Food from the Wild: Foraging for Beginners (Ebony Gheorghe, forager and author)

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Ever wondered if it’s safe to eat those berries you see on a hike, or if there are medicinal plants hiding in plain sight? The longer you spend outside, the more you might start to wonder how to find good things to consume out there — and how to avoid the ones that might kill you.

What we all need is a little guidance. And for that we have Ebony Gheorghe, a forager focused on herbs based in the UK and author of the new book Enchanted Foraging. She teaches us why foraging creates a special connection to nature, the best way to get started without risking eating something that will definitely or even possibly kill you and few of her foraging favorites.

Listen now!

Some of the good stuff:

[2:55] Ebony Gheorghe’s favorite outdoor space

[3:30] Ebony’s outdoor story

[6:14] How Ebony got into foraging

[7:05] Why everyone should try foraging

[12:52] How foraging makes you appreciate food and the work of it all

[14:29] How to make foraging more accessible

[17:42] Reconnecting with nature through foraging

[25:00] How to get started foraging

[27:46] Ebony’s favorite things to forage

[34:12] Warning: it’s addictive

[36:14] Ebony’s favorite outdoor moments

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

Amy Bushatz: You know that feeling you get when you spend even a little bit of time outside? No matter how challenging it is to get out there, spending time in nature is always worth it. I’m your host, Amy Busahtz and this is another episode of Humans Outside. Join me as we hear from fascinating outdoor minded guests and use the humans outside 365 challenge to push us outside daily. Ready to hear from experts and outdoor lovers who make heading into nature just a part of who they are while we work to do the same? Let’s go.

Spend enough time outside wandering through fields or forests, and you’re likely to start wondering about what out there is edible. And perhaps if you’re like me, you’ll immediately decide exploring the question without any guidance is a good way to die. Did anyone else’s mother put the absolute fear of God in them regarding never, ever, ever, ever eating mushrooms or basically anything you find outside, lest you foam at the mouth and immediately die? Just me? I remember going to a birthday party once in elementary school where a birthday cake had flowers on it– literal flowers from outside that I had personally walked by, and then we ate them. I was baffled by this. The reality is that not only is finding wild food and herbs outside a perfectly reasonable thing to do, it’s also a great way to connect with nature in a new to you, deeper way. After all, friends are just friends until they feed me, and then we’re next level friends.

But my mom wasn’t all wrong. It is important to know what you’re doing while finding edible food out there, because poisonous plants do exist, and you can’t just go popping in your mouth any old mushroom. It really is a good way to die. Fortunately, we have some help. Here to talk to us today about the whys, ups, downs, and hows of foraging is Ebony Gheorghe an author of the new book, Enchanted Foraging and a Geoscientist. Today Ebony is gonna walk us through everything we need to know about forging and how to get started. Ebony, welcome to Humans Outside.

Ebony Gheorghe: Thank you. It’s great to be here with you and do a podcast and definitely talk through foraging and all things plants and outdoorsy based, but yeah, good to be here.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, so I am here in Alaska talking to you. Where are you literally, physically right now?

Ebony Gheorghe: So I’m actually here in Oxford, so quite countryside ish, uh, city as well. But yeah, we have a lot of nice green spaces around, so I can, very different to alaska, but also have a few, few nicer spots.

Amy Bushatz: Wonderful. And we like to start all of our podcast episodes, sort of imagining ourselves with our guests in their favorite outdoor space. Like just like we’re hanging out wherever you love outside having this conversation there. So if we were outside somewhere with you today, right now, where would we be?

Ebony Gheorghe: Well, I really love the Highlands in Scotland. I like the different, scenery and the different kind of environments that you can get from like the seas, To mountains, to snowboarding, to like different forests and yeah, I feel really, really, um, comfort. I feel much comfort when I’m there in the highlands. Definitely. So that’s probably where it’d be.

Amy Bushatz: That sounds great. Um, let’s go. Can you tell us about how you became someone who likes to spend a lot of time outside and maybe what your outdoor story is?

