When identifying edible plants, make 100% certain that they are what you think they are before consuming them. And also make sure you consult with your doctor before you consume anything because it make interfere with your medications. It is important to be able to recognize both cultivated and wild edible plants in a survival situation. Remember, when foraging around buildings and in cities that a lot of these places have been sprayed with pesticides and avoid roadside plants because of the exhaust from cars. Look for parasites and contaminated water. You may need to boil them really well before consuming.
First on our list:
Just like the pecans they taste sweet and fatty raw right out of the shell. It’s very calorie dense wild food and is great in all kinds of dishes. To ensure that you have a hickory nut, look for a “double” nut shell, with the husk that peels off showing a nut shell below. Make sure you don’t get the buckeye, which also has a doubled-layered shell, but are very poisonous. A good hickory nut has a multi-chambered inner nutshell (like a walnut), while the bad buckeyes have a solid nut meat (like an almond).
These nuts are perhaps the simplest to recognize. Black walnuts resemble green tennis balls. The tough round husks turn from green to a very dark brown as they lay on the ground in fall months. The nut meats are rich tasting and contain 173 calories an ounce. They are high in fat, with a fair bit of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
The nuts of any substantial pine tree are a traditional western survival food. Estimating around 1,400 calories per cup, these nuts are more than half fat by
weight, with some protein and carbs included in for good measure. Pine nuts are also a good source of thiamin and manganese, with a good variety of other B Vitamins and minerals.
There are a number of varieties of hazelnut tree in Europe, Asia and North America. The most common tree in the US is the American hazelnut, which grows east of the Mississippi from Georgia to Maine. Just one ounce of the savory hazelnuts consists of 170 calories and 4 grams of protein. The Hazelnut also carries a good portion of Vitamin E, thiamin, copper, and manganese.
An ounce of acorn nut meat from any types of oak consists of more than 100 calories, which many of our northern hemisphere ancestors consumed as a staple food prior to farming. These are high-carb nuts, with some fat and a little protein, giving them a healthy profile comparable to bread. The bitter acid in them is easily eliminated by cracking them into pieces and submerging the acorn nut meat chunks in recurring baths of warm water, one hour at a time, until the bitterness is gone. Don’t boil them, though. While many books advise this method, it seals in some of the bitterness.
The fully ripe, indigenous persimmon fruits are a sticky, gooey sweet treasure trove. The fruits of this particular eastern tree have 127 calories and a full day’s Vitamin C per cup of pulp. Look for very wrinkled fruits in late October. Unripe persimmons are very bitter and will give you a strong case of cotton mouth. Typically, the rougher they look, the sweeter they are.
The flavorsome, sweet, red-colored berries of wild rose bushes come in at 162 calories per cup. They’re a great source of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), Vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium, and a very good supply of dietary fiber, Vitamin A and manganese. They are also a Vitamin C powerhouse having 7 times your daily dose. To avoid getting the wrong fruit or berry, seek out compound leaves and thorns on the rose bushes. The red rose hips should also be branching upward, not dangling fruits.
These little, shiny black seeds are among the most ignored staple foods from the wild. Some amaranth species and varieties are cultivated for size or taste, but the wild plants are good enough to use. One cup contains 716 calories, 26 grams of protein, 30 percent of your daily calcium and almost a full day’s requirement of iron. These seeds can be boiled into a cooked grain or ground into flour. The leaves are also nutritious raw or cooked, but one cup of those only contains 6 calories.
This northerly marsh grass plant has always been a significant food staple in North America. Navigating an open canoe through the rice beds at harvest time lets you to bend the seed heads into the boat, tap them to discharge the rice, and then paddle out of there with an actual “boat load” of rice after a few hours. The raw, uncooked rice is exactly 100 calories per ounce, and it contains some traces of B Vitamins, 4 grams of protein and numerous minerals.
Over 20 species of wild grape are found east of the Mississippi, ripening at various times from August through October. Depending upon the types and sugar content, they are approximately 100 calories per cup. The majority of wild grapes carry good amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, copper and potassium. Make sure it’s a grape though! The Canada Moonseed looks like a grape, but it is poisonous. Grapes should have one to four teardrop-shaped seeds, while the dangerous moonseed has only one seed, which is curved and flat. Also, grape vines have tendrils (curlicues), while the moonseed has no curly tendrils.
If you don’t encounter to many burrs, the root of burdock can be dug up and boiled in a couple different changes of water can give you a nice veggie. Boiling eliminates the bitterness, and one cup provides you with 84 calories and some vitamin B6. Also, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Paw Paw Fruit
If you are searching for a rich, belly-filling fruit, paw paw is it. These flood plain and forest fruits carry 80 calories to the cup, 18 percent of your daily Vitamin C and about 10 percent of your daily potassium. The odd sweet taste is a little like a banana with hints of mango. Look for the stumpy banana-like fruits in August, on trees near rivers in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and most states to the east. Pick them when they are fragrant and almost mushy, but before they rot and turn dark.
Always remember to make 100% sure of what your eating before you eat it. And always wash them good so as to get any parasites off that may be on the plant. Happy hunting!