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Posts Tagged ‘wild edibles’

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 – Sheep Sorrel

Sheep sorrel can be found all over North America in fields, forest meadows and lawns. The Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) can be easily recognized by its distinct arrow shaped leaves. The leaves are pointed at the top and have a spike at the bottom on each side, giving them an arrow shaped appearance.

Sheep Sorrel a wild edible plant

Sheep sorrel has a pleasant sour taste and is good for relieving thirst on the trail. Sheep sorrel also has a lot of medicinal uses (see below). You can eat it plain, fresh out of the field or use it in salads for a nice flavoring. When making a salad with mostly bland leaves, the sheep sorrel adds a nice flavor to the salad.

Sheep sorrel also goes nice with fish or chicken and rice dishes.

Sheep sorrel has often been used for its medicinal purposes as well.

Sheep sorrel can be used to treat or prevent scurvy.

Root tea can be used for diarrhea.

Root tea can be used to treat excessive menstrual bleeding.

Can be used to help treat fevers.

Good against inflammation.

Sheep sorrel is full of anticancer vitamins and antioxidants and has been tested as a treatment against cancer. It is a known folk remedy for cancer treatments. Sheep sorrel is also known as a cancer preventative herb.

Avoid excessive quantities of sheep sorrel due to its high oxalic acid content.

Watch a video about sheep sorrel in the wilds here:

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series – The Wild Blueberry

Blueberries can be found in abundance across North America. They are often found covering the ground thickly along mountain slopes, along swampy lowland and forest bogs. There are many varieties of wild blueberry, but they pretty much look and taste the same.

The wild blueberry bush

Blueberries have a long history of use with the native American Indians who once roamed the continent. They contain tons of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries can either be eaten fresh, frozen for later or dried for long term storage. When fully dried, blueberries can be saved for quite a long time. The Indians made pemmican by drying blueberries and meat. Then they ground both into a fine powder and mixed it with melted fat until it made a very thick mixture. When it sets up, it will remain edible for many years. Pemmican that was found hundreds of years later was still edible.

Blueberry leaves can also be used in tea. Blueberry leaf tea was also heavily used by the Indians to ease child birth in women. When taken regularly about three months before the due date, it is claimed that the baby sort of slips right out. With some women it is mostly painless as well after use of blueberry tea.

Blueberry leaf tea is also used as a blood purifier.

You can collect blueberry leaves and dry them for use in winter.

See the video:

Dont forget to add blueberries to your list of wild edible foods.

PostHeaderIcon A Wild Spring Salad Harvested From The Back Yard

The other day I was out browsing the yard for fresh, wild spring foods and thought about making a salad with everything I found. It is nice to have fresh, free food, especially when they are purely organic and totally free of pesticides.

A lot of the things we now treat as weeds were once used heavily as a food crop and for medicinal purposes. Now people spend money to try and eliminate these herbs from their lawns. I think that the best way to clean up the yard is to eat it all. I save money while cleaning out the “weeds”. That is much better than buying chemicals and poisons to do the job.

This wild back yard salad has dandelion leaves and flowers, garlic mustard leaves and flowers, wild onion, wild mint and violet flowers. Each one of these herbs is packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients. And, again, these are all organic.
A fresh wild spring salad

 

Later I will dedicate a page to each one of these herbs, but for now, let’s get on with the salad.

 

Find some young, smaller dandelion plants. I pulled them out fully at the base, root and all. This makes it so much faster to harvest them (and eliminate them from your lawn). Then I cut off the root just above the base of the leaves. You can save the root for use as a coffee substitute or tea, if you want. The young dandelion leaves are not bitter like the older ones. Clip off some flowers as well. The fresh, fully blooming ones. A few ants might be feasting on them, so a puff of breath will dislodge them easily.

 

Garlic mustard is also growing all over this time of year. It is already blooming with tiny white flowers and stands about a foot to 18 inches high right now.. The leaves have a tasty combination of mild mustard flavor and a mild garlic flavor. You can eat the flowers too. The roots of this plant can be kept and used in a horseradish recipe.

 

Mint can be found almost anywhere. Here, it is growing in the lawn as a weed. Clip a few inches off a couple plants to add a nice refreshing flavor to your salad.

Clip off a bunch of violet flowers to add for color and vitamins.

 

Wild onions grow all over the lawn here in New York. They are very common all over here. They grow fast and tall and are easily found towering above the grass. Pull them out at the base with a rocking, circular motion. This will get the nice round onion bulb out of the ground.

 

Wild Salad Ingredients

Above you can see all of the wild salad ingredients, ready to be prepared. Rinse the garlic mustard plants and shake dry. Simply pull off or cut the leaves from the  garlic mustard. The flowers of the garlic mustard can also be saved and added to the salad. Pluck off the individual little flowers and save for later.

 

Garlic Mustard Plants

Garlic Mustard Flowers

Rinse off the mint plants and then cut or pull the leaves off the mint stems.

 

Wild Mint Leaves

Sort out your dandelion leaves. Remove any browned or damaged leaves. Keep only the smaller young leaves for best taste. Older leaves get a bitter taste. Some people do not mind the taste, but I do not like older leaves at all. The young ones are very good. Wash them in a bowl of water. Separate the flowers for later.

 

Wash the dandelion leaves

Wash your wild onions under running water. Make sure to remove all the dirt from the onion bulbs. Then cut the roots off the bulbs and slip off the first outer layer of skin to reveal the fresh, clean onion underneath. Then dice up the onion bulb. You can use the first part of the stem to add a nice sweet flavor. You can actually use the whole onion, leaves, and all. The wild onion leaves can be quite powerful flavored and have a bite to them.

 

Wild Onions

 

Chop up the wild onions

Now you can add all of the green, leafy ingredients to your salad bowl and toss them up well. Add the onions and mix them in. Top off the salad with your dandelion flowers, violets and garlic mustard flowers to make a pretty, edible salad. If you want, use your favorite salad dressing and enjoy an organic, all natural wild salad.

 

Finished organic wild spring salad