Ebony Gheorghe: Yeah, so I’ve always really been interested in, the world around me and like in the more sciencey and like outdoorsy way. So I always like to pick different subjects at school, which allowed me to go on more like field trips or go and be outside just so that I could, spend the time in nature or learning things. But you know, when I was young, I didn’t really know this was like, was a thing, it was just kind of intuitive. Well, I really wanted to be outside and outdoors and through my studies I’ve kind of learned about the earth and like the environmental side of things and really rocks as a geoscientist, rocks and soils. But then also in my personal life, I was. much more interested in plants as well. So it’s kind of merged together and kind of come full circle. Yeah that pretty much makes me like who I am now and I didn’t know that was leading me to this, but you know, just kind of seeing what your interests are as a young person, kind of not influenced by others and you really see who you are and that’s pretty much what led me to this

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Isn’t it interesting that we have this intuitive draw to spend time outside as kids and it’s sort of trained out of us by our modern culture then we have to go find it again.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes, exactly. That’s honestly, that’s why I feel like I’m doing just reconnecting with nature, reconnecting with like my true self and that I’ve kind of just been on this journey of, um, finding out like who am I? Which I? think we’ve all had that question at some point. And I think this really, for me personally, being outdoors really helped me to have less like anxiety and really, Be comfortable with who I am and yeah, it’s nice to towith with that side of things, you know?

Amy Bushatz: I know we’re both parents and it just, it strikes me as, hopefully we’re keeping our kids from having to go on this, finding their way back outside journey by being people who have already had that journey ourselves and, and just kind of keep them connected to being outside from the get go and hopefully never lose that. I don’t know, maybe that’s a pipe dream.

Ebony Gheorghe: Exactly No, I think definitely, I think um, because they see us doing that, I feel like they would they kind of naturally go for it themselves and just try and find out who they are. So that, I think that works, definitely.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. How did you first discover the art and science of forging? How’d you get into that?

Ebony Gheorghe: So I discovered that actually so as I said, I did study environmental science and this kind of topics, but the foraging itself came through my interest to, of herbalism, so actually making and crafting things like doing different oil infusions and so forth, which then led me to learn about the wild flowers and wild plants around. So pretty much through there, I, I became a a forger, I, I would say, or just pretty much learning about herbalism, so being kind of a herbalist. So, yeah, that, that’s how I got into it.

Amy Bushatz: And how does foraging help connect you to nature? Why should skeptics give it a try? If they’re like, well, you know, I can be outside, but I don’t need to, you know, learn about oils and infusions and eating stuff on bushes. I have grocery stores for that.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yeah. it helps you see things on a different scale. you know, we’re so used to just, honestly being oblivious of certain things, you know, that we have. And it kind of takes us back to basics in a way. And that also helps us with, I think it helps us see things in different lights and which can also translate into different areas of our lives. So connecting in that way and also help us appreciate, you know, those before us, like our .Ancestors and with food, and it keeps us grounded in a way. So seeing this lifecycle of something, um, that is so giving like a plant, but also having the respect for the ones you know, are probably not as friendly as, let’s say, nettles. So it, yeah, I think it, it’s good because it keeps us grounded and it reminds us of who, we are in this world and as a, as a species even, you know, because it’s all about working and being together with the different kind of animals and different kind of species of plants and fauna and flora. And I think this, if you are looking for that kind of feeling, foraging does help with that, definitely in this, in this, especially in this day and age, I think, you know.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. It’s almost like it takes being outside from being something that you’re using

to being a partnership. Because even though you would think, oh, well now I’m just using it more. I’m picking berries, I’m harvesting, I’m full, like I’m using by being out here, and then I’m like using even more. The truth is, is like when you are picking and harvesting, you are becoming in a relationship with the things that you are picking and harvesting, because if you over pick, it’s gone. Or if you try to pick too soon, it’s not good. You have to be like in tune and paying attention and then kind, and then only taking what you need so that you can have more later and, and just sort of this, understanding the rhythm and the season and, and then the other part of this that I’ve noticed recently is how much work it is, right? Like we just sort of walk by that, but harvesting and picking and then you have to put it away. Like all of this is a tremendous amount of work. Yes, Whoa.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes, I know. And I think definitely like even ’cause you know, you have to dry certain, some plants as well, or different things or preparing or preserving things. It, it is work actually, but it also, I think it helps with, especially now with everything being so easy almost for, for some, it’s like, this kind of gives us some patience and almost, it can be like a meditation or a a rituals, which teaches patience and, um, just seeing things through at their time, you know.

