is the canning companies. once in a while, they will sell off their dented cans of food by the case lot. where i live, they go for $6 a case of 24 pound cans, and since the economy went down the tubes, lots of folks are buying that way. I like to buy 1 case of several different things, them mix them up. If you go in with family, you can split the costs. I have also heard of 'spaghetti bends' being sold for cheap by pasta factories but I dont have any near me. You have to research things though, many so-called factory stores, or outlet stores are not all that cheap. But when you can find them they are wonderful. My latest find was a factory store that sold summer sausage snack-bite seconds (not cut to the right lengths) by the pound, and a local fisherman steered me to a fish smoking outfit that would smoke my salmon catch for about 50 cents a pound. Can you say "super bowl party"? Scooooore!
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby mrduke » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:42 pm

no , kappydell, there is no such thing as trailer shoping it,s just what we call it, you can,t go in and do this, only drivers that are there when there are damages can do this, the problem with this is that , we never know what or when were going to get it, one month you,ll get nothing the next month you,ll clean up, but you never know, in about 3 month i took home 5 cases of chewy granola bars, ( 500 bars) a case of maple syserp instent oatmeal, (10 boxes), 2 cases of pinapple chunks ( 24 cans, 1 case of fruit cacktail, (12 cans) 4 galions of vegtable oil, 12 boxes of fruity pebbles cerels, 12 jars as alfrato sause, and 2 cases of cat food, ( 48 cans) and 2 bags of dog food, (100lb) to this i added, about 100lb apples, 60 lb figs, 40lb walnuts, 5lb almonds, 30lb olives, 10 lg watermelons, from foarging and put up about 30lb tomatos from my garden and my fathers, and of corse other stuff as well , but thats about all i can remember right now
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:24 am

oh well, i guess that is what makes it so cool...like a treasure hunt!
New laws are like new taxes....both evolve, but they never go away.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby Golden Oldie » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:32 pm

Kappydell, you'll just love what this yuppie urban forager in my locality is doing to foil the furry and slimy pests that try to devour her garden every year:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ls29m.html

Excerpt: "...Vorass is serious about eating locally. She teaches urban foraging. She raises goats, chickens, bees and worms at her Green Lake house. And she believes she's the only person in Seattle harvesting squirrels for protein."

"Meat Mr. Squirrel" on her website:

http://www.essentialbread.com/2011/10/m ... irrel.html

And here's how she further "makes lemonade out of lemons:"

"Snails are the next challenge for Vorass. Instead of spending time and money trying to get rid of them, she says, "we could be eating the enemy." She collected and cooked some, and liked them enough to buy a terrarium for snail-ranching."

Smart woman! :thumbsup:
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:52 am

Those are great sites, and very encouraging to the newbies at game eating. I am sorry to report that my house-mate is wary of eating game, same as my late spouse. Oh well, I guess maybe just me and the pets will be eating varmint stew....
New laws are like new taxes....both evolve, but they never go away.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby dogboy » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:25 am

Since you sauce half the apples, I guess that means the rest is waste. Apples make great alcohol. You can get about 25% just from natural fermentation. Freeze off some of the water and drive that up to about 45%. Distillation isn't difficult. You could even use solar heat for distilling. Just don't make the mistake of selling or giving one drop to anyone, for any reason, or using it as a gasoline supplement to any vehicle run on public roads -- the feds will be all over you.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby brescon » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:07 pm

foraging is my new "prepper" skill that I'm going to work on this year. i live on a golf course surrounded by farm land. I have an undeveloped lot next to my house which I plan to forage this spring. I'm starting small though; starting with dandelion, plantain; and maybe nettles. I have a couple questions though...I've read some about these "weeds" and what they are good for,health-wise. My question...can I use them in my diet daily? Nettles is considered a diuretic; I'm assuming this benefit is minimal and would be beneficial over time...yes? no? Plantain, also, I would like to add to my salad greens that I grow in my raised beds. would this be ok? also, what about drying these? I have a dehydrator and I'm wondering if drying and putting thru my cuisanart and storing so I can "sprinkle" these onto my winter salads...yes? no? Any comments / suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:17 pm

Yes, brescon, you can incorporate them into your daily fare. Nettles are delicious, and high in many minerals, especially iron. Cream of nettle soup is tasty; I steam and dehydrate them so I can add the greens to all manner of soups and casseroles, since my spouse was not a greens eater. The diuretic effect is no worse than coffee being a diuretic - just drink more good clean water!

