Edible Wild Plants – How to find food in nature?

Edible Wild Plants
Edible Wild Plants

What does foraging in nature mean?

Foraging is the process of finding and obtaining food sources in the wild. Edible Wild Plants are often easier to find in the wild than you think. When in the wild, your life depends on your ability to find food. Identifying and using edible plants in the wild is a key survival skill. Before you start looking for food, you need to make sure you know how to do it right. Eating the wrong or poisonous plants can lead to health issues or even death. So, identifying edible plants is a potentially life-saving skill.

Why is starvation dangerous?

When you are in the process of starvation, your body begins to use up nutrients from itself. Your cognitive abilities suffer when you don’t have enough food. This means that your ability to make good decisions decreases. Between 20 and 35 days of starvation can lead to death. It takes about 8 hours for the body to start using the remaining glucose stores. As soon as all the glucose is used up the body begins to feed with amino acids. This means that you start eating your own muscle tissue. In order to prevent the consumption of muscle mass, the body must have enough fat to consume it. The bottom line is that if you have more fat, you can live longer.

Symptoms of hunger:

Vertigo

Dehydration

Mood swings

Feeling faint

Hypertension

Organ failure

General weakness

Edible wild plants – Most plants can be eaten!

The good news is that even complete beginners can quickly learn how to forage for edible wild plants when outdoors. Eating wild plants can keep you energized while outdoors. Most plants can be eaten. But they won’t taste good or provide you with the calories you need. The best advice is to learn to recognize poisonous plants in the area you are moving. As a rule, there are fewer poisonous plants and it will be an easier job. All you need is to take a good look around. Plants that we often see in nature are often edible, tasty, and easy to recognize. But, always be very careful before eating any plant you find. Identifying and using edible plants in the wild is a survival skill. You need to be absolutely sure that you know everything about the plant you plan to consume.

How to recognize edible wild plants

In order to consume plants from nature, you need to know exactly what is safe to eat. There are several tests you can use to determine if the food you find is edible:

  1. Do not eat mushrooms (if you are not an expert)
  2. Avoid plants with milky juice, fine hairs, spines, umbrella-shaped flower clusters, or waxy leaves.
  3. Smell the herbs. If it smells like almonds (and it is not almond), it means that it contains cyanide and is almost certainly poisonous
  4. Almost all berries are edible, but the general rule is to avoid white berries.
  5. learn about the plants that grow in the location where you are going.

6. Remove all insects before testing. Eat only fresh flora, avoiding rotten parts.

7. If the plant does not have an unpleasant smell, put it under your armpit. Keep it there for a few minutes. If your skin turns red, a rash or any other change appears – throw it away.

8. If the skin feels good, touch it with your lips and wait 15 minutes.

9. If you do not feel burning, itching, or redness, bite off a pea-sized piece. If the taste is extremely bitter or soapy, spit it out.

9. Remember that most herbs don’t taste good, so don’t expect too great a taste. If the taste is tolerable, keep the bite in your mouth for 15 minutes.

10. Eat a small amount. If you still have no indigestion, eat one tablespoon of the same part of the plant and wait another eight hours.

11. If you can cook the plant, do so. If you can’t, try it raw.

12.  If you are not completely sure about the identification of the plant – think carefully and act slowly.

13. Use common sense and your best judgment when foraging for edible wild plants.

Edible wild plants that are easy to find

Dandelion

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Dandelion

Dandelion (Tarakacum officinale) is a common plant (and garden weed). Dandelion is one of the best edible wild plants. The common dandelion blooms almost everywhere. Above all, these edible wild plantscan be eaten raw. Young dandelion leaves make an excellent, bitter addition to mixed salads. The leaves are at their best in the spring, when they are fresh and new. Take the leaves off the stem, and use your fingers to tear off the green base of the flower, so that there is no white juice (the juice is very bitter). The older the plant, the more bitter the leaves. Dandelion contains a large amount of protein, vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron. It helps to solve digestive problems. The milk found in dandelion stems is very useful for soothing skin irritations due to its germicidal and fungicidal abilities.

