If you enjoy spending time in the countryside, it is always a good idea to understand the various foods that you can and can’t eat. You never know when you might find yourself in need of a bit of substance and your only available resources might be what you can forage. If by some chance you do find yourself in this situation, you want to be able to identify which foods are edible because so many wild plants can be quite poisonous.
Ray Mears’ home
The next time you are out camping or hiking, take a look around and you will see that there is a variety of different food available to you. You might have to look hard but you will find them. Some will look appetizing while others might look completely repulsive.
One of the most easily identifiable plants that you can eat in the countryside is the dandelion. Many people will recognize this pesky plant as the weed that grows in their lawn. Luckily this plant can be found in the woods and can be eaten a variety of different ways. You can take the broad leaves of the dandelion and eat them both raw and cooked. If you pull the dandelion from the ground you can eat the roots of this plant as well. There is a distinct bitterness that you can taste in both the leaves and roots.
Anyone got any Burdock?
The flower of a dandelion also has several uses. If you can pick the flowers while they are still in bud, small fritters can be made from them. You can also make tea from the flower once it has bloomed. There are several medicinal uses of the dandelion that contributes to its appeal. This plant can help with acne, act as a laxative, and ease certain joint pains.
Nettles are another popular plant to eat as a snack while camping in the woods. You can take the leaves from this plant and make them into a soup by cooking them. This plant can sting so it is important to use caution when picking the leaves. It is necessary to cook the leaves before eating them in order to get rid of the stinging qualities of the plant. They are considered to be very nutritious so keep your eyes open for them if you are looking for something good to eat.
Apparently, Giraffes really like these things aswell
Just like the dandelion, the nettle has several medicinal purposes as well. You can eat the older leaves of a nettle plant as a laxative. By making a tea from the nettle leaves you can ease hayfever symptoms and even arthritis pain. In some situations the chlorophyll can be removed from nettle leaves and used as green dye in a variety of different foods.
The leaves, stem, seeds, and roots of a burdock plant are all edible. You can pull the roots of this plant and eat them both cooked and raw. It is advisable to cook the bigger roots as they can develop a tougher core and a stronger flavour. Leaves can be eaten raw as well.
Parts of the yarrow plant can be eaten. The leaves can be eaten raw although they are quite bitter. It might be more suitable to cook them and it is advisable to select the youngest leaves on the plant to eat; a tea can be made from the leaves quite easily.Keep your eyes open for some acorns in the countryside. It is possible to eat an acorn but most people will prefer not to because of their bitter taste. If you are in a survival situation you can always boil the acorn a few times to help mellow the strong flavour.
Yarrow is Yellow!
Another plant that you might come across in the countryside that you may recognize from your own garden is the common daylily. You can find these growing wild in a meadow and feast upon their beautiful flowers which taste slightly sweet. You can also eat the leaves of a daylily but you will want to avoid eating the older ones. They can get quite fibrous as they age which does not make for a tasty meal.
When you walk through the woods do not be surprised if you come across strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries in summer. These can all be found growing naturally in the woods and can make a delicious snack. The one thing that everyone should keep in mind is that proper identification means everything when you are in the woods. If you have any doubt that what you are about to eat is not actually a blueberry, do not eat it. It is simply not worth the risk that you could potentially be eating a poisonous berry.
Make sure you know what you’re eating in the forest!
Mushrooms fall into the same category as berries. There are plenty of mushrooms that can be eaten and they are commonly enjoyed in a variety of foods all over the world. The problem with mushrooms is that they are not easy to identify in the woods and some can have hazardous effects on the body. They can be extremely poisonous and in some cases, you will not have any symptoms until several days after you have eaten them; they can be fatal. While it might be tempting to taste a few mushrooms along the way, you will be better off to keep on walking and look for a nice patch of dandelions to snack on instead unless you absolutely know what you are doing.
Wild Mushrooms? I would stay away if I were you
These are just a few of the plants that you might find in the countryside that are okay to eat. Keep in mind that if you see any sign of mildew or fungus growing on these plants you will want to avoid eating them. Also, it is important to realise that animals are able to eat different plants than we are. Just because they are eating the berries, do not assume that you can as well.
As there are a number of things that should not be eaten in the woods, it is a great idea to carry around a field guide of your area which lists these plants in detail. A field guide can help you properly identify the foods that are safe to eat while avoiding the poisonous ones.