Many foragers make daily salads from things they pick on their rambles. There are so many wild edibles it is amazing, once you learn them. Some of the ones that are most easily found include nettles, wild mustard, chicory (greens when young, roots cleaned, roasted and ground for beverage), dandelions (almost that time of year - gotta get them when the flower buds are just forming at the base of the plant or earlier - bout march in my area); dock (another high iron, but a little acidic for some), plantain, clover greens (bland, but add bulk to a mixture), daylily buds, thistle stems (peel to remove stickers), purslane (fat juicy garden weed, high in omega- fatty acids), mallow leaves and 'cheeses', wild onions and wild carrots. Those are what comes off the top of my head. Now I have moved to another area, so I am re-learning local edibles of a more inland/woodland area (I was next to Lake Michigan in the past). I am looking for a patch of white oaks to give acorns a try this summer, that is if I can beat the squirrels to them (GRRRRR- I eat the squirrels and more just show up.....maybe I should just consider them another resource.)

Also dont forget all those old fruiting trees in the parklands that were left to the cities by old farmers. I regularly glean apples, mulberries, and highbush cranberries from local parks (after getting permission from some very puzzled park commissioners).
New laws are like new taxes....both evolve, but they never go away.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby readlorey » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:24 pm

This may be a stupid question but how would they know if you picked up a road kill deer, assuming it was fresh and safe to use? If you see it on the side of the road and know it's good meat can't you just take it to the woods somewhere and dress it, cut it up, and take it home to put in your freezer? :?

I've never hunted or dressed anything so I have no clue. But if I had the skill and the knowledge that's what I would do.
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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby Pedro wyoming » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:25 pm

readlorey wrote:This may be a stupid question but how would they know if you picked up a road kill deer, assuming it was fresh and safe to use? If you see it on the side of the road and know it's good meat can't you just take it to the woods somewhere and dress it, cut it up, and take it home to put in your freezer? :?

I've never hunted or dressed anything so I have no clue. But if I had the skill and the knowledge that's what I would do.

It depends on the jurisdiction, but here, you must prove to the deer gestapo that you did not hunt it. Simple possession of the carcass or parts of it, particularly out of season is a problem.

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Re: gleaning - another kind of foraging

Postby kappydell » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:53 pm

It varies from state to state. In Wis, you can call a trooper who will issue you a car-killed-deer tag (bears, too) then you are legal to possess. As a rule, most folks picked up only fresh kills; unless the weather was quite cold they go bad quickly. It also depended on how bad/where they were struck by the vehicle. A carcass with a ruptured body cavity was a lot harder to clean up than one with broken legs...the deer that jumped off the over pass one day only broke their legs from impact (we shot them to put an end to their misery - they were pitiful)...now those kills had people fighting over them! The ones that got hit by semis....not so much.....

"They" would not know unless they found the meat, caught you cleaning it, or somebody snitched. In my state, 'they' are allowed to search and warrants are liberally granted. Better not have meat you cant account for in the freezer! They can take things associated with poaching away from you - including your freezer, the shed where you butcher poached animals, all your tools and guns, etc. Not worth it. Most folks just keep a little box atop the freezer with the tags in it to prove legality.
(Not that I'm recommending it, but one DNR fella I knew up nort' said the rule of thumb was that if the deer meat was all you had to eat, they considered it 'providing for the family' rather than poaching, but if you had enough to freeze/can in larger quantities (or barter/sell) the poaching would not be winked at. Not recommending....jus' sayin...
New laws are like new taxes....both evolve, but they never go away.
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