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Winter Foraging Finding Wild Edible Food in Mid Winter

Article from: December 15th, 2012

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 foraging for survival foods



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

Winter Foraging For Wild Edibles


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.


Happy foraging.


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

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About the Author

Troy Reid


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