Thursday, February 16, 2012

Preparedness: Wild Edibles

jelly ear fungi, found at a local conservation area about 10 miles away from me

As I do not like to keep all my eggs in 1 basket, I like to practice a variety of food storage methods in my prepping. I do store some bulk foods but also I save seeds, garden and wildcraft/forage for our food. I like having food stored away in case something happened in the dead of winter when not much is growing, we'd have enough food to tide us over until spring arrived along with fresh greens, lambs, kids, and gardening could commence.
elderberries, great for making syrup and jelly plus medicine

My kids are starting to get into foraging for food so I've started compiling a list of wild plants that grow on our property that are edible. My 14 year old is organizing a survival night/day for herself, some friends and the older kids here to participate in. They are allowed to take a few items with them but have to forage for all their food. She has been studying up. I've been helping out by cooking wild foods for them to try and get used to.
nettles, ready for steaming

The following grow wild on our property or in our gardens:

Daylilies - flowers, shoots, tubers
Spiderwort - I believe all parts are edible, know for sure leaves and flowers are
Burdock - roots, leaf and flower stalks, sprouts, seeds
Dock - roots, leaves, seeds
Cattails - all parts, shoots, tubers, pollen
Reeds - shoots, seeds, tubers
Wild Grapes - leaves, fruits, thick vines can be cut and drained for water
Roses - flowers, hips
Amaranth - seeds, leaves
Lamb's Quarters - leaves, sprouts, seeds
Violets - flowers, leaves, sprouts
Dandelion - leaves, roots, flowers
Chicory - leaves, flowers, roots
Nettles - leaves, tops, seeds
Wild Onions/Garlic - bulbs, greens
Mulberries - berries
Hackberries - berries
Blackberries - shoots, berries
Wild Cherry - berries
Chickweed - all parts
Ox-eye daisy - leaves, flowers
Asian Daylily - flowers, seed pods, leaves
Elderberries - flowers, berries
False Turkey Tails
True Turkey Tails
Poke - shoots
Purslane - aerial parts
Thistles - stalks
Garlic mustard - aerial parts
Autumn Olive - berries
Evening Primrose - roots, leaves
Wild Carrot - roots
Asparagus - shoots
Walnut - nuts, sap
Silver maples - sap, seeds
Milkweed - shoots, flower buds, pods

Each year I discover more and more wild edibles. If you are interested in finding edibles in your area, here is a list of some great books to get you started:

The Forager's Harvest by Samuel Thayer
Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill
Stalking the Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons
Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons
The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide by Linda Runyon

Not sure what to do with them once you have them? There are lots of great wild food cook books out there too. Here is a list of a few:

Free for the Eating by Bradford Angier
The Wild, Wild Cook Book by Jean Craighead George
The Edible Wild by Berndt Berglund

There are also a few zines on the subject:

Edible, Medicinal & Utilitarian Plants by Rowan Walking Wolf, PhD.
Feral Forager
Plants Gone Wild

Do you forage for wild foods on your land? What types of plants do you like to harvest from the wild? Do you have some favorite wild plant books or cook books that I haven't mentioned?

1 comment:

Gina said...

Great article! I really need to get back on my foraging notebooks. The composition of my woods has changed a bit (mainly due to that A*H neighbor removing the trees on the west side-ah, I won't get started) and I am planning on planting it up with some new species this spring (hazelnut ordered in bulk from the county's conservation district-cheap way to get trees; wild cherry and American Cranberry).

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