12 Best Wild Edibles You Can Forage In the Wild

wild edibles

If you’re ever lost in the wilderness and need to sustain yourself on edible plants, learning which ones are safe to eat is invaluable. In fact, some of these might even become regulars in your kitchen. But if you find yourself in a tough situation, here are some of the best wild edibles that can help keep you alive.

Yes, these wild edibles are safe to eat for humans as long as they are properly identified and harvested in an area free of pollutants. It is important to be mindful of your surroundings when harvesting wild edibles, as some plants may contain toxins or irritants that can make them unsafe for human consumption. Additionally, it is important to remember that many plants look similar and so proper identification is essential before consuming any plants found in the wild. If you are ever unsure about a plant’s identity, do not consume it. A knowledgeable forager can help you identify the edible species in your area.

1. Dandelions

Did you know that this pesky weed is edible? The entire plant can be eaten, from the yellow flower to the green leaves.

You can also eat the leaves and roots of the plant, but they will taste best when the plant is young. Older leaves can have more of a bitter taste, so it’s best to boil them before eating.

Nutritions: Vitamins A, C, K, and B complex; Calcium; Iron.

2. Cattails

Native Americans discovered that cattails were not only a staple, but both the tips and bottoms of the stalks are edible. Be cautious though – if you eat the fiber it may result in abdominal pain.

Cattails are one of the best wild edible plants. Not to mention, they provide an excellent source of starch. Moreover, you can mix cattail pollen with flour and egg to make delicious pancakes!

To gather pollen, you’ll need to search for plants with yellow flowers in late June and early July.

Nutritions: Protein, Potassium, Magnesium.

3. Wild Asparagus

Asparagus is an excellent wild edible plant that can be commonly found throughout North America. Once you find it, chances are high that you’ll see it in the same area for years to come.

You can find wild asparagus in old, dead stalks that are about three feet high. Newer and younger stalks will be nearby. This plant prefers soil that is not too moist.

The plant can usually be found near bodies of water such as ditches or next to railroad tracks. When we were kids, we used to pick it along the railroad tracks when going on pheasant hunts.

If you live in a dry climate, chances are you can find wild asparagus growing nearby. These stalks are usually thinner than the ones sold at supermarkets. To harvest asparagus, cut the stalk close to the ground. In areas where it grows wild, you can eat it raw, boiled, or steamed.

4. Milk Thistle

Did you know that milk thistle is a type of wild edible plant found all across North America? If you’ve ever seen a purple flower-like plant growing alongside a highway, chances are good it was milk thistle. You can remove the spines from the leaves and eat them along with other greens, or boil the stalks. The roots can be boiled or baked.

5. Clover

Clover is an edible plant that many people are familiar with. It’s high in protein and can be found all over the United States. While consuming raw clover may cause digestive issues, it can be juiced. Clover flowers and seed pods can also be dried to make flour, or steeped in water to make tea. Out of superstition, people often believe that four-leaf clovers will bring them luck; however, if you’re ever in a survival situation, try not to eat those ones just in case.

6. Wild Onions

Only eat an onion if it looks and smells like one. The same goes for garlic.

Onions that grow in damp places, particularly on the forest floor, are most likely wild onions.

All parts of a wild onion plant can be eaten–raw, cooked, or with other greens.

7. Bamboo

Different parts of bamboo can be eaten, though it is technically classified as a grass. It is best to eat shoots that are young and less than a foot tall. The outer leaves should be peeled off, and any tough parts of the shoot removed. Bamboo cannot be eaten raw and must be cooked before consumption.Slice bamboo shoots into 1/8″ pieces and boil them uncovered for 20 minutes or more to rid of bitterness. They can be eaten alone or with other greens afterwards. Bamboo is rich in fiber, protein, and potassium. If you’re stuck in a wilderness survival situation, dried bamboo also serves as great firewood kindling.

8. Purslane

Before, we’ve seen this weed plentiful times but struggled with its name. It flourishes in humid, shady places and appears as if it’s a small jade plant. We used to spot it sprouting from the concrete sidewalk cracks en route to school. What many don’t know though is that it contains an exceptional amount of nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene. It can be eaten straight up, mixed with other greens or cooked however you prefer.”

Restaurants are increasingly adding purslane to their menus, so it must be good enough for them. If it’s good enough for a restaurant, then it should be fine for someone in the middle of nowhere with few nutritional choices. Purslane is also very long-lasting – its seeds can remain viable in the soil for over 30 years. Just like asparagus, once you have purslane, it will always be there.

9. Violets

Not only are violets aesthetically pleasing, but they are also nutritious and have many benefits! Violets are high in vitamins A and C. Their leaves can be eaten raw or boiled, or they can even be dried to make tea. The flowers themselves are also edible–just be sure not to eat the roots or stems. You should also avoid African Violets. In addition to being a great source of nutrients, violet has also been used medicinally throughout history. For instance, one common headache cure is a warm towel soaked with violet tea and placed on the back of the neck. So next time you see some violets, don’t just admire them–consider giving them a try!

10. Day-lily

Daylilies have a long and textured history in China, not only as edible flowers but medicines too. When they’re young, their leaves can be cut at 5 inches and cooked via stir-frying or sautéing. Don’t damage the flower stalks when cutting the leaves because you’ll be able to cut them again for use once buds and blossoms are present. The buds themselves can be eaten raw, boiled, or stir-fried. Partially opened or fully opened daylilies likewise can by battered with flour & water mixture then fried

Did you know that daylily roots are edible? You can eat them raw or boil them, and they’re actually quite nutritious! They store vitamins and minerals from the summer season, so they’re especially good to eat in the late fall.

11. Berries

The best wild edibles are berries,they grow everywhere in northern North America.

Wild blueberries and blackberries grow in cool climates. Some red, yellow, and white berries can be poisonous if consumed without proper knowledge of which ones are safe to eat. vitamin C and rich

Although grapes are not technically berries, I can’t think of a single grape variety that can’t be eaten.

For example, if the birds have eaten all the grapes, you can pick smaller grape leaves, dry them for a couple days, and then boil them for about 20 minutes uncovered.

You could also wrap any meat you have in the leaves. If there’s no meat available, simply eat the grape leaves by themselves—I’ve done this countless times and never gotten sick. Although calorie-light ,grape leaves are rich in vitamins and fiber. In fact, I’d even eat them raw after washing them if necessary .

12. Acorns

Many people are unaware that acorns are wild edibles. They cannot be eaten raw, but if you put in the effort to process them, they can be turned into flour.

This type of flour can then replace wheat flour when baking.

It does have a unique taste and will affect the outcome of baked goods differently than regular flour; however, it is definitely something worth trying if you’re in a bind or wanting to work with natural ingredients.

13. Wild Lettuce

I wanted to introduce one more medicinal plant that you can forage. Wild lettuce can be extracted to create wild lettuce extract, which has many medical benefits. If you come across any of it, it’s definitely worth the effort to find, harvest and process it!

You can never be too careful when it comes to wild plants. Some might look edible, but they could actually sicken or kill you if consumed.

One suggestion is to eat only a small portion of the plant and then wait an hour before consuming any more, in order to monitor your body’s reaction. There are other tests that can be done on wild edibles as well, which one should learn before consumption. Beware of plants located closer to roadways or civilization, as they may have been sprayed with dangerous chemicals. If a plant smells like almonds ,do not consume it under any circumstances; this odor indicates the presence of cyanide .

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