So i wanted to share some basic wild edible plants that are abundant in most parts of north america and many other parts of the world. I will list the
names of these plants and then try to provide links to sites that will provide photos and info on these plants.
I should mention that wild foods are vastly superior in nutrition to even the most nutritious cultivated foods. I have been a full-time organic
gardener for the last 5 years and i know that whatever i may grow in my garden is nothing compared to the wild plants that grow among and around the
cultivated plants and required no effort at all on my part to grow.
Nuts will provide you with large amounts of fat and protein as well as many other essential vitamins and minerals. Here is a good link to a site that
provides information on all these different types of nuts:www.motherearthnews.com...
Acorns have always been a staple food for indigenous cultures around the world, they are extremely nutritious but may require a little preparation to
remove the bitter tannins.
I have many full grown pecans on my property yielding hundreds of pounds of nuts in the fall. These trees were intentionally planted but here in the
south you will find them growing wild everywhere whether they were intentionally planted or spread there seed naturally.
I also have a few of these here on the property. They can be tough to crack and the taste of the black walnut is a little strange in my opinion but
they are extremely nutritious.
Very similar to walnuts these trees are about as common as the oaks that produce acorns. We have many of these on our property as well. It can be
difficult to fish out the nut-meat inside of the shell but i have read that the natives used to smash up the entire nut, shell and all, and throw
everything in some boiling water. After awhile the shells sink while the good nut-meat floats and can be skimmed off.
Beechnuts: American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
"Beechnuts have a thin shell that you can peel off with a fingernail. The flesh is sweet and nutritious: nearly 20% protein! Fresh nuts spoil
quickly, though, so dry them in full sun for a day or two (you or the family dog will have to stand guard over them), or roast them in a slow
Chestnuts and Chinquapins
"Your chances of coming across a nut-bearing American chestnut (Castanea dentata) are almost nil, but no article on edible wild nuts is complete
without mention of this once-great tree. Less than 100 years ago, stands of majestic chestnuts, some specimens measuring in excess of 120 feet tall
and six feet around, covered a range of more than 200 million acres east of the Mississippi, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Gathering bushels of
sweet, fresh chestnuts—which were reportedly far superior in taste to the Italian and Chinese chestnuts we eat now—was a traditional autumn
activity. Today, except for a few isolated specimens, all the great trees are gone, the victims of chestnut blight, a fungus carried to this country
at the turn of the century on planting stock imported from the Orient."
"What the West lacks in deciduous nut-bearing trees it more than makes up for with nut-bearing pines. Among the different species native to the West
that produce delicious edible nuts are ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Coulter pine (P. coulteri), sugar pine (P. lambertiana) and Digger pine (P.
sabiniana). Some of these produce enormous quantities of edible kernels; the sugar pine, for example, produces huge cones up to 18 inches long and
four inches across, packed with seeds."
"You will find American hazelnuts along the eastern regions of the United States and Canada from March through September. Search and gather edible
hazelnuts in shady wooded areas, along the borders of forests, alongside streams and in open fields and prairies."
Maypops(passion vine fruit)
Lambsquarters: Greens and seed
Amaranth( Pigweed): Greens and seed
Dandelion: Every part- root,greens, flowers and seeds
Chicory:greens and roots
Wild Garlic/onions/chives: Greens and tubers
Wood Sorrel: Greens (Very good. tastes like sour candy)
Stinging Nettles: Greens
Wood Nettles: greens
Dock: Roots and greens
Burdock: Roots and greens
Salsify: Roots and greens
Wild carrot: Roots and greens
Greenbriar: shoots and roots
Cattail: Every part depending on time of year.
Wapato: Tubers, grows around water
Cactus: Flowers, pads, and fruit (after removing thorns and glochids)
Thistle: greens, stalks,root
These are just some of the basics. Of course you should always make a positive identification before eating any plant as some are very poisonous. I
just wanted to provide a basic list of plants that each of you can look up and learn more about on your own.
Here are some books that i highly recommend:
'The Foragers Harvest' and 'Natures Garden' by Samuel Thayer
All of Euell Gibbons' books
Steve Brill has a few good books
Peterson field guides are good books to help identify plants
'The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America: Nature's Green Feast'
Some good websites:
I tried to keep this thread short and basic but i welcome any other info you would all like to contribute to this thread and hopefully we can all work
together to learn more about the gifts of nature all around us.