In every state, there are several thousand species of plants. In those thousands of species, there are plants that are extremely poisonous. There are a vast majority of plants that are neither edible nor poisonous, just not very tasty or digestible. So, you’re probably wondering then what the hell is left to eat? Well, there are a bunch of plants that can keep you sustained when shit hits the fan.
To start, to eat edible plants, you first have to know how to identify poisonous plants so you won’t die. Below are some traits that you should stay completely away from.
DON’T EAT IF
- Stained sap
- Fine hairs on plants
- Has a sour taste
- Plant produces a milky excretion
If you do find yourself in a situation where you cannot identify if it is a bad or good plant to eat, just don’t eat it. Remember this article is if shit hits the fan and you feel like you’re starving to death.
Now that we have all the negative poisonous stuff out of the way, let’s focus on the plants you can eat. Note: Will only be covering commonly recognized plants in North America.
Probably one of the most recognizable plants in North America is the cattail plant. It can be found practically anywhere there’s a water source. Mostly found in swamps, the plant is long, lean, has flat long leaves, and the head looks like a corndog on a stick. To eat from a cattail, harvest the root buds. There’s difference between the roots and the root buds though, so don’t get confused. The roots have fine hairs on them and the buds do not. There are many ways you can eat the root buds, but perhaps the best way to eat this is sliced and stir-fried. Additionally, you can eat them roasted and then pulled apart and eaten.
The first word you think of right after you hear syrup is maple. All the trees that at are part of the maple family have sweet sap that you can harvest for syrup. Most maple trees are found in the eastern part of the United States. To harvest the syrup from a maple tree all you have to do is tap the tree. You can do this by using a knife and spinning it like a mini drill, then pound a stick into the hole created. Then, place a bucket or a jar to collect the syrup. Since the syrup contains plenty of water, you can boil it to remove it. If it is a survival situation, just drink the sap straight. Maple trees also provide maple seeds, which are edible as well. A lot of people know about maple seeds from their childhood. The seeds are recognized through the slow twirling helicopter motion they generate when falling from a tree. To eat maple seeds, peel out the outer skin and boil them if bitter. If they are not bitter, roast them just like cattail buds. You can also dry them until they are nice and crunchy like a peanut.
The onion family is vast and includes garlic, chives, and leeks. This family of plants can be found in swampy areas to dry ass deserts and colors varying from white, red, and purple. A simple rule to follow, if it looks like an onion, smells like an onion, then it’s an onion (or an ogre)! One thing you do want to be careful about is if you have already handled an onion that day; the smell of the onion might still be in your hands. Wild onions are not much of a food by themselves, but if you add them to other veggies or meat, they’ll make a great addition.
The Berry Family
There is a bunch of berries that we can go through but we will only talk about one berry family; Vaccinium. We’ll also focus on the two common berries out of the family; blueberry and huckleberry.
The Vaccinium family consists of the following, blueberry, huckleberry, cranberry, bilberry, and lingonberry. These types of berries are usually found in the southeastern United States. These types of plants usually grow in dry, rocky forests and fields but do sometimes occur in areas with moisture, e.g. swamps and bogs.
When you harvest for blueberries, choose the ones that are blue all the way around. Some berries that you might see may have a blush of white or green, do not pick those since they are not ripe nor will not get ripe after they are picked. You may also see some blueberries with a hint of red, those are not ripe either but may ripen once picked.
Now for huckleberries. They are small and look a lot like blueberries. In some parts of the United States, numerous people confuse the two because they are so alike. Huckleberries range in color from blue, dark purple, to a bright red. Each color has its own unique flavor as well. Red huckleberries have a tartier flavor, while the dark purple and blue ones are much sweeter.bushcraft, edible plants, organic, plant diet, plants, poison, survival, survivalists, what to eat, wild food