Educating yourself about wild edibles and potential food source can spell the difference between survival and demise in any catastrophe. Read on to know the wild edibles you can consume if you run out of food supply!
Knowing Wild Edibles Will Help You Survive
Watching survival reality shows have their advantages too. Sure they’re entertaining and some might say far-fetched, but they sure got me into some of my survival skills. I became interested in self-defense, first aid, and food sourcing. While food usually means game, wild edibles shouldn’t be overlooked. Much needed vitamins and minerals are abundant in wild edibles and you should know where to look. Who knows, you’re just brushing past the bush or trampling on the very plants that could save you.
1. Amaranth Plant
Commonly known as pigweed, amaranth plant is native to America but can be found on most continents. For safe consumption, boil it first before you eat it. However, depending on the soil it was planted on, its leaves can contain nitrates and oxalic acid. Avoid reheating cooked amaranth plant as the nitrates could be reconverted and can be harmful, especially to children.
Also known as punks, bullrush, and reedmace, cattail is a pond plant and usually seen near freshwater wetlands. This wild edible is a staple diet for Native Americans. You can consume the rhizome or rootstock raw, or boil it before eating.
You’re lucky if you find a four-leafed clover, but you’re really in luck because this plant is also edible! Clovers can be found almost everywhere, especially in a grassy area. It can easily be spotted by its trefoil leaflets. While you can eat it raw, clovers would taste better if you boil them.
Chickweeds can be found in both temperate and arctic places. This wild edible appears around the month of May and July. High in vitamins and minerals, the chickweed’s leaves can be cooked or eaten raw, much like salad greens.
5. Curled Dock
Curled dock can be found in Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. It has a bright red stalk which can reach up to 3 feet long. Peel off the outer layer and boil it twice to remove its bitter taste.
Every part of the dandelion is edible — from its roots, leaves, and flowers. However, when its leaves mature, it tastes bitter, so it’s advisable to eat the young leaves. But, you can still boil the mature leaves to lessen the bitter taste before eating. You can also make a dandelion tea from its roots by simply boiling.
This plant is mainly found in the Northern Hemisphere and is distinguishable by its purple flower. Choose to eat the young ones as the mature fireweed has a bitter taste. This edible plant is rich in vitamin A and C. Its stalk, flower, and seeds can also be eaten.
8. Portulaca Or Purslane
Considered a pesky weed, Portulaca or purslane are commonly edible. Never underestimate this common weed because it can be a nutritional powerhouse with a considerable amount of calcium, iron, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, and C. You’ll love it’s slightly sour and salty taste in a fresh salad, stir fried veggie dish, or stew and soups.
9. Wild Nuts
It’s easy to ignore food around us when there’s an abundance of easily accessible food sourced. Did you even know what a walnut tree looks like? Nuts such as walnuts, acorn, beechnuts, black walnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts, pecans, and pine nuts can be easily ignored. Learn about these nut-bearing plants commonly found around you so you know where to raid first when worse comes to worst.
10. Wild Asparagus
Foraging for wild asparagus can be a challenge, but I have to tell you there are wild ones and they aren’t far from the cultivated asparagus. If you know where and how to look, it definitely is a treat even in time of crisis. Where there are curly docks, wild mustard, and hemlocks, chances are wild asparagus are close.
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Although chicory is used as food for livestock, in a survival situation this perennial herb is indeed fit for human consumption. Its roots are used as a substitute for oats for their protein and fat content. Its tannins even help reduce intestinal parasites. You can also bake and grind the roots as a coffee substitute.
12. Garlic Mustard
Forage for these wild edibles when the shoots are young and tender, and you got yourself a treat. They provide a mild garlic and mustard flavor and is perfect in salads and as food garnishing. It even contains some medicinal benefits as a diuretic and disinfectant which is sometimes the reason why it is used to heal wounds.
13. Miner’s Lettuce Or Winter Purslane
This wild edible has an interesting story behind the name miner’s lettuce. Apparently, California gold rush miners ate the plant for its vitamin C content to prevent scurvy. Although they’re not as delicate tasting as lettuce when eaten raw, you can boil them like spinach.
Although alfalfa is wildly cultivated as a cover crop and as a companion plant for cotton, its food value is sometimes overlooked. Amazingly, alfalfa shoots and sun-dried alfalfa hay are beginning to get some recognition for their nutritional value.
These delicate flowers growing abundantly in the wild are amazingly a good food source too. You can consume the leaves of the plant and are best used in salads. You can also add the leaves to some of your food preparations, like in your smoothies, to add vitamin C.
16. Bull Thistle
It might not look like it, but even the prickly bull thistle is a wild edible–not the prickly part though. The stalks of the young bull thistle have a celery-like taste with hints of honeydew melon and sugar cane. Peel off the outer part of the stalks, wash well, and then they’re ready to eat.
17. Edible Mushroom
Mushrooms are my favorite, but sadly only a number of the hundred varieties of mushrooms are edible. While growing mushrooms at home are easy, foraging for edible mushroom presents some hazards, because some wild mushroom species are deadly. Learn about the edible wild mushrooms and stick to those kinds.
Know the common myths about foraging wild edibles in this video:
As much as learning about wild edibles is interesting and practical, you must explore with extreme caution. Some plants can have a toxic and harmful counterpart or lookalike and you wouldn’t want to come across this stuff. It’s still best to seek help and advice from expert foragers. In any survival situation, it’s best to know wild edibles for your food source!
Have you tried eating any of these wild edibles? How was the experience? Share your stories in the comments section below!