Have you ever took a stroll and found yourself in a vacant lot with an abundance of overgrown weeds or gone for a nature walk and wondered if the wild plants you see can be eaten? Foraging for food in the wild is something not too many people are even familiar with. It means to look for or obtaining food in the wild. Wild edibles can be found anywhere there is any green verdure. The question is which ones do you eat?
Being able to identify wild edibles is definitely a skill that can prove to be life saving when you find yourself in an unexpected situation. This is not something that you want to take a chance to do and find yourself eating something poisonous making a bad situation worse. If I am hungry and need to eat something while wild plants surround me, how do I choose what to eat? If you are not sure of the identity of the wild plant do not eat it.
Here is a small list of commonly seen plants that can be eaten:
There are 300 species of clovers, which are high in protein, phosphorus and calcium. “They’re found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area. You can spot them by their distinctive trefoil leaflets. You can eat clovers raw, but they taste better boiled.” (1)
Dandelions are commonly seen and looked on as a nuisance, a weed to be plucked and killed. “People may not care for weeds in their gardens, but dandelions—and certain other weeds—are edible and can be used for a whole host of culinary purposes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that edible wild greens, like dandelion, taste good, are low in calories and are packed with vitamins. Dandelions in particular are high in calcium and vitamins A and C.” (2)
This weed is also very common and edible. Not to be confused with the banana like plantain. “Plantain (weed) has a nutritional profile similar to dandelion — that is, loaded with iron and other important vitamins and minerals. The leaves are tastiest when small and tender, usually in the spring but whenever new shoots appear after being cut back by a lawnmower. Bigger leaves are edible but bitter and fibrous.” (4)
Just because the wild plant may be edible does not mean that some are not allergic so keep this in mind when you are foraging for wild edibles. There are many wild edibles and there is also a method for testing wild plants in a survival situation.
So, if you are ever camping or hiking this knowledge can also be life saving.
Test for Edibility
When choosing what to eat from wild plants you will want to pray and ask God for guidance. Then the first thing you want to do is section the plant being questioned by separating the fruit, leaves and flowers if it has any. Not because one part of the plant is edible does it mean the whole thing is edible.
Begin by choosing to test on one part of the plant first. We can begin with the leaves. You can break the leaves and rub it under the forearm. Do not rub it on a large portion because you are trying to see if it will irritate, itch or cause any type of reaction. After you rub it wait 5 minutes to see if there is any irritation.
If there is no irritation or any reaction then rub the same part of the plant on your lips and wait 5 minutes for any irritation stinging or numbing. Then place a small portion of leaves on the tongue but do not chew and wait 5 minutes to check for any itching, burning or numbing after 5 minutes begin to chew and after again check for any kind of reactions.
Finally eat a small amount and wait an hour if this causes no irritation, nausea, burning or itching it should be safe to eat the leaves. Repeat the procedure for the flowers and the fruit if applicable. Do not over eat wild foods are more filling than you might think.