You’re in the woods with some friends and realise neither of you packed enough food, what’s your first instinct? I certainly wouldn’t panic and neither should you. You are probably armed with tools in your backpack. Combine that with the Earth vast variety of natural foods; you should have little problem in getting nourishment . What then are those food that aren’t only found in restaurants or grocery stores?
This variety of foods include; wild berries, edible plants and even seeds! Sounds questionable? No need to worry as these wild edible plants, berries and seeds, are totally safe for consumption as long as you are certain of their identity when collecting.
If you are at any point unsure of the plant, you can perform the Universal Edibility Test. But! If you not one hundred percent sure of the plant that you are identifying, I would advise against consuming it.
Fireweed, or scientifically referred to as Chamerion angustifolium, is an edible plant which is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
It is commonly referred to as rosebay willowherbin Britain, and in some parts of Canada as great willowherb.
Fireweed can be easily identified by its smooth and erect reddish stem, and unique leaves which have a vein pattern that is circular and does not discontinue at the end of the leaf.
You’re probably thinking “There’s no way I can eat this!”. However, the Taraxacum, or more commonly referred to as “Dandelion”, is, in fact, entirely edible.
This means that its flowers, leaves, and even roots,are safe for consumption.
The leaves of a Dandelion are generally 5-25cm long or longer and their flower heads are yellow to orange coloured which are open during the daytime, but closed at night.
This plant, knows scientifically as “Stellaria media”, can be used as a cooling herbal remedy and a safe, nutritious edible.
Chickweeds can be identified by fine hairs located on only one side of its stem in a single band and fine hairs on its sepals. A prime salad ingredient if you were to ask me!
4. Curly Dock
RumexCrispus, commonly referred to as “Curly Dock”, is a safe selection for a snack if you’re in a tight spot with limited to no other edible options. Although the leaves of this plant can be described as appetizing and a prime source of both vitamin A and vitamin B, it is best to be consumed moderately as it can cause urinary tract irritations.
Asparagus, easily identified by its fleshy green spears which are luscious and delicate, can be eaten raw as opposed to boiled. It is a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
Be mindful of wild Asparagus which has a thinner stalk than those usually found in grocery-stores.
Harvest length of these plants are usually 6-8 inches.
If I were to make a decision solely based on appearance, I wouldn’t hesitate to snack on this beautiful plant!
This member of the Dandelion family is a bushy plant with typically bright blue flowers. The leaves of this plant can be eaten raw, along with the flowers but the roots aren’t edible unless they are boiled.
7. Wood Sorrel
This medium-sized plant is an effective thirst quencher and exhilarating snack. A perfect find for a food-deprived hiker right?
The flowers can range from green to bright yellow in colour, and the leaves are a great source of vitamin C.
The leaves, flowers and other parts have a flavour that is slightly sour which may be comparable to lemons.
8. Bull Thistle
You can identify this plant by its firm and thorny stem and leaves that end in sharp, extended thorns. This plant looks like one should be sceptical to touch, let alone eat it.
However, the Bull Thistle root as well as its young leaves are edible. The prickles must be removed from the leaves before consumption!
A flowering plant in the pea family, Alfalfa is nutritious and may be used for a variety of benefits including; treatment for alcoholism and drug dependency.
It has deep roots and can grow quite tall making it very resilient. The leaves and young shoots are the only parts that you can eat raw.
10. Broadleaf Plantain
A species of the plantain family, Broadleaf Plantain is rich in vitamins A, C and K. The leaves are green and oval-shaped with thick-stemmed leaves that meet at a base.
The entire plant is edible but it recommended that the leaves be eaten raw while they are young and tender.