So, because I’m quite a spiritual person, I like to see, connect that with foraging and herbalism, you know, learning and trying to be grounded and, and looking at and learning from different, like plants, you know, the the cycles and things and understanding that we are almost the same. We are like that as well. So definitely that’s how I, uh, connect foraging with with day to day as well. Yeah.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. It would be nice if the work ended after you did the picking or the harvesting. You know, you’re like out there and like, my gosh, my back hurts and I’m so sweaty and I’ve got bug bites. And then you come home, you’re like, wait a second. I have to do something with all of this.

Ebony Gheorghe: Honestly, sometimes I, I’ve, like, for my infusions that I have, like I use, sometimes I’ve left

them in the oil for longer than like, six weeks. So I’m like, uh, just strain that another time. It’s fine, it’s fine.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah.

Ebony Gheorghe: I’m just like, yeah, it’s becoming more potent now. That’s great. So I have an excuse I leave it.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah and then, you know, if you’re harvesting berries, well you can’t, sometimes you can stick ’em in the fridge, but they’re gonna go bad so quickly. Gotta deal with it.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yeah. You need to like, no, okay, I’m going to do this A, B, and C. So it it’s definitely a process that, that there is to it.

Amy Bushatz: But even that takes you back into that connection that we’re talking about, that you are putting in all of this work, but it’s the work of a relationship that that’s giving. So you give back by processing and then when you consume or you use your infusion, you are appreciating the sweat that you put into I this.

Ebony Gheorghe: I know. definitely, definitely, definitely. I think you do appreciate that and you appreciate also even the time that it takes to, to make something, you know, and then you appreciate like create creators and creatives you know, it helps even with people’s time and different things, you know, it can, can really translate into, into one’s life and I think it’s very important.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, there’s, we live in a very, a place where a lot of people do a lot of foraging. It’s Alaska, you know, so a lot of berries and I would receive before I started doing a little bit of this on my own, local friends would give me as gifts for Christmas a can or a jar of something they had personally canned or jarred. And I was like, that’s nice and didn’t really savor it, but when you start doing it yourself and understand the labor that went into this little jar of this little thing.

Ebony Gheorghe: I know, I know you really do appreciate, like, you’re like, oh wow, this this is like a labor of love, you know? And you really do appreciate each other. and it’s, I think it’s really necessary, you know, especially in this time when it’s, everything’s so fast-paced and we tend to forget the process behind things, and this is like a gentle reminder,if you, if you forage or if you want to create something, it’s a reminder what goes into things and yeah, I think it really helps. One, like day to day, definitely.

Amy Bushatz: If you’re like me, you know, heading outside all year long, means changing the kind of stuff you do out there with the seasons. With fall and winter sneaky in, I know ski season and all sorts of winter fun are not far away. 

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So, as I mentioned in the introduction, foraging can feel really inaccessible. And of course you’ve written a beautiful book about this to make it more accessible, but people just like don’t know what they’re looking for or how to find it, or it feels scary because of all the death warnings, you know? Tell me your perspective. Is it inaccessible and scary, or is there any truth to those sort of fear-based things?

