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Foraging for free food: Warrigal Greens

We’re nearing the end of week three of Our {more or less} No Spend Month. We’ve actually found it empowering to spend {more or less} nothing. I imagine it would be extremely disempowering if we were broke and were forced not to spend. But having money and not spending feels good.

I’ve been reminded of all the ways to get food without spending money. Foraging is my absolute favourite.


On our recent kayak trip, I was excited to spot loads of the bush tucker plant Tetragonia tetragonioides, commonly known as Warrigal Greens, Native Spinach, or New Zealand Spinach.


See the bright green ground cover plant in the picture above? That's all Warrigal Greens.


Of course I had to jump out and pick some, and for lunch later that day we had Native Spinach Frittata.



This one didn’t look as good as my previous attempt, because our ‘no-spend challenge’ has me being stingy with eggs (eggs, cheese and onions are considered gold in this household at the moment).

Warrigal Greens is probably one of the easiest bush-tucker plants to forage

  • It's easy to find. It’s found scattered throughout Australia and New Zealand and has become naturalised in many parts of the world. You will mostly find it along waterways and near the coast.  
  • It’s easy to recognise and hard to confuse with anything, so you’re unlikely to accidentally eat the wrong thing. Have a look at these images and note the shape of it's leaves and fruit. It's fruit in particular is really distinctive.
  • It’s easy to use. Simply use it as you would spinach, except you need to blanch it first in water to remove oxalates. Young leaves are fine to eat raw.  It can be substituted for spinach in any recipe and I particularly like it in egg dishes because of it’s slightly salty flavour. 

A few considerations when foraging native plants (bush tucker)

  • When foraging for native plants, please don't pick more than you need (in contrast to weeds, you can go ahead and pick as many of them as you like).
  • It's illegal to pick native plants without a permit in many instances, so be aware that you are probably doing something illegal, depending upon where you are foraging. And definately don't forage from a National Park or other Conservation Reserve.
  • Be cautious when foraging in urban areas. Stay away from areas that may be polluted (e.g. industrial areas), as toxins and heavy metals can be taken up by some plants. Also avoid areas that are actively managed (e.g a well maintained park) as the plants may have been sprayed with a herbicide or pesticide. If you are interested in urban foraging, I love Penniless Parenting's Rules of Foraging

Confession time

We've broken Our {more or less} No Spend Month a hand-full of times. Mainly it's been small purchases like a few onions and a beer each when out last friday night. But we also broke it big-time by purchasing some gravel and pavers for a job we've planned for years and finally found a window of time to implement.

Have you foraged anything recently?

There's only a few hours left to enter the natural deodorant giveaway if you havn't already. Entries close midnight tonight (Saturday).