Edible Plants

All posts tagged Edible Plants

Survival 101: The Right Way To Determine If A Plant Is Edible

By Rich M – Off The Grid News

When those in the survivalist and prepping community talk about living off the land, the focus tends to be on hunting, with maybe a little fishing thrown in for variety. Being a carnivore myself, I happen to like that idea, but in reality, it’s not a complete picture. Our ancestors, if you go back far enough, lived as hunter/gatherers. We tend to focus on the hunting part, without talking much about the gathering part.

Hunting is all about animal protein, while gathering is about plants. Whether it’s nuts, berries, fruit, leaves or roots, plant life helps to sustain us as much as animal protein does. In fact, those who claim expertise in nutrition tell us that it should be the larger part of our diet.

Yet few of us know enough to gather plants for food, should we find ourselves in a survival situation. That’s dangerous, as it denies us a major source of the nutrition that we’ll so desperately need. Not only that, but last I checked, a plant can’t run away from us when we’re hunting it. So, gathering should actually be an easier way to find food.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: Survival 101: The Right Way To Determine If A Plant Is Edible

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Big 5 Forgotten plants Our Ancestors Used For Food

By  – SurvivoPedia

What would you say if I told you that there were between 12k and 25k different enjoyably edible things on our planet but we only actually eat about 500 of them, at the most?

Our ancestors ate quite a larger range of foods than we do today, and many of them had medicinal as well as nutritional benefits.

Read on to learn more about these lost yummies.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 5 Forgotten Plants Our Ancestors Used For Food

spring edibles

By  – SurvivoPedia

Are you tired of cold temperatures? Can’t you stand the freezing anymore? Hold your horses, spring is almost here! And with it so are a lot of plants that will invade your garden. But don’t hurry to get rid of them! Some pack a lot of nutritional properties as well as medicinal benefits. So let’s take a look at 10 of them.

1. Dandelion

dandelion

There is no way to miss it and it’s sure to be in your garden. Some people consider it invasive, while others are allergic to it because it contains inulin, but dandelion is still one of the most common spring edibles.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 10 Spring Edibles To Look For In Your Backyard

Foraging might be a method you have to use to find food. Edible plants are one way to eat.

By Pat Henry –  The Prepper Journal

Sometimes, you have to think outside of the freeze-dried food paradigm. You may find yourself in the woods forced to run from your home or camp because of marauders with nothing to eat. Fortunately, there are many edible plants that can save your life if you know what they are, how to identify them and are comfortable with preparing them.

I don’t personally think that I will love eating a bunch of weeds to survive, but I will if needed. In a long-term disaster, I would certainly consider them vital to preserving life and the right edible plants could augment your gardens and food stores. I wanted to write up this list of 20 edible plants that are found mostly in the temperate region. There are certainly others you could find growing near you, but this is a good start. If I am able to master 20 edible plants in the area where I live, I would consider that a huge benefit to my prepping needs.

There are a lot of very recognizable plants you can eat like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and so on, but I didn’t want to add those to the list.

Plants to avoid

Before you grab a good book on edible plants and run out into the woods with a bowl and a fork, you should practice some caution with this process. Not all plants are edible and knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. Before you forage, here are some simple rules to follow when you are trying to identify a plant.

Do not eat any plants that have the following traits

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Grain heads with purple/pink or black spurs
  • Beans, bulbs or seeds inside pods
  • Yellow, white or red berries
  • Soapy or bitter taste
  • Never eat plants with thorns.
  • Steer clear of plants with shiny leaves.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms. Many are safe to eat, but many are highly toxic and even deadly, so it’s not worth the risk.
  • Umbrella-shaped flowers are a bad sign. Stay away from these plants.
  • Avoid anything that smells like almonds.
  • Same as poison ivy, stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three.

Before venturing out into the woods to forage for edible plants, it makes sense to have a guide.

In addition to avoiding all of those traits, you want to forage for wild edible plants in areas that are less likely to have toxins. Plants growing near homes could have been sprayed many times with chemicals. Plants in water that is contaminated will likely hold that same contamination. Plants by the road will have picked up many harmful chemicals and pollution.

Before eating, use the Universal Edibility Test

Before taking the test, you need to fast for 8 hours. If you are desperate enough to need to find edible plants, this might be already the case.

  1. Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  2. Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds and flowers
  3. Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate if a plant is edible or not.
  4. During the 8 hours you are fasting, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to get a reaction if there is going to be one.
  5. During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and that plant part you are testing.
  6. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  7. Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
  8. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue and hold it there for 15 minutes. DO NOT SWALLOW.
  9. If there is no burning, itching, numbing, stinging , or any other irritation, swallow the plant part.
  10. Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
  11. If no ill effects occur, each ¼ cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If everything is still good after all of these steps, the plant is considered edible.

Note: Just because the part you tested is edible, that doesn’t mean the entire plant is edible. Test all parts the same way before eating them.