Ebony Gheorghe: So I mean, there is, it’s I dunno, I dunno if it’s, Inaccessible in, I think depends on the areas. It can seem like that, you know, um, but it doesn’t have to be inaccessible because, you know, there’s woodlands or like forests or parks or even like one, anyone can start in their garden learning one by one different plants and different mushrooms. Um, but definitely it’s really important to respect plants and respect nature in, in a way. And not being like super fearful, but have some understanding of certain families of plants, for example, the carrot family and knowing that, okay, plants that look like this have a, b and C type of, uh, uh, relatives, which can cause like different levels of discomfort and some can cause death. So, that should not instill such a fear, but rather like a respect, you know, and make you take time in learning and not really rush these things, which I think is really important to have your own pace when it comes to this, because I find even as things you know, get popular sometimes people don’t necessarily go at their own pace of things. I think it’s really, really important to still have that, you know.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Because we’re always looking for ways to hack this and hack that and speed up.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes, Yes, exactly. Yeah. So I think that’s just kind of been instilled into us you know, because now everything is so fast paced and you, we need things like now and we kind of ignore certain like warnings, should we say? But this in a way, like with mushrooms and learning about poisonous ones as well as non poisonous, think it’s it’s just as important to know both sides of of the coin,

Amy Bushatz: Right. And it goes back to this idea that we were just talking about a little bit ago, where you are, the reward in this isn’t just in feeding yourself something verifiably delicious. Because anyone who’s ever consumed wild strawberries or fresh berries or even just lettuce from the farmer’s market, instead of buying those things in a store knows that the taste difference is just not even comparable. So it’s not just this delicious thing. It is a delicious thing, but it’s not just that, it’s a, the reward is in this connection that’s hard even to articulate. And then in developing respect for the place that you just mentioned, right? So this respectful pace, knowing that there are rewards and risks and that we can only discover those at our, at a pace that is our own, not as a pace that is someone else’s.

Ebony Gheorghe: Exactly. Yes. I. think that’s really important because it’s like a unique and individual journey as it is um, also as a, a journey for everyone, you know, reconnecting with nature. And I feel that after things with like. The pandemic and things, it really made people’s ideas of things shift. And like, I’d like to think that in a good way that, that some things, you know, change for, for better in a way, as in we reconnect with nature and what’s important in our lives, you know, because unfortunately these things make you think. And definitely it’s important that we each have our own journey with with what’s outside and what’s around us, because that really held us through the difficult time when the pandemic occurred. You know, not being able to see those things really affected us, you know? So so it’s good to to, kind of have your own relationship and appreciation, definitely.

Amy Bushatz: So I’m wondering what are some things that people should be cautious about before we get into how to do this and, and what are the, you know, how to make this accessible and like practical steps there. Let’s talk just a little bit more about caution. What should people be cautious about and what’s a good in-between place where you’re not so scared that you’re not going out and doing the thing, but you’re also not so free that you’re now, you know, dead. So what do people need to know?

Ebony Gheorghe: Yeah, so I think it’s always, it’s very important to always be a hundred percent sure of what you are picking or even what you think you are picking, so you don’t necessarily have to pick things. first go, go straight picking. You can just learn about the plants, take photos, go back, check different, sources, for example, different books or even personally, I like to save lots of photos of plants and mushrooms on Instagram. And from that folder if I wanna learn about a certain thing. I use that as a reference and double check my books at home for herbal medicine and foraging. And then I see, okay, what can this be used for? And from there, I, I decide, okay, is it something that I need to use? So not just picking it because, but actually having a plan. So having a plan for what you want to do with something really helps narrow down the chances of you like picking things that would really end, not end well, you know? And also being cautious of, um, different rules for different areas. There might be different rules for, I think in some places in, in America, I think for example, picking Lions Mane is not allowed. So this might be because it’s scarce in a way. So probably cultivating it or growing some things in your garden can also be another way to avoid this scary, side of foraging, so to speak.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. What is, what is Lion’s Mane? Can describe that for us?

Ebony Gheorghe: Lion’s Mane is a mushroom, which pretty much it looks like a lion’s mane. And it’s, it’s really white and it’s, it’s very like a glorious, like big white, kind of has like hanging kind of like spike looking texture. but yeah, just think of a lion’s mane, but white. And that’s probably what, that’s what the mushroom looks like it’s a, yeah, very striking one.

Amy Bushatz: And, I think your note about what to do at with it, thinking about that ahead of time,

as a caution, it’s also sort of the other side of this where it’s goes to that partnership and it goes to, you know, having a plan and it goes to not being wasteful because I imagine, and maybe I’m speaking from experience here, it’s very easy to get, especially as a new forager to get really stoked about finding something that it, you know what it is and you know how to get it and, and now you have a lot of it, and then you just have a lot of it at your house. Yeah.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yeah. think that’s happen to all of us.

