Search

The DIY World Store

Make your own solar panels for $1 per watt
Get the book
The Complete DIY Solar Panel Book




Help us keep posting valuable experiments.

Archive for the ‘Wild Edible Foods’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series – Finding Food In The Snow

In winter the ground is covered with snow. Everything is brown. The plants are all dead for the season. The leaves have fallen. It looks bleak. It seems that there is nothing to eat. Or is there…..

Somehow the animals manage to survive all winter. Some sleep all season and avoid the cold weather and scarcity of food. Some, like the squirrels put away food in the fall to last all winter. But many animals like deer are wild foragers and must somehow survive. Watch the animals and learn from them. The deer actually scratch off the snow to find food underneath.

We can do the same. It does take some work to find food. The best thing is to know already, before the snow falls, where the plants are growing so you can find them later. If you are a nomad traveling across the land, then it gets harder to find wild edibles. Then it is hit and miss. You may need to kick up a lot of snow in order to find something edible. But if you know the area a bit, in the fall just before the snow comes down, you can locate and remember where the winter wild edibles are growing like I did In This Article.

Digging in the snow for wild edible food

Garlic mustard is a hardy winter wild edible plant that can be found underneath the snow all season. If you can find it, you have a very healthy winter vegetable that tastes great fresh or served hot. The Europeans brought it over as a vegetable and it ran wild. Now we treat it like a weed. In winter it can save your life.

Winter survival food under the snow

Wild garlic is another hardy winter plant. Wild garlic prefers cooler weather and even dies off in the heat of summer. It grows right back again when the weather cools down some. Garlic can be found all over the forest in the North East US because the Europeans brought it over and it also grew wild. You can eat the whole plant from the leaves to the root bulb. Wild garlic is also a natural antibiotic and helps fight cold and flu.

There are many other wild edibles that can be found in winter. The wild edible series will continue through the season.

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series – Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard is an invasive weed. At least that is what gardeners and lawn care workers call it. It was once brought over from Europe to be used as a very healthy and nutritious herb. It grew with vigor and thrived here. Some time in the past, people forgot about its usefulness as a food herb and started treating it as a weed. But garlic mustard is very good for you.

Garlic Mustard A Wild Edible Food

Garlic mustard is an awesome addition to your list of survival foods because it is packed with vitamins and minerals and because it can be found in the winter. It loves to grow in forests and shady areas and disturbed roadside beds. Garlic mustard has a sort of natural, edible antifreeze that allows it to grow and thrive in winter. You can dig under the snow and find garlic mustard to eat when you are hungry.

Garlic mustard tastes just like its name implies. It tastes like a combination of garlic and mustard. The whole plant is edible from the root to the flowers in summer. The leaves can be eaten fresh or boiled like spinach. The roots make a sort of horseradish if you grind them up. The flavor is very pleasant to some, but they taste better to others when boiled. The young fresh leaves and flowers can be added to salads or served as a garnish with meals.

Garlic mustard can be used as a spice or seasoning for your meals as well.

Garlic mustard is also a powerhouse of vitamins. It contains vitamins A, C, B and many minerals. It also contains important Omega 3 fatty acids. Rumor has it that garlic mustard can help against cancer. A poultice can be used to treat insect bites and stings. It can also help against respiratory infections and asthma.

Garlic mustard is a biennial herb that produces short, now laying plants in the first year and long, tall (3 foot) plants the second year. In the second year it produces flowers in mid summer, which are very tasty. The seeds can be used like mustard seeds. The first year leaves are the best tasting fresh, but grazing off the smaller leaves on second year plants is also good.

How to Identify Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard leaves are about 1 to 2 inches round, roughly heart or triangular (sometimes round) shaped and course toothed on the edges. In the second year they grow long stalks with alternating leaves on the stem. The second year they can grow up to 3 feet high. The flowers appear in mid summer and are small and white. The leaves have a distinct garlic smell when crushed.

The garlic mustard is a relative of the mustard family.

There are no known poisonous look alikes.

PostHeaderIcon Winter Foraging – Finding Wild Edible Food in Mid Winter

It is the middle of winter now and most of the plants have died off. There is not much green left anywhere. It is getting harder to find edible foods in nature as the weather gets colder. But somehow the animals in the forest manage to survive. Watch a deer eat after a snowfall and see what he does.

Most wild animals do not stock up on food to survive the winter like people do. The wild animals somehow survive though. They must be eating something.

The wild edible series will continue though the winter to show you what wild edible foods can be found in winter. You may be surprised what you can find.

Winter foraging for survival foods
Winter wild edible – garlic mustard

Back to the deer. They eat greens, berries and tree bark and leaves. In winter you will see them digging through the snow looking for something to eat. They can also be found grazing on young tree shoots and bark in the winter. If you watch the animals, you can learn from them. People cannot always eat everything that animals do, but there are many wild edible foods that we have in common.

This winter in Upstate New York has been mild so in some areas you can find grass growing. Here where I live there is a hill that is protected from the weather and winds. The sun shines on it all day. This provides for some grass and wild edibles to grow through the milder parts of the winter.

