Author Topic: Edible plants that grow in nature.  (Read 6844 times)

Offline ColdHaven

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Edible plants that grow in nature.
« on: October 16, 2008, 04:24:19 AM »
There are many kinds of foods that exist in nature that grow that are edible. These are plants that most of us would not recognize as such, but grow naturally all around us without human assistance. Most of us do not realize what kind of food can be harvested that is growing in nature already. Many Native Americans knew of these foods a long time ago, and we have forgotten them. I will start it off, but please add information only. Perhaps start another thread for comments and the like about this thread. What I would like to see is what kind of foods are naturally growing and occuring in nature in our different states. This way it will broaden all of our knowledge about various foods out there in case our main supply becomes lost or destroyed. This way if you are in the woods in your region or another you will have another resource of food to rely on. If you can, leave a pic of the plant or food.


Disclaimer - Check to make sure you have no food allergies to any of these before trying them. Always properly test to make sure you are not allergic before eating any of these in quantity. No one posting to this thread with information will be held liable for your actions.


North Carolina

Leeks



Leeks grow all over NC. I fondly remember mowing the yard and smelling the freshly cut onion smell during the summer. This pic looks a little different than the ones we have here, and the best I can describe them is as having long dark green whispy wires coming from the top. These can be pulled out of the ground or dug up. The bulbs are usually small, but you should have no problem getting enough of them for a stew or other use. Also, the 'leaves' of the leek can be cut up and be used like chives. I remember as a kid pulling on some of these leaves and chewing them.

Sources: http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/encyclopaedia!openframeset&frame=Right&Src=/edible.nsf/pages/leeks!opendocument

Dandelions



I am sure these grow all over the country, but I could be wrong. At least, there hasn't been a place that I haven't seen them in the south. Dandelions are incredible to eat like okra. Make the same kind of breaded mix for okra and dab the dandelion heads in them and then cook them like okra. Very tasty. Just be careful where you harvest them from. I wouldn't harvest them from alongside roads or trash areas. The leaves can be prepared like spinnach and go well into salads, and the roots can be dried and made into coffee grounds.

Source: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm , http://www.essortment.com/all/whatisdandelio_rawm.htm

Coneflower



Coneflower is otherwide known as Echinacea. It is an herb used by Native Americans for both dye and for increasing their immune systems when sick. Although edible it is mostly used for medicine.

Source: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_ecpu.pdf

trailhead

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 08:29:16 AM »
The Department of Conservation in my state - Missouri - publishes (or did - I have an old copy) a book listing edible plants in our state.  I suspect other states publish similar items.  I have found it more useful than "national" or "general" books on the subject assuming that I would spend TEOTWAWKI in the general area.

Offline ChadK

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 08:08:12 AM »
I've been trying to learn all I can about wild plants for the last few years.  Locally (MN) we have lambsquarters which are weeds but probably healthier than most canned vegetables, and they have multiple uses.  Stinging nettle is extremely healthy as well, better cook it first though, (and wear gloves!)  :o

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 05:35:15 AM »
The Department of Conservation in my state - Missouri - publishes (or did - I have an old copy) a book listing edible plants in our state.  I suspect other states publish similar items.  I have found it more useful than "national" or "general" books on the subject assuming that I would spend TEOTWAWKI in the general area.

I have that book in my library as well.

It's definitely a good idea to become familiar with plants in your region.  Many times there are variations of plants that may or may not be edible, it's a good idea to get a working knowledge of these plants, not just a familiarity.

leatherneck

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 05:10:53 PM »
A couple of good books to look at are:
The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
and Stalking the wild asparagus.

These books are geared more for what you will find in the midwest. What I liked about these books is that they don't throw 10,000 items at you. between the two books you probably have between 30-40 easy to find items. What these books do have is a lot of information helping you positively identify the listed foods, and all the information you need to know when to harvest and how to prepare your food. These are really good books to get you started in foraging.  It is amazing how much edible food is around. I have been actively foraging for the past couple of years. Once you know what to look for you will see edibles everywhere you go. I know  I drive my wife crazy whenever we are in the car because I always point out nice clumps of asparagus, Sumac, Butternut's, Pawpaws etc.
I think everyone should be growing as much of their own food as possible, but it is comforting to know that if push came to shove and  I was either separated from my pantry or had already depleted it I could walk down the road or through a small woods and be able to bring how a meal armed with nothing more than the knowledge in my head.  That is one thing that can never be taken away from me.

Offline smittymojoe

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 10:48:23 PM »
The Department of Conservation in my state - Missouri - publishes (or did - I have an old copy) a book listing edible plants in our state.  I suspect other states publish similar items.  I have found it more useful than "national" or "general" books on the subject assuming that I would spend TEOTWAWKI in the general area.

I have that book in my library as well.

It's definitely a good idea to become familiar with plants in your region.  Many times there are variations of plants that may or may not be edible, it's a good idea to get a working knowledge of these plants, not just a familiarity.

Could you tell me the name of that book, I'm trying to figure out if it's the same one I have.

Thanks,
  smitty

Offline dangermouse568

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Re: Edible plants that grow in nature.
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2008, 07:14:31 AM »
Peterson's Guide series has a number of field guides to plants (and animals).
Edible plants, trees, shrubs and other woody plants.

Fairly inexpensive and a wealth of knowledge.