Amy Bushatz: And then you’re like, I turns out don’t really like this. Or it turns out that I only need the tiniest bit to make the thing that I do like. Or even

We have here behind, very near my house, a lot of highbush cranberry bushes. Um, and for those who don’t know highbush cranberries, have, they smell a little bit like dirty socks. They’re very tart. They’re not, uh, they’re not bad. They’re just a very tart and they have a very specific odor. And, I speak about this only because it’s the first thing that I ever

foraged here, because it’s so nearby. And I figured out what it was. So then we went a little crazy because

there was a lot of them, and then we get them home and I was like, all right, what can, what can we do with these? Well, it turns out, not a lot and, uh, you know, fruit, people make fruit leather with them. Well, it takes a really long time to make fruit leather and you really only like so much of it, and it’s still very tart. And my kids wouldn’t eat it because it was so tart. And now I have a lot of highbush cranberry fruit leather for myself, which is like, maybe I don’t need that. You know, just sort of this problem. And so it was really this lesson for me in how to not do that.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost like a sustainable way and finding that balance, you know, and always trying to think ahead. ’cause I think something similar happened to me with, um, so here we have sloe berries and they, they’re quite famous for being used in a gin. So, sloe gins, s-l-o-e .And we had some in the, luckily this was our garden at the time, so I picked so many, so much of it picked so much. I was like, okay, I’m gonna do this and this, and it was, it was the tar, tightest berry ever. I just, honestly, I didn’t like it. at all I I made. I made a pie and I was like, Hmm, yep, this is, this is good. I have to eat this now don’t I? So I was like, yup, never again.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a little bit how I felt with the Highbush cranberries. I’m gonna be real honest. Yeah.

Ebony Gheorghe: Honestly. And, and that’s okay. You know, because we have, sometimes we have to do this to learn, and from there we, we realize that, okay, next time let’s just try one and see how it’s going.

Amy Bushatz: Or just have a plan when you get started, you know, like, I’m gonna do X, y, Z with these, and then I’m going to see how that is, and then I’m gonna continue on maybe. Yeah.

Ebony Gheorghe: And it’s, it’s, that definitely works, trust me. Definitely works.

Amy Bushatz: What’s a good on-ramp foraging activity is, is like, is there a particular plant or fruit or herb that you suggest people break into this with, some like, I don’t know, beginner foraging for beginers.

Ebony Gheorghe: So beginners, I would always like say something like nettles, you know, you have stinging nettles, which I think pretty much everyone knows about, but they’re like a super food, um, full of different vitamins, silica as well. So it’s good for internal, like as a tea and for iron. And it’s also good externally, like for hair cause of the silica content and nails. And I think this was a really nice one. So this is what I pretty much learned about first and what I kind of broke into foraging with, cause I was looking to make, herbal oil infusions for my hair. So I’m, I made this nettle oil and I found it really helps for me and for keeping my hair like not too dry. And so I would definitely recommend nettles, maybe. Different berries, like blackberries. You know, bramble is quite an easy one ’cause you see it in shops. So you have this this reference of what it is. Elder flowers, because they’re just, you can make so many nice desserts and they’re such a generous, flower, you know, from the elder tree. Really good for colds as well. So, and obviously the famous elder flower cordials from there. And primrose, I would say is a good one, just quite gentle, um, sedative plants. So really good for like stress.

So there’s quite a few to start with Before you go to the next level, ones that have looked similar to other things. And then I would say the one in the carrot family, the plants from carrot family would probably not be beginner friendly because it’s very subtle differences. It’s it’s, nice because you have something to work up to, so there’s, you are always learning, you know, and you don’t all have to rush. If you feel connected to one plant, you can really work with that plant for like over a year and you just, there’s always something new to learn and to discover. So yeah, definitely nettles and berries and elder flower and primrose, I would say would be good.

Amy Bushatz: And your book has guide on how to find these, what to do with them, and, um, just sort of all of that, right?

