wild black raspberry jam

Wild Edible Foods and Ancestral Eating

The Outdoor Apothecary is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

I hope you’re savoring the delightful embrace of this sunnier season, relishing the chance to immerse yourself in the natural world—it truly nourishes the soul!

As I’ve mentioned before, Spring holds a special place in my heart. With each passing day growing warmer, I find myself drawn outdoors, where I experience the joy of embracing ancestral eating traditions.

I’ve been taking some long walks and have foraged for some delicious ancestral foods such as ramps and trout lily and some wild edibles such as dandelionsvioletschickweed, wild garlic mustard, forsythiamullein, and purple dead nettle. Some of these I used for food and some for medicine…and some for Both!

ancestral eating

I love knowing that many of these same plants made up the diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and continued long after established agriculture began.

Our ancient ancestors seemed to know the healing properties of these foods and truly lived the “food is medicine” lifestyle without putting a name to it.  To them, it was simply what you did for nourishment, healing, and survival.

Today, many herbalists know that ancestral eating contributes significantly to our overall health and wellbeing and believe that the food we consume IS medicine. What could be better for you than to eat as locally as possible from foods that grow wild in that environment?

chickweed identification

What Exactly is Ancestral Eating?

To be clear, the motivation behind ancestral eating isn’t to mimic exactly what our ancestors ate. It’s to eat what they would’ve had reasonable access to. It’s about avoiding modern, processed, industrialized foods. Ancestral eating is more about what you don’t eat than what you do, and is centered around eating real food, or food that is as close to its natural state as possible. Ancestral food doesn’t have ingredients – it is the ingredients!

Ancestral eating is simply eating unrefined, unprocessed, whole foods that have been around for thousands and thousands of years. This includes:

  • Grass-fed, Wild Animals: The untamed flavors of game and grass-fed meats, reminiscent of a time when our ancestors relied on hunting for sustenance.
  • Wild Seafood: A direct connection to our ancestral seafaring roots, replete with the flavors of the ocean.
  • Pastured Chicken and Eggs: A return to the natural habitat of these poultry, where they forage and graze as nature intended.
  • Organic Fruits and Vegetables: Wholesome produce that reflects the bounty of the land, cultivated with respect for the soil and environment.
  • Wild Edible Plants: Nature’s hidden gems, often overlooked in modern diets, yet cherished by our ancestors for their nutritional richness.
  • Healthy, Traditional Fats: Time-honored fats like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, lard, and butter, preserving the essence of culinary tradition.
  • Grass-fed, Full-fat Raw Dairy: A source of essential nutrients, bearing witness to the enduring relationship between humans and livestock.
  • Fermented Foods: A nod to the preservation techniques of our ancestors, offering both nutrition and flavor.
  • Wild Edibles: A category that spans from dandelions to chickweed, these treasures once adorned our grandparents’ tables, their culinary and medicinal significance often forgotten or dismissed.
wild edibles

It’s crazy to think that many of these wild edible foods still graced our grandparent’s dinner tables, made up a large part of their diets, and were used widely for medicinal purposes just a few generations ago. Sadly, today they’re either forgotten, classified as weeds, or thought of as  something to be eradicated. I believe it’s no coincidence that modern chronic diseases have run rampant as wild foods disappeared from our diet.

If you haven’t yet ventured into the realm of wild edible plants or explored the culinary and medicinal potential of spring flowers and weeds, I implore you—what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to rekindle that ancestral knowledge, to reclaim a piece of our heritage and reconnect with the natural world? 

Unlocking Nature's Bounty

Wild food, in all its forms, presents a cornucopia of health benefits. Laden with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, these are the very nutrients that often elude us in our conventional diets. In essence, they are the world’s most nutritionally potent superfoods, a testament to nature’s wisdom and abundance.

By embracing ancestral eating and reintroducing these treasures into our diets, we may hold the key to unlocking a healthier, more vibrant way of life. As we journey into the heart of ancestral eating, let us not merely savor the flavors of the past but also harness the nourishment and vitality that this timeless practice can bestow upon us. It’s a journey that not only enriches our palates but also nourishes our bodies, minds, and souls, bringing us closer to the wisdom of our ancestors and the rhythms of the natural world.

Want to Learn More?

Are you ready to embark on a journey to revitalize your health through the wisdom of ancestral eating? The path to vibrant well-being lies not just in what you eat but in how you reconnect with the natural world around you. To dive deeper into this enriching lifestyle, we invite you to explore more articles on foraging for food and growing your own nourishment.

1. Discover the Abundance of Wild Edibles: Uncover the hidden treasures in your own backyard as you learn to identify, harvest, and prepare wild edibles. These articles will guide you through the process of foraging for ancestral foods that can rejuvenate your body and soul.

2. Cultivate Your Own Ancestral Garden: Explore the art of cultivating ancestral crops and herbs. Learn the joys of growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, embracing the traditions that sustained our ancestors for generations.

3. Nourish Your Body with Nutrient-Rich Fare: Are you ready to unlock the secrets of nourishing your body with nutrient-rich ancestral foods? Delve into enlightening articles that explore the art of cooking with foraged and homegrown ingredients.

By immersing yourself in these articles, you’ll gain the insights and inspiration needed to make ancestral eating an integral part of your life. It’s time to embrace the ancient wisdom of our ancestors, reconnect with the land, and savor the profound benefits of this nourishing lifestyle. 

Disclaimer: outdoorapothecary.com is informational in nature and is not to be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. While we strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. 

Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. We are not health professionals, medical doctors, nor are we nutritionists. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this website.  The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the guidance of your qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Author

  • Barbi Gardiner

    Situated in the heart of Northeastern Connecticut, Barbi Gardiner is a bioregional herbalist and a proud member of the Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck tribe. With a homestead recognized as a certified wildlife habitat by the Wildlife Federation and a native medicinal plant sanctuary by United Plant Savers, Barbi is a leading voice in permaculture and regenerative gardening. Passionate about seasonal living and ancestral wisdom, Barbi aims to reconnect people with the natural world and the ancient knowledge of their forebears. Through engaging articles and resources, Barbi is a beacon for sustainable living and earth-centered spirituality.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top