Now I'm not here to tell you what you can, and can't eat in the forest, but I will tell you this much; There's a lot to eat out there! Being 100% sure about your wild edibles takes time, and a good memory. It's very easy to misidentify a mushroom or berry species, and that is not an enjoyable experience. So buy some books, watch some videos (YouTube has everything), ask some friends, read more books, check out some websites and really get your head around how to identify multiple parts of the plant you are looking for before picking. No sense picking a boat load of Huckleberries only to discover they are actually Rose-Hips, or coming home with Cat's Tongue instead of Dandelion.... (Rose-Hips and Cat's Tongue are edible, but not overly tasty...)
Now you may be thinking, 'shouldn't we save those tasty berries for the pretty little birds?'.... Well you're right, kinda. We shouldn't go into the forest on a commercial scale and pick clean every berry bush in sight, aiming to fill our freezers for the winter. But if you've ever seen a blackberry bush in October, you'll see how many berries were left at the end of the season. Just like a tomato plant, picking the ripe black berries in season allows the plant to ripen new berries, which is why you can pick from the same bush all summer! I have 4 freezer bags full of blackberries, which is hardly a noticeable bite out of the wild harvest, but will save me about $60 in groceries and let me enjoy a bit of wild goodness in my breakfast well into the fall.
Some of our local parks started out as farms, and still have fruit trees growing within the park boundaries. Now Im quite sure it is technically illegal to pick apples from the trees in the park, but that's just because the parks don't want to be liable for people getting sick from eating a spoiled apple. So don't try to sue. Ive ate many of them, and find them quite delicious even with some bug holes and imperfections. The best part about them, is that they're FREE! Maybe don't bring a ladder, but these delicious and nutritious apples should not be left to rot on the ground. The food system continues to be strained with swelling population world-wide, how can we ignore a perfectly good food source right in our back yard!
Mushrooms.... are you scared yet? They're such fun guys, don't be shy! But yes, this can be the most intimidating wild edible to pick for yourself because the consequences of eating the wrong mushroom can be deadly. Yes, you read that right. Eat the wrong mushroom and- You. Could. Die..... Eat the right mushroom though, and you'll take your culinary skills to the next level with a new amazing ingredient! Chanterelles, Oysters, Morels, Coral, PuffBalls, there are many edible varieties of mushrooms and in a good growing season you can be collecting every day! The temperate climate in Victoria makes for a very long growing season, so if you come across a mushroom you would like to positively identify before picking, take it home and do some research and return to pick after you are positive it is edible. Don't wait too long to come back though, if it is edible, someone may pick it before you. Not many animals depend on mushrooms as a food source, so don't feel bad about picking them, but in your efforts to harvest do not destroy the underbrush and moss growth. If you do, your favourite mushroom might not be there next season, and its bad karma.... don't mess with the forest.
So, should you pick it? Yes. But only if you know what it is, and you plan to eat it.... and Im not talking about your nose.