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes. Yeah. So in the book we touched upon different things that are, are quite good for beginners to forage and quite easy for beginners to forage in different seasons. so through the different seasons, what you can find, how to find them, and examples of what you can do with them. So talking about having that plan, you know.with the book you. Pretty much have it set out. So whatever you find from the book, you have a guide to what you can do with it. And yeah, I think it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s really interesting to have that all laid out for you, so yeah.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. What is your favorite thing to forge now that you’re an expert? Like what what do you really love to you feel like you hit gold mine, or just really love to find and use?

Ebony Gheorghe: So I currently, I feel really like connected with mugwort., which is, Artemisia vulgaris. It’s really, just the smell of it. It’s very perfumey, especially the flower buds. The look it’s just such a beautiful plant with silvery underside of the leaves and it can grow really tall. So sometimes watching it in the wind, it’s just so mesmerizing. And this plant is, is quite magical, as in it gives you, like vivid dreams and lucid dreams and also, as a, used topically during menstruation, I find it really helps with cramps, when applied, like just above the like womb area. It’s just, for me, it’s just such a wonderful plant. I always find myself like, being that little weirdo just grinning at the plant on my walk with my babe, with my, my toddler even. I’m just like, oh yeah, it’s mugwart!. And she’s like, what is going on?

Amy Bushatz: It’s funny that you say that because, because there is a risk here of being that quote, you know, like you said, that little weirdo of of doing that I, uh, you know, you said that and I had this vision of my friend here um, her name’s Michelle. I hope she hears this because she’s gonna think it’s really funny. So Michelle is a forager,

She teaches foraging classes and she is particularly , fond of mushrooms and she is also an ultra runner, so she runs with me and, she, I swear to God, she finishes races with mushrooms in her hands and in her pockets that she’ll find them on her run. And you know, you come back 15 miles later and there’s Michelle running with mushrooms and.

Ebony Gheorghe: I am Michelle, MIchelle me.

Amy Bushatz: And you’re just like, what is happening here? But the, yeah,

Ebony Gheorghe: They’re just like your friends and you’re like, hey, look, it’s a friend . Yeah. it, it happens. But Yeah, currently for me, mugwart is just like, I just can’t, and when it was more of a sunny weather, it was lilac, was just beautiful.

Amy Bushatz: What do do with lilac.

Ebony Gheorghe: I like to infuse it in some milk and have it like as a kind of a floral milk just before bed, you know, quite relaxing. And you can also use it in ice cream recipes. It’s quite like popular here, but I’ve seen lilac ice cream and I think, I find it’s, very, very useful in desserts and, and nice like kind of comforting and posh kind of feeling to it.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, yeah, Fascinating. So I would love to come forage with you in the UK, but it’s probably not gonna happen. So if someone wants an actual human to help them learn the ropes for forging, what’s the best way to find people, like to find guides who do this wherever you are? Because not all of us have Michelle running by us with mushrooms or, or, or you in the uk.

Ebony Gheorghe: I think some of the best ways, like for example, for me, I found, different groups nearby. Now i, I know on, for example, if you use, different like social media platforms, you can also save different groups in for different interests or different hashtags or in your area. And even what I found was searching for different workshops -so foraging workshops for foraging walks in, let’s say Alaska for example. You would find people that are either interested or people that do carry out these walks. And from there you kind of build your knowledge.

You learn about it with them, but also you can build your knowledge on, on your own through books and studies and, pretty much just looking up wherever you are interested in and just trying to identify and recognizing things. And from there it does get easier because you, start to learn like some basic botany, so the look of plants and the leaf arrangements and how the buds look and so how the roots might be and what you can use them for. So it kind of naturally, happens from, there if you do different walks or workshops, I, I would recommend. yeah.

Amy Bushatz: And like we talked about earlier, sort of that on ramp to don’t, don’t start with the most confusing mushroom array. Start with something that’s clear.

