Healthy and Nutritious Wild Plants
Nutritious and healthy edible wild plants are found anywhere around the world, including your backyard, lawn or deep in the wilderness. If you are going camping and are looking for free healthy food around the camping grounds, you will be surprised to find the tastiest wild plants that can be eaten raw, cooked or steamed.
There are various types of wild plants and it sometimes becomes difficult to ascertain whether they are edible or poisonous. It is very important to identify them, because most plants have similar appearance. However, you can properly differentiate between poisonous and edible by analyzing each plant’s flower or fruit. Let’s have a look at some of the best wild plants you can eat.
The Best Edible Wild Plants
Dandelion plants are found everywhere, including lawns, parks and backyards. These are long-leaved herbaceous plants high in vitamins A and C. You can steam them or use Dandelion greens in your salads.
Wood sorrel has a nice sour, acidic taste and can be eaten raw. The plant can be easily found in lawns and in the wilderness. The plant has heart-shaped leaves and the flowers are white in color with pink streaks. Wood sorrel is one of the most eaten edible wild plants to date. According to Dr. James Duke’s “Handbook of Edible Weeds”, the plant was cooked as a dessert by the Potawatomi Indians and the Cherokee tribe ate raw wood sorrels to alleviate fever, cramp and nausea. Wood Sorrel is rich in niacin, Vitamin C and thiamin.
Chickweed grows during the spring and fall seasons and is usually found in lawns, gardens and deciduous forests. Rich in B vitamins, calcium and manganese chickweed can be steamed or eaten raw. You can even add them to your soups or green salads. When consuming chickweeds, try to avoid the stems and pluck off only the tops.
These are common roadside plants and are often considered as noxious weeds as they grow quickly in gardens and agricultural
lands. Rich in calcium, vitamins, phosphorus and fiber, these common weeds have flowers similar to dandelions, but the stalk of a sow thistle is upright and has a similar thistle appearance. Before consuming, look out for plants with younger leaves. The young leaves have a lettuce-like flavor, but the older ones and the stalks are bitter.
This wild edible plant has a very strong onion flavor. It is known by various names, including Meadow garlic, Tree Onion and Wild Garlic. The plant is edible, although one should be a bit careful while identifying because there are several look-alikes. The plant has narrow leaves that resemble any common grass, but the top part boasts a cluster of star shaped pink flowers. Wild onions are commonly found in mowed area and forests.
Some Precautions Before Consuming Edible Wild Plants
- Always keep a guide with good photographs and illustrations of edible wild plants.
- Make sure you identify each plant correctly and avoid accidental poisoning.
- Avoid plants growing near factories or polluted areas.
- Try not to eat wild peas. Most of them are poisonous and look exactly like common garden peas.
Handbook of Edible Weeds by James A. Duke (CRC Press)
Sow Thistle: Photograph by Alvesgasper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sonchus_February_2008-1.jpg GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Wild Onion: Public Domain, work of Natural Resources Conservation Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture,
Dandelion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eightyfivedandelion.JPG, Author: Beeblebrox Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.