Imagine getting lost in the woods or stranded on the side of a deserted highway with no cell service. Maybe you have had to flee your home and head for the hills without a chance to grab any of your emergency food supply. Could you survive? What would you eat? Before you assume you are going to somehow transform into a glorious hunter taking down large game, think again. You won’t. In fact, if you don’t have any weapons or hunting and trapping skills, you are going to be forced to eat what you can find that doesn’t run from you.
Weeds. Weeds are everywhere. They are one of the only guarantees you have in this life. Weeds are irritating pests that plague our gardens and landscaping. They make us crazy and we typically either yank them out by their roots or spray them with some harsh chemical to make them go away for good.
After you read this, you are never going to look at those weeds the same way. Those irritating weeds may very well save your life one day. Check out the following list of common edibles that are found growing in the wild.
1-Dandelions are prolific and can be a nightmare for anybody who wants a lush, green lawn. However, if you stumble across the little yellow flowers in the wild, grab a handful and eat up. You can eat the flowers, leaves, stems and even the roots of the dandelion. The flowers are good raw or sauteed. The leaves are best eaten before the flower opens. They can be a little bitter. The roots are definitely bitter, but if you brew them in a tea, they are an excellent source of fiber.
2-Purslane is another edible commonly found growing in vegetable gardens. It is a ground cover plant that is succulent. It has a shovel shaped leaf. You can eat it raw or cooked. The thick leaves are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which is good for you and can help keep your heart healthy while you are out foraging.
3-Chickweed is another weed often found growing in the lawn. It has little white flowers that help it stand out against green vegetation. The chickweed can be eaten raw or steamed with a handful of other edibles. It is rich in vitamin C, which will come in handy when you are fighting to survive.
4-Cattails are something you could run out and eat right now. The roots of the cattails are actually pretty good. You will need to peel back the first layer or two before chomping down on the crunchy stalk. You can eat the seedheads before they turn brown as well. Cook them up over an open fire and eat them like corn on the cob.
5-Field pennycress is identifiable by the little white flowers that run down a line along the stem. They look a lot like a flower you would see growing in a flowerbed. The leaves and seeds are edible raw or cooked. If you know you are walking through a field that is prone to run-offs from a farm, don’t eat the pennycress. Pennycress growing by the side of a road where pesticides are often sprayed, should be avoided. The roots absorb the minerals and the toxins in the area and could end up making you very sick.
6-Plantain is a weed found growing regularly in disturbed, somewhat damp areas. They love to grow alongside creeks and marshes. The green leaves are about the size of your palm and have a ribbed texture. The plantain is an excellent source of calcium, which is another necessary component to a healthy diet when milk and cheese are going to be in short supply. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked. Choose young, smaller leaves when possible. The older leaves tend to be bitter.
7-Kelp may not look pretty and the slimy texture may turn you off, but it is a great food to find when you are in survival mode. You can eat it raw, dry it and eat it or toss it in a soup with some of the other edibles you have collected. You can find kelp in fresh and saltwater.
8-Blackberries are truly the only berry you want to pick and eat. If you are not absolutely sure about a berry, don’t eat. There are far too many poisonous berries out there. Blackberries are often found growing in the wild. The berry bushes will have thorns, so pick carefully.
9-Pine needles aren’t exactly edible, but you can steep them in water to make a nice tea. A hot tea packed with vitamin C is the perfect way to settle in for the night. It will warm you and fortify you at the same time. You can also dig around for pine nuts in the pine cones on the tree. Don’t bother getting poked looking for nuts in the cones on the ground. The squirrels have probably already gotten to them.
10-Nuts are a luxury if you can find them, but this is only going to be possible if you are in a warm climate. Northern areas are not going to be lucky enough to stumble upon nut trees. Nuts are high in protein and calories, which is a very good thing when you are in survival mode. Learn how to identify various nut trees so you can harvest the nuts. They rarely look like they do in the stores. There is a slight process to getting them out of their husks and ready to eat.
You don’t have to worry too much about finding food if you are educated in the art of eating edible plants. Do some research and the next time you see a dandelion pop up in your lawn, take a bite. See what you have been missing all of these years! Foraging is one of the only ways you can guarantee you will have something in your belly when you are in nature and hungry.