Ebony Gheorghe: So be a hundred percent confident, with, okay even if it’s something that might seem obvious to, others, just take it at your pace and be like, okay, I need to identify one thing and I’m gonna start with something super easy. Let’s say crab apples like basically an apple, but smaller and you study and you look at the leaves. And you say, okay, I’m gonna try and find this now. And then you can use it to make , crab, apple cider or different, you can just eat them. And that makes you feel good because you have kind of gone back to this natural and intuitive knowledge that we’ve, we kind of lost, you know? And I think it really gives you a sense of like, confidence, getting into foraging. And you definitely can take it at your own pace. It’s not, a race, you know, there’s so much to learn and you are always learning. Like I’m, constantly learning new things and especially with mushrooms, I’m pretty much a beginner with mushrooms myself ’cause uh, I just haven’t felt like, that was the right time. So now for me, I thought, okay, now is the right time. And I’m starting with things that I know a hundred percent are what they are. So definitely don’t be afraid if you’re not too adventurous as well. So take your time. Definitely. I would tell people,

Amy Bushatz: Do you think that foraging, like should we put a warning out there? Foraging is like you’re opening a real can of worms here and once you start, you’re never gonna be able to stop because, because like you get a taste of this and you’re gonna be like, what can I pick where, what can I do with it? You know? And now this is a lifestyle and you’re that crazy person with the mushrooms or the mugwort.

Ebony Gheorghe: Yes, definitely. You do, I think it really changes how you see things. For example, now when I go on walks, I’m just constantly looking at for plants to identify and I’m practicing. I’m like, okay, that is nettle. This is you know, red clovers, this is primrose, this is this. And I feel really happy that I’ve learned about those things, or I can spot them now. As before, I would just see a green scape just as one, but everything starts to almost want you to recognize them when you start foraging and you feel instantly,., I would say you feel instantly, this kind of connection and you do realize what’s around you. So definitely it can be quite addictive to forage. It does get addictive.

Amy Bushatz: It. It seems like it might be a little bit like birding, where you’re like, one day like there’s birds, and the next day you’re like, oh, snap. That’s a grey capped chickadee, what’s up? You know?

Ebony Gheorghe: Same definitely. Because you’re just like, it’s almost in awe of. These things and when you see them, you get so excited, you know? So yeah, definitely it’s the same.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, yeah. So funny. So thank you so much for this guidance. Of course, everybody can check out your book Enchanted Foraging to learn more about forging and what to do. And it’s not just UK foraging, it’s foraging worldwide. You have information on where plants are found, if they’re found in the UK what parts of North America they might be found in. I found it useful for foraging here in Alaska so I know people will find it useful all over the place. So people, of course, check that out. You can find it wherever you get your books.

Now, Ebony. We closed our episode, sort of reminiscing with our guest about one of your favorite outdoor moments, like if we closed our eyes and imagined somewhere that you had like just an outdoor memory or an outdoor moment that you loved. Um, just love to hear what that moment is for you and we can connect over that.

Ebony Gheorghe: . So, I have two moments. One, I would say definitely in the Cairngorms National Park in, Scotland’s, the Highlands. I was younger and we went there and just standing at the bottom of, it’s a, so a geological, term, a cirque where it’s almost inside the mountains, and just that wonder of being so small there. It just took me away and honestly, I could have stayed there forever.

And another time was in New Zealand. Just seeing the water and the, the mountain, and the mountain water and glaciers. Oh, I just fell in love honestly. And if I could be there, I would be there now, definitely I, I, I love mountains and um, actually Alaska is a place I’ve always said as a child that I would always like to, to be. So that would be my third place,

Amy Bushatz: Well, if you decide to come up here, let me know. I always invite my podcast guests to come visit if they’re in the area. And, people think I’m not serious about that, but I am. So hopefully we see you up here soon.

Ebony, it’s been so fun talking to you today and learning about foraging. Thank you so much for your time and for joining us on Humans Outside.

Ebony Gheorghe: It’s been amazing so, thank you.

Amy Bushatz: That’s a wrap on this episode of Humans Outside. But hey, I need your help. Enjoy this show? Leave a five star rating or review or vote wherever you get your podcasts. It makes me feel good, but it also helps others find a show too. Now, go get outside. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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