Nettles

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Nettles

Nettle (Urtica dioica) can be used as food in several ways. These edible wild plants have been used for hundreds of years to treat sore muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. It can be found on all continents. You can find it in forests, forest edges, meadows, pastures, and along roads. It has a pleasant, subtly sweet taste. The fresh tips of young nettles in the spring (the five leaves on the top ) have the best taste. Pick the top of the nettle (the sprig should have 6 to 8 leaves). Turn it upside down and slide your fingers downwards to break its burning spines. After repeating the movement several times, bend the twig into a marble shape and rub it between your hands. Now that you have removed all the thorns, feel free to eat them. Young shoots and leaves of these edible wild plants are rich in minerals, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.

Buckwheat (lat. Plantago)

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Buckwheat

It can be found all over the world. The plantain plant has been used by people for years as a food and herbal remedy. It is one of the healthiest edible wild plants you can have. Young buckthorn leaves, especially female ones, were used for food, especially during wars and famine years. If you find yourself in a survival situation, you can look for plantain around you. The leaves are best e while they are young. Buckwheat is excellent for treating diarrhea and other stomach problems. It is very rich in vitamin A and calcium. It also has antibacterial properties and provides some vitamin C. The plant is full of heterosides, and aukubosides and the enzymes invertase, emulsin, tyrosinase and coagulase. The leaf also contains tannin, pectin, citric acid, saponosides and phytoncides. The leaves of these edible wild plants are also useful as a remedy for skin irritations.

Clover

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Clover

Clovers are also edible wild plants. You can find it almost anywhere in the grass. You can spot them by their characteristic trefoil leaflets. Clover belongs to the pea family, you can eat it raw, but it tastes better cooked. Only the flowers are really tasty, although the leaves are also edible. The seeds are also edible and taste like peas. You just need to pick off the reddish-purple flowers and you can eat them. The leaves are edible, but a larger quantity causes flatulence. It is the ultimate food source for survival in nature. It is rich in proteins and has beta carotene, vitamin C, most B vitamins, biotin, choline, inositol, and bioflavonoids. Clover flowers are also used as a wound care agent. These edible wild plants help relieve pain because it is full of salicylic acid. They also contain a good amount of natural coumarin, which can thin your blood.

Cattail (Typha)

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Cattail

Cattail is another plant that you may not have known was edible. It grows near water. That’s good news because if you see a cattail, it means you have water. These edible wild plants grow from 1 to 3 meters in height, so you can spot them with ease. Cattail roots, aka rhizomes, are best eaten in the fall or winter. The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mostly white. Just peel the shoots or chew the flower heads. It tastes like corn. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Eating cattails provides a significant dose of vitamin C, phosphorus, vitamin B6, iron, and potassium. Young shoots, flowers, and pollen are best in spring, while stems and roots are best in autumn. Young shoots, young leaves, seeds, and pods are edible. Young shoots and leaves are eaten as a stew or can be dried, ground and after drying moistened and fried. The leaves are particularly rich in vitamin C

Conclusion

Foraging is an important skill, especially in extreme conditions when plant-based food is the only chance for survival. Of particular importance is the fact that plants also have a strong medicinal effect. Therefore, knowing about edible wild plants and berries is often crucial in some situations. If you don’t have enough knowledge and are not experienced in identifying plants, accidents can happen. Inedible wild plants can cause a range of adverse effects – from mild nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea to lethargy and confusion – up to coma and death in extreme cases. Symptoms of poisoning can be different. The first symptoms can appear within a few minutes to a few hours. If you eat a plant that you later believe to be poisonous, try to induce vomiting as soon as possible and drink plenty of water. If you are not sure that the plant is edible, it is better not to eat it.

READ MORE: How to find water in the wild

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