If you can find some grass that has not yet died off, you have some vitamins and minerals right there. You can chew the grass blades and swallow the juices. Spit out the pulp which is not digestible. The juices are very healthy and provide lots of nutrients.

Wild garlic can be found pretty much throughout the winter. Garlic seems to like colder weather and thrives as long as it is not covered in snow too long. Then, as soon as the snow melts, the garlic grows again. It makes a great winter survival food. And its the perfect time because of the winter illnesses and the fact that garlic is a natural antibiotic. When I start to feel a cold coming on, I eat this stuff raw fresh from the back yard. The bulbs from wild garlic bite just like commercial garlic when you eat it. Sort of a peppery hot feeling.

Garlic Mustard is a nice winter survival food. Garlic mustard has a type of edible antifreeze in its system that allows it to grow all year. You can find it all over the forest edge during winter. You may need to dig a bit through snow to find some so it is a good idea to know in advance where it grows beforehand.

Sometimes you can find smaller versions of summer wild edibles in winter holding on and trying to survive. Dandelion greens will grow as long as the days are above freezing. The plants stay small, which means they are fresh as well.

If you move leaves around often you can find something that survives the harsh weather such as the wild strawberry in the photo below. Wild strawberry leaves are edible and a good winter find. The leaves act like an insulator and protect the strawberry plant from freezing.

Winter Foraging For Wild Edibles

Foraging for winter survival foods

Another wild edible that can sometimes be found in winter is wild plantain. If the winter is mild enough, this plant hangs on though the season. Again, the same as with grass, it all depends on the weather and how much snow and deep freezing you get.

Some clover also remains in lawns and fields if you are lucky. This is a good, healthy edible food.

There are other wild edibles you can find in the winter, but these will be covered later.

Happy foraging.

You can check out our other Wild Foraging Articles in the mean time.

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series – Wild Garlic (also called chives or onion)

The wild garlic is a common herb found all over the US. It can be found in forests, fields and people’s yards. The wild garlic plant very much resembles the common form of onion in that it has long green tube like leaves and round bulbs. Wild garlic has many healthy benefits and can even help fight against cancer.

Note: Although many people identify these plants as wild onion, even in books, these are wild garlic. The big difference is in the hollow tube shaped leaves.

Finding wild garlic in the forest

The wild garlic is easy to identify. It normally looks the same green color as grass, but is usually taller than the grass in your lawn. It also seems to grow faster than grass when it has been cut. You can easily recognize the long hollow tube shape of the leaves. They grow in clumps, often with many tube leaves growing from every single bulb. When you break open a wild garlic leaf you get a very strong onion smell.

You can eat the whole plant. The leaves are great fresh or as a garnish for meals. Some wild garlic leaves are very strong flavored. The younger, shorter leaves always taste better. The bulb itself can be dug up and eaten just like an onion.

The Wild Garlic Bulb

Some call these chives, some call it wild garlic, while others call it onion. They are all related and in the Lily family.

Wild garlic grow best in cooler weather and can be found in abundance through the spring on into early summer. In late summer when it gets cooler they come out again and can often be found right into winter until it starts snowing heavily.

Wild garlic grows and spreads like weeds and are normally treated as weeds. This is a very healthy food that people try to eradicate from their lawns. I prefer to let them grow naturally wherever they want and keep them down by eating them by the handfuls as I walk through the yard and property.

Wild garlic has just about the same nutritional value as the common garlic. They are high in vitamins A and C as well as others. They contain zinc, copper, sulfer, iron and many other minerals.

Wild garlic has many similar medicinal benefits as normal garlic. They can be used to fight colds, cough and asthma. They have natural cancer fighting properties. They can help boost your immune system. Wild garlic is antibacterial and antimicrobial and can help your body fight invasion and infection. Onions are good for the heart and can help control blood pressure.

See the video:

These little herbs should be cultivated and eaten instead of poisoned and eradicated.

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series -The Acorn

The acorn is one of the most important of all survival foods. The American Indians used the acorn heavily as a food source. The acorn is also one of the most abundant and most overlooked of all survival foods. You may even have an oak tree in your back yard or nearby. Acorns are not only for squirrels.


Acorns A Wild Edible Survival Food

The acorn can be used in many ways and is a very nutritious trail food. Acorns are packed full of important vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats. There are different types of oak trees with different acorns. Some are more bitter than others. Some can be eaten right off the ground while others may have to be soaked or boiled in water to remove some of the bitterness first. The bitter taste is from Tannic Acid, which is the same ingredient used to tan animal hides in making leather. You can tan leather with oak leaves and oak tree bark.


Identify The Oak Tree

Generally the white oak variety is less bitter and sort of sweet. The acorns from the white oak can usually be eaten fresh.

If you find a bitter batch of acorns, you can either boil them in fresh changes of water until they are no longer bitter or place them in a mesh bag in a flowing stream for a few days. Then dry your acorns and eat them fresh or roast them and eat them. You can also roast the acorns and then grind up the nuts and use the meal as flour in making bread just like you would with wheat flour. If you grind the acorns coarsely then you can use them as a breakfast cereal. Prepare as you would with oatmeal or grits.

See the video here:

This knowledge can save your life one day. Remember, acorns are not just for squirrels.