Being able to forage food from your natural habitat will make it easier in times of food insecurity or crisis. Knowing how to use those foraged foods safely is an even more important task. Today we’re going to discover what wild edibles are in the North American interior of the United States.
Curly Dock: This can be found anywhere including roadside ditches, but you don’t want to get them from there. The edible parts are the leaves, especially the young ones. It does contain a high amount of oxalic acid though so keep your consumption low. It tastes almost like spinach. Older leaves have to be cooked to be edible. It is excellent added to stews or cooked like greens in the South.
Dandelion: These are nutritional powerhouses. If there’s one green you want to be able to get ahold of and use in a survival situation it’s the humble dandelion. The entire plant is edible. The flowers can be breaded and fried. The petals of the dandelion flower can be turned into wine. The leaves are used like spinach when young or cooked like greens when older. The roots can be used as a coffee substitute and are a known diuretic. Dandelion has lots of potassium and vitamins. It is recognizable by its sawtooth leaves and bright yellow blooms. This is the one survival plant that you can’t pass up.
Acorn: The common acorn is edible. It is also a medicinal plant as the tannins within it which make it bitter can be used to stop diarrhea. It is composed primarily of carbohydrates and can be used to make a primitive flatbread. To make acorn bread, collect acorns and then shell, making sure to avoid any that have a little hole in the shell. Crush the acorns roughly and soak them in clean water. Drain off the water they were soaked in after 12 hours and soak in another batch of clean water. After draining off the second batch of clean water, crush and make into a rough dough. These can be baked into hard bread or hard tack. It isn’t strictly necessary to leach out the tannins but to reduce the chance of constipation it’s a good idea. Additionally, it doesn’t taste as bitter when you eat it once the tannins have been leached out. I have eaten this as bread that was not treated and treated for tannins. Each oak has its own flavor so you’ll get a variety of tastes when making this dish.
Stinging Nettle: Stinging nettle is one of those plants you find relatively easy. If you brush up against it you’ll start to feel the sting. It has arrow-shaped leaves that are teased on the edges. The leaves, stems, and roots are edible. It tastes a lot like wild spinach and can be used in a soup. In fact, in the United Kingdom, stinging nettle is a dish that was quite common in the past. Once it’s heated up, it won’t sting you anymore. Make sure to cook thoroughly though to avoid the stinging and use some sort of protection when collecting the plant. Gloves are ideal but in a survival situation, long sleeves will work.
Wild Rose: The wild rose is a wonderful plant. The petals, rose buds, young shoots, leaves, and rose hips are edible. They have a high vitamin C content and smell like perfume. They also look like Raspberry and BlackBerry plants because they’re related. Although rosehips are not a tasty food that you would eat and chew, they’re an excellent tea that can give you vitamin C when you’re ill. Rose petals can be turned into a jam or syrup, though the petals don’t have much of a flavor. The leaves can be collected and turned into tea as well. You will recognize them by their leaves, thorns, and flowers or rosehips.
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