List of Edible Plants

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)

Amaranth is an edible weed found almost everywhere. You can eat all parts of the plant but some leaves contain spines. Boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Wild Asparagus grows in most of Europe and North America. This looks different than the fatter stalks you normally eat but can be eaten raw or boiled. Add a little butter and salt.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

First-year roots and second-year stems can be cooked by boiling for about 20 minutes, then season to taste. Before cooking however, the stems should be peeled, and roots scrubbed in order to remove the bitter rind.

Cattail (Typha species)

The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted.

Clover (Trifolium)

 

I have never been able to find a four-leaf clover but you can't walk out in my back yard without stepping on this plant. You can eat the leaves raw or boil them.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.

Chickweed (Stekkarua media)

Chickweed is a very nutritious herb, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E along with Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc plus essential fatty acids. It can be eaten as a salad vegetable or cooked and eaten like cabbage.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. They can also be dried and stored for the winter or blanched and frozen.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw.

Plantain (Plantago species)

The leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a spinach substitute, and are awesome raw in salads and blended into green smoothies, especially the younger ones as the mature leaves may taste slightly bitter.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Pokeweed can be poisonous if not prepared carefully.

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species)

Both the pads and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus are edible.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

The moisture-rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

The leaves of Sassafras texture and can be used raw or cooked in salads or eaten right off the plant, unlike the berries, the leaves have a mild pleasant taste.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

You can use the leaves in salad, or make into soup.

Thistle (Cirsium species)

Flower head shown: Just strip the green off the leaf leaving the very edible midrib.  Rub the “wool” off and enjoy, raw or cooked.

Water lily and lotus (Nuphar, Nelumbo, and other species)

Leaves gathered anytime during the growing season (although, again, early spring growth is best of all) make good greens. Chop the pads into noodle-like strips and boil them in one change of water. The addition of a little bacon doesn't hurt a thing.

Wild onion and garlic (Allium species)

ll parts of this particular Wild Onion/Garlic are edible, the underground bulbs, the long, thin leaves, the blossoms, and the bulblets on top.

Wild rose (Rosa species)

etals can be added to salads , desserts, beverages, used to make jelly or jam and be candied

Wood sorrel (Oxalis species)

The leaves, flowers, green seed pods, and roots are all edible, raw or cooked. It can be eaten straight out of the ground, added to soups, made into a sauce, or used as a seasoning. As a seasoning, it provides a lemony/vinegary taste to whatever it's added to.

Now that you have some more information about the edible plants near you, why don’t you try eating some of these varieties the next time you go for a hike in the woods. Any wild edible plants that you eat that didn’t make the list?

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: 20 Edible Plants That Could Save Your Life

bushcraft skills

By Chris Ruiz – The Bug Out Bag Guide

Feeding yourself off the land can be a challenge even in favorable conditions and is one of the most important bushcraft skills to learn.  It takes a good knowledge of local plants and animals as well as the ability to actually catch or gather them to make a meal.  The field of bushcraft has lots of ways to make this easier.  For more basic information on getting started with Bushcraft, check out our article HERE.

Bushcraft Skills: Foraging for edible plants

Being able to forage for your dinner requires an in depth knowledge of the plants in your area.  You need to know not only what you CAN eat but also what you CAN’T eat.

bushcraft skills

What to look for

  • Roots and tubers:  Roots and tubers are found in the soil underneath the vine or stalk of a plant.  They are very nutritious but usually require cooking or boiling.  Potatoes, yams, and onions are all either roots or tubers.
  • Grasses: The young whitish tips of many grasses are edible and often palatable.  They can be eaten raw
  • Seeds & Nuts: The seeds and nuts of many plants are edible and provide a good source of nutrition.  If you taste a seed or nut and it has a bitter or acidic quality it is probably not safe to eat.  Frequently seeds and nuts can be made safe to eat by soaking them for 12 hours in water or boiling.
  • Fruit & Berries: We are used to seeing fruit in our supermarkets on a regular basis but it is important to note that the apples, pears, and bananas we consume are the product of thousands of years of cultivation by farmers.  Many berries and fruits found in the wild can be harmful if eaten.  Generally any fruit that is red in color should be avoided.  Unless you are sure a fruit or berry is safe to eat these are best avoided.
  • Leaves: The leaves of many plants are edible both raw and after boiling.  Some palatable ones to seek out are watercress and nettles (be careful when picking nettles as they can sting), both of which often grow near freshwater streams.  Beware leaves that have a strong bitter taste.

bushcraft skills

Things to avoid:

An important part of bushcraft foraging is knowing what to avoid.  Remember that there are exceptions to every rule so it is best to educate yourself about your local plants as much as possible.  Here are some general guidelines to follow.

Continue reading at The Bug Out Bag Guide: Bushcraft Skills: Foraging for food

Image source: Senatorlaurathielen

By Rich M – Off The Grid News

Plenty of people believe that when things fall apart, they can just go into the wild, living off the land. While such a life has a lot of appeal to it, I’m also enough of a realist to understand how hard that will be. While many people did live off the land in the early days of this country, things have changed. There isn’t as much wilderness available today as there was back then, and as a people we aren’t accustomed to such a lifestyle.

