Here are Tips for Harvesting Food in the Wild
Most of the so-called domesticated foods grown in backyard gardens and commercial nurseries today started out as wild foods. In years past Native Americans and others would routinely go on food foraging expeditions to look for wild edibles. The people familiar with the area knew the growing seasons and where the foods typically grew. They may have even moved their camps to certain areas when they knew food could be harvested. CATTAIL[/caption] Cattails are commonly found around waterways and they are easily identified. The roots and stalks that grow close to the ground are the best part. The large flower, which is easily spotted, will be covered with yellow pollen in the early spring and many people collect it for flour or use it as a flavoring/thickening for sauces or gravy. The roots and stalks are best when boiled. [caption id="attachment_3951" align="alignright" width="280"] BURDOCK[/caption] Burdock to most people is a nuisance weed but actually is cultivated for its roots in many parts of the world. The roots are typically eaten by cutting up into chunks and boiling in water or sautéing with oil in a frying pan. In a survival situation, they can be eaten raw but will have a bitter taste late in the summer. [caption id="attachment_3950" align="alignleft" width="288"] BLACK BIRCH[/caption] Birch trees are a source of food if you are in a survival situation. The inner bark (cambium) can be eaten raw, fried, boiled or ground into flour or paste and the leaves can be steeped for tea. [caption id="attachment_3953" align="alignright" width="300"] DANDELION[/caption] Dandelions are very common and all parts of the plant are edible. The leaves can be eaten raw just like any green, or boiled or even made in wine. They are best if eaten before the buds flower. [caption id="attachment_3957" align="alignleft" width="275"] ARROW ROOT[/caption] Arrowroot grows typically in wets areas and many encourage its growth because the roots are very good. It is ground into flour many times and certain natural food stores routinely stock arrowroot flour. [caption id="attachment_3954" align="alignright" width="300"] INDIAN STRAWBERRY[/caption] Some of you may look at this picture and say that is a wild strawberry. There really is no such thing as a wild strawberry in the technical sense. In years, past farmers and others may have cultivated berries such as strawberries, blackberries and so on then abandoned the farmstead or home for whatever reason and yet the plants carried on. Certain plants like the strawberry drop seeds, which allow them to repopulate. Birds consume the berry and then deposit the seeds in various places. The picture is an Indian Strawberry, which many consider a weed. The berry is edible but the taste does not resemble a strawberry and you can tell the difference by the color of the flower. A strawberry as we know it has white flowers and not yellow ones. The plant is invasive and once started is hard to get rid of, if you want to get rid of it. It makes good ground cover and attracts birds and small mammals which many like to encourage. It will crowd out other invasive weeds in yards and flower beds. [caption id="attachment_3956" align="alignleft" width="139"] STRAWBERRY[/caption] Pine trees are not pictured in this article because of how common they are and easily identified. The bark of all species of pine can be eaten as well as the nuts produced by many varieties of pine. The inner bark is cut into strips and eaten raw or roasted and eaten like potato chips. The needles can be steeped into a refreshing tea and pine nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Pine resin is routinely chewed on just like gum and many state that it has medicinal properties. The pictures and information presented here is for informational purposes only. It is up to you to make sure you know what is edible and what is not. Never consume any plant, berry or nut unless you are certain. Considerations Over 80 percent of all wild mushrooms are poisonous and it is recommended that unless you are an expert that you never eat wild mushrooms. Ninety percent of all yellow and white berries are toxic to humans.