15 Wild Edible Plants You Need to Know Before Your Next Trip Into the Unknown
Imagine if you found yourself lost in the wild. You don’t know where you are and you don’t know where you’re going. It could be days before you find your way back to civilization and you just ran out of food. You look around and see dozens of types of plants.
You know that some of them could nourish you, while others could probably poison you. Unfortunately, you don’t know which ones are which. In that sort of situation, it is absolutely vital to be able to tell one plant from another.
The natural world is teeming with leafy life that can give you the calories and nourishment you need to keep going. Here, we’ll be showing you a list of fifteen plants you might want to chow down on, if you ever find yourself in need.
Everyone is familiar with dandelions. These weeds grow everywhere, often ruining the look of a lush, green lawn. Well, if you ever want to get rid of dandelions in a slightly strange way, you could try eating them. Every part of the dandelion plant is edible, including the flowers and roots. The younger plants taste the best, while older ones may be rather bitter. Try boiling the leaves and roots to make them easier to consume. You can even add dandelions to boiling water to make a tasty tea.
Yes, seaweed is perfectly edible. If you happen to find yourself on an island, search around the shore for some of this stuff. Seaweed is found in every ocean around the world, so it’s never too hard to find. Ideally, you’ll want to rinse it with fresh water to remove the excess salt. You could then try adding it to boiling water to make a soup or simply eat it raw.
The chicory plant is found all around North America, but also in Europe and other places too. It produces attractive flowers in various colors, and every single bit of it is edible. The roots of this plant are particularly flavorsome once they’ve been boiled, and the leaves can be nice as well. The flowers are ideally eaten raw and have quite a pleasant taste.
At first glance, you might not think that amaranth is edible, but it absolutely is. This weed can be found all around North and South America. In fact, it grows in dozens of countries all around the world. You can eat any part of this plant, but be sure to pay attention to the leaves, where lots of prickly spines tend to grow. Experts recommend that you boil the leaves before eating them, as they can contain large quantities of nitrates and oxalic acid, two ingredients that can be quite harmful in large doses.
The seeds of these plant are famously used in certain types of mustard, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the seeds if you find yourself lost in the wilderness. The entirety of the white mustard plant is completely safe for human consumption, even the flowers. This plant grows all over the world and usually blooms in the spring months.
Prickly Pear Cactus
If you’ve ever been around the more arid areas of the United States, you’ll probably have come across the prickly pear cactus. Not only can these plant be eaten, it’s actually a great and tasty source of many nutrients. Naturally, you’ll have to be careful to avoid the spines, as they can easily pierce the flesh and could do a lot of damage if you accidentally swallowed one. Be sure to pick them out before consumption. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus is reddish when ripe.
We spoke about green seaweed earlier, and kelp is another form of seaweed that you can easily find and consume. It is found all over the world and some experts actually regard kelp as a bit of a superfood. It’s very rich in a lot of essential nutrients including folates and vitamin K. Boil it in water to make a soup or simply rinse it and eat it raw.
Found natively around European and Asian countries, Sheep Sorrel has also been grown in America for many years now. This plant is regarded as a weed and can seemingly take over large patches of grass or woodland. It can be eaten, but you need to take extra precautions with this plant. The leaves are actually quite tasty when eaten raw, but sheep sorrel is rich in oxalic acid that can be dangerous for humans in large quantities, so don’t eat too much.
You’re probably familiar with the asparagus. This vegetable is quite popular and can be found in your local supermarket. However, we had to mention it on this list as the asparagus you’ll find in the wild is quite different to what you might be used to. Wild asparagus stalks are very slim and can be hard to spot among other foliage. If you find any, you can go ahead and eat it without any worries. Asparagus is very rich in vitamins and minerals and can be eaten raw if necessary.
Plantains are found all over the place, but generally tend to grow in very moist or damp areas like marshes. They can be hard to spot as they are very low to the ground, but they can be an excellent source of nourishment for people out in the wild. Older plantain plants may have quite a bitter taste, but the younger ones are much more pleasing to the palate. This plant contains large quantities of essential vitamins A and C.
Unlike some other plants on this list, fireweed is relatively easy to spot in nature. From its red stalks and purple flowers, every part of this plant can be eaten. The flowers themselves have a little bit of a kick to them, while the leaves can be quite bitter unless they’ve been boiled. The stalks are also edible and contain lots of vitamins and minerals.
Four-leaf clovers are globally known as a symbol of good luck, and you’ll be feeling lucky too if you stumble on some of these plants out in the wild. Clovers are absolutely edible. They don’t have much of a taste, but are certainly better after being boiled. The advantage of this plant is that it can be found very easily.
You’ll find field pennycress in many countries all over the globe. It can grow from February/March all the way through to November/December, depending on the local climate. The seeds and leaves are completely edible, but it’s important to note that this plant is scientifically known as a “hyperaccumulator”. This means that it will absorb all of the elements in the soil around it, including toxins and chemicals. Therefore, be sure to only eat field pennycress that is growing in safe soil.
Mankind has been relying on plants like wood sorrel as a source of sustenance since ancient times. This plant grows naturally all around the Americas, and some Native American tribes have actually used it as a remedy for certain health problems. Wood sorrel contains a lot of vitamin C, and its roots taste quite nice after being boiled.
Regarded as an annoying weed, purslane does have some value for humans in that it can be relied upon as a source of nutrients. It even tastes quite nice, especially after boiling. If eaten raw, the leaves may be very sour, but this can be eliminated through boiling. Like many other plants we’ve mentioned above, purslane is rich in minerals and vitamins that can help to keep you healthy.