If you’re ever in a situation where you’re lost or stuck in the woods or when SHTF, then you’re going to look for alternate sources of food. There are many foods you can eat around you, but perhaps you’ve never noticed it. One example of this is wild plants. They will provide you with the nutrients required, and so on, to keep you and your family from hungry.
It is important to note that some of these plants may require some simple work before consuming when foraging for these wild edibles, such as stripping down roots to get to the starchy material in the middle or even some grinding of certain parts of the plant before consumption.
In the spring, ramps can be foraged. They’re sort of a flavoring blend of onion and garlic. The roots grow only below the ground, and grow together in patches.
When digging ramps, it is best to save the patch by cutting off the root ball with a sharp knife and then taking the plant, this is so that next spring you can return to the same patch. Each ramp part is edible and can be eaten raw or used in recipes.
Different forms of clover grow in your yard, such as red clover and white clover. This is characteristic based on floral color. Simple really. And it is not just livestock or wild rabbits that can eat clover. The whole plant is edible and is either eaten fresh or completely dried out.
Clover is really good to you because it helps to avoid colds, to minimize breathing problems, and it is also said that it will purify blood and help prevent cancer. To make flour, you may grind the leaves, but that is a long process. The best element to eat is the vegetation. When preserving, you should dry separately the head of the plant and of the flower. Using a dehydrator, screen in a drying room or oven temperatures which are very low. Once the plant has been dried, you can store it for winter use in jars, too.
The smooth reddish stems and leaves identify purslane, which are opposite one to another. The flora is yellow with five regular parts and at the center of the leaf cluster it opens at any time of year. Purslane is a terrestrial cover and has a deep root system. The stem, leaves, and edible flower buds. In a salad, you can eat it raw, use it in stir-fry, or cook it in soups and other recipes. Purslane has a slightly acidic feel. Raw purslane is water at 93%.
The daisy is a favorite of mine as a kid. I picked it up for my mom and grandmas. I didn’t think you were supposed to eat them back then. You can use the flower petals as a garnish or in salads and the leaves can be used on sandwiches or in salads. It’s not recommended you eat the daisy’s yellow centre, as this is the flower’s pollen section.
If you saw a body of water, you have probably seen a cattail. It is possible to use the lower leaves in salads, while the stem may be eaten raw or boiled. It is possible to roast the cattail itself (the shape of the brown cigar atop).
The yellow pollen appearing in midsummer may be used as a thickener and mixes in bread and pancake. The roots contain a lot of starches and can be dried and then pounded into flour or you can strip it off and chew it on to get the starches and then spit the hard part out. Here are 10 tasty recipes that you can make using cattails.
6. Lamb’s Quarters
This wild edible looks dusty from a distance, because of the leaves’ white coating. The plant produces small green flowers on the stem and upper branches which are clustered together in clusters. You will consume the leaves, shoots, seeds, and flowers when you eat the quarter of a lamb. This plant does contain oxalic acid, but the acid goes away when cooked. The leaves can be blanched and congelated for later use. The quarter of the lamb is good for salads and soups too. It can also be sautéed or steamed, as well as incorporating useful smoothies and juices.
7. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is good for eating but also for medicinal purposes. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as vegetables in a salad. The seeds may also be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee or dried as a snack to eat. The plant has large bright purple flowers and white markings on the leaves. When broken, it comes out a milky sap.
8. Wild Asparagus
Wild asparagus is edible. It is essentially a plant which was transplanted from a traveling seed head and from there it began to grow in the wild. It can be found along roads and in fields.
Look for late spring asparagus to get it harvested. If it gets too high it will seed again. And the next spring, you can come back for a new harvest. Prepare the wild asparagus grilled or fried, and seasoned. To store any extra wild asparagus, it can be blanched and frozen or sealed in vacuum sacs.
This plant will grow from a height of 24 to 30 inches. It is surmounted by golden flowers which grow in clusters. The leaves are tapering to a point and the edge has tiny teeth. The bottom of the leaf on the top is kind of coarse and rough, with three veins running parallel along the leaf ‘s length. Goldenrod can be preserved in any shape, from drying through to pickling. For a pleasant flavor, dried flowers and leaves can be added to every meal. These can be used for tea, as well. When young and dried, the roots can be harvested, and used for soups and batter mixes. May use leaves and flowers in salads and soups. The stalk is hard but edible, especially when harvested young. This can be baked in the oven and turned into a snack which is crispy.
Chickweed is best eaten fresh, but it can be eaten raw, too. The stem, leaves, flowers, and seed pods can be eaten. In salads, you can eat it raw or you can steam or sauté it. Only take the scissors and cut back on the amount you want.
Chickweed features tiny white flowers with five double lobes. The leaves have a pointed outline and are oval. They grow across from each other in pairs. On the length of the base, the leaves extend far apart. There is a hairy type line between the leaves which runs up the stem.
11. Stinging Nettles
The stinging nettle gets its name because it has little hairs or spines that irritate the skin and because of a toxin within it, it can also leave welts. It is recommended that you select from the plant only the top five to six leaves, when it is young, and before the flowers begin to grow. To prepare the nettles, just soak them in cold salted water, then drain and dry. You can freeze them, or use them immediately, for later use. Stinging nettles may be used as a spinach replacement, and they lose their stinging ability once cooked.
Related: How to Cook Spring Nettles
12. Queen Anne’s Lace
Wild carrots are also known as Queen Anne’s lace. This plant has a large white flat flower with a red or a dark center. The stalk is thick and its root looks like a carrot. Eating the root in the first year is best, as it becomes tougher in the second year. Furthermore, the green tops are edible, as you may boil them in soups and stews or as vegetable to dishes. If the stem isn’t fuzzy or hairy, then it’s not the lace of Queen Anne and it may be dangerous.
Sorrel is a herb composed of leafy greens.It has an intense lemony flavor, as the leaves age and mature, it becomes bitter. You can eat the smaller leaves raw in salads or on sandwiches. One should cook the larger leaves to help get rid of the bitterness. Three kinds of sorrels exist: red veined, broad leaf, and French. The red veined is self-explanatory, with a slender, tapered leaf throughout with red veins. The wide leaf has slender leaves shaped by arrows. The French sorrel has tiny leaves with the form of a bell.
Watercress has a green peppery flavor, which goes well with other neutral greens. It can be found in the stores throughout the year, but in the spring, it is best. It is a leafy vegetable which is grown in water, hence the name. If the watercress gets wilted, just shake it back with cold water or cover it in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag.
By washing it and patting it dry you can use watercress and then use it raw on sandwiches or in salads, sautéed or steamed.
We have all picked blackberries and raspberries, but in your backyard, there are other berries growing that are perfectly safe and healthy to consume. Elderberries are set for fall harvest. They grow on shrubs and are a violet to black berry growing in clusters.
Before eating the elderberries have to be ripe and fried. This is what kills the poison they hold in astringent form. Elderberries are great in syrups; wines; and in cobblers; pies and puddings.
You can forage a number of other plants and wild edibles. I am sure that the majority of the preppers will name at least two others who are not here. What can you name other edibles?