The two biggest problems with trying to live off of what nature provides are too many people and a lack of knowledge. Back when people did live off the land, there weren’t a 10th of the people in the country that there are today. They also had a lot more knowledge about the flora and fauna around them. There are few people today who can hunt without baiting the animals in and even fewer who can identify edible plants.

Of course, that gives a distinct advantage to those who know how to hunt and can identify edible plants. In fact, being able to identify edible plants might just be what keeps some people alive. Considering that few people can identify them, there is little risk that there will be much competition for those plants.

Watch Out for Poisonous Plants

In addition to edible plants, there are many plants you can find in the wild which are dangerous to eat, even poisonous. Unless it is a dire emergency, survival isn’t the time to go around trying new things. You don’t know what you might find that would hurt you.

Since there is no sure way of identifying which plants are safe and which are poisonous, the best way of protecting yourself is to stick to eating only plants that you know and can identify as being safe to eat. When looking at other plants, you probably want to stay away from any plants that have:

  • Milky or colored sap.
  • Any sort of spines, thorns or fine hairs.
  • Seeds inside pods, as well as beans and bulbs.
  • Any plant with a bitter or soapy taste.
  • Plants whose stems have an almond scent.
  • Any plants with three-leaved growth patterns.
  • Grain heads with spurs that are pink, purple or black.

Of course, there are edible plants which display some of those same characteristics. That just proves that not all poisonous or healthy plants have distinguishable characteristics. These characteristics only apply to plants that you cannot identify.

New “Survival Herb Bank” Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

Here are 20 of the most common wild plants that you can find, providing you with a starting place for identifying what you can eat in the wild. Learn them, and then go on to learn what else is available for eating in the area where you live.

1. Amaranth

Amaranth
Amaranth

Amaranth is a prolific weed which is native to North America. All parts of the plant are edible, although you do need to be somewhat careful. The grain from the amaranth plant has become more popular in recent years. There are spines on some leaves which should be avoided. The leaves contain oxalic acid, especially if the plant has grown in nitrate rich soil. To protect yourself against that, boil the plant in water and then throw away the water. If worse comes to worse, it can be eaten raw.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus grows wild in parts of North America, especially the northeastern part of the United States. Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the commercial varieties. To harvest, bend it until it snaps off. It will snap at the right point to prevent killing the plant, while providing you with the most edible part.

3. Bamboo

If anyone around you has decided to grow bamboo in their backyard, it’s probably gotten out of hand. This prolific grass spreads rapidly, taking over everything in its path. While the mature plants are like chewing on wood, the shoots can be eaten. Shoots should be harvested before they are two weeks old and one foot tall. Peel off the outer leaves and boil them to soften. Bamboo shoots are often added to salads, put on sandwiches or used in stir-fries.

4. Cattails

Found near the edges of wetlands, cattails were a staple in the diet of many American Indian tribes. Most of the plant is edible. You can boil the roots and lower stalk for eating. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach. The flower spike at the top can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob. Surprisingly, it tastes much like corn.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 20 Common Wild Plants You Can Eat For Survival

3-common-edible-plants

By Ken Jorgustin

One of the most common edible plants, the dandelion, can be eaten in its entirety. There are many edible plants, and many of them are commonly found. You simply need to be able to identify them.

The following edible plants are easily identifiable and are common in many regions.


 
Caution: Be aware whether or not pesticides have been used.

 
 

DANDELIONS FOR DINNER

edible-dandelions

The entire plant is edible- roots, leaves, and flower.

Eat the leaves while they’re still young; mature leaves taste bitter.

If you do decide to eat the mature leaves, boil them first to remove their bitter taste.

Boil the roots before eating as well.

 
 

EDIBLE CATTAILS

edible-cattails

The young cob-like tips of the plant are edible as is the white bottom of the stalk, spurs off the main roots and spaghetti like rootlets off the main roots.

Cattails are usually found near the edges of freshwater wetlands and were a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes.

The mature cattail is unique and easy to identify. Cattail are oval at the base, not flat. They are also very mild tasting and without much aroma – therefore if you think you’ve got a cattail and it tastes very strong or aromatic, then you may have the wrong plant.

The flower heads in spring can be husked like corn and boiled. The brown-orange heads can be eaten raw or dried into flour in the summer. In the fall, the horn-shaped corms (the sproutings of next years’ plants) can be eaten raw or roasted.

You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash it off.

The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw.

Boil the leaves like you would spinach.

The corn dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It actually has a corn-like taste to it.

 
 

YOU CAN EAT CLOVERS

edible-clovers

Lucky you, the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots of clovers are all edible, and they’re found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area.

Clover is one of the most famous of weeds, commonly sharing space with grass in lawns.

You can eat clovers raw, but they taste better boiled….Continue Reading at Modern Survival Blog: 3 Common Edible Plants