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Edible Wild Plants For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Foraging, Identifying, Harvesting and Cooking

Edible Wild Plants For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Foraging, Identifying, Harvesting and Cooking PDF

Author: Althea Greenfield

Publisher: Independently published


Publish Date: June 1, 2022


Pages: 69

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Wild plants have a number of ills that science doesn’t often come to terms with, but it is possible that some in the wild can be consumed. There are several kinds of plants that are edible, and in this article, you will learn about the ten most common ones. This guide was created through research and conversations with other naturalists. It is not intended to be a list of edible wild plants you should avoid or go out into nature looking for, but rather to give readers advice on which to eat in case they come across one.
A field guide for survivalists will cover many of the plants commonly found in nature, but a comprehensive guide for those who are simply interested in the edible ones is valuable. Wild plants have properties that make them worth eating, and some have health benefits too. Some wild plants act as pesticides, making it more difficult for invasive species to take over an area. The best way to ensure that you are consuming wild plants and not invasive species is to properly identify them before you consume them!
For purposes of this article, edible wild plants are defined as any plant that can be eaten directly by humans. This includes non-nutritive plants that are part of the human diet and some berries. Foraging for wild edibles is simply looking for and picking up edible wild plants, as opposed to agriculture or gardening where people actively plant and nurture them.
When it comes to collecting edible wild plants in the fall, be cautious of native flora that have a reputation for being poisonous. Some of them have deadly compounds based on their pod type, and others can cause illness if they aren’t cooked properly. Be aware of this when collecting them in the fall so you don’t end up consuming an invasive species!


If you’re an avid hiker, gardener, or camper and often wonder what plants are safe to eat, this article is just for you. We went through a list of edible plants and listed them in alphabetical order with a small description of each. Hopefully, this will be helpful when finding out which edible plant would best suit your needs!

Aloe Vera: When you get a burn, the gel from the Aloe Vera plant’s leaves is a great thing to keep on hand. It’s also great for soothing sunburns or skin irritation that might happen from bug bites! The aloe vera leaf is also perfect as a fresh garnish for any dish or can even be eaten like lettuce in a salad. It’s important to remember that the gel is given from the leaf of the plant and not directly from the aloe vera plant.
Bamboo: Bamboo is another wonderful food source to bring along on your outdoor adventures. It’s quite similar to a sweet potato and has a taste that is more reminiscent of a green bean than any other vegetable out there. The main difference between bamboo and common vegetables such as potatoes or beans, is that it’s a little starchy and requires much longer cooking times in order to soften it up. Use lots of salt when preparing it and watch out for small pebbles in your bamboo shoots before you cook them!
Berries: Berries are delicious and come in many different forms. They range from the more common strawberries and raspberries to the less common but still edible mulberries and elderberries. They can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on how ripe they are. The berries are easy to spot, since they’re brightly colored and stand out against their background. The bright colors of berries make them very easy to spot in an outdoor setting as well!
Birch Trees: Some varieties of birch trees produce a sweet sap that is much like sap from many other trees. It’s a very large tree with small leaves (if you can even call them small) that have a serrated edge along the edge of the leaf. If you’re in an area where birch trees are common and find that you’re hungry, try making a small cut somewhere on the tree to begin the sap flow. Take your cup or bowl under the flowing sap to fill it up. The sap makes great syrup and can be used in many different ways.
Cattail: Cattails are similar to onions but they’re also quite a bit different. The plant itself is full of many strands of white fluff like material where it’s stem meets the leaf part of the cattail. When eaten, the cattail has a slightly mild taste with a hint of onion and corn mixed in or cooked inside of its fluffy white material. It’s best to use the entire plant when cooking because it has a much earthier taste and can make a solid flavor in certain dishes. Cattail is another vegetable that grows in water. You can find it along rivers, lakes, or ponds throughout the world.
Chives: Chives are a very unique herb with the ability to grow in many different areas of the world; even places that don’t have much moisture! They need a good amount of moisture and not too much sunlight during their growth cycle so you may have to transfer them from your garden into your storage container if you want them to last longer. Chives are thin in size and have a very oniony taste that makes them a delicious addition to any dish you’re cooking.
Clover: Clover grows all over the world and can be seen as weeds nearly everywhere you go!

They have a wide variety of edible parts that all seem to be pretty good for you (if not better than good). Clover is full of vitamins and minerals as well, so if you’re stranded somewhere without food this is one plant that can help keep you alive! The flowers are excellent for making tea or being added to salads, while the leaves make a great topping for your favorite dishes too. Clover is one of the best plants to keep with you, since it grows in so many areas of the world and is easy to spot!
Elderberries: Elderberries are a type of berry that’s commonly found in the northern United States. They have a taste reminiscent of grapes mixed with a little bit of tartness that makes it quite refreshing when you’re out in the wilderness. The berries can be eaten plain or made into wine, juice, or pie filling too! The elderberry is another bright colored fruit that makes spotting it much easier for anyone that’s looking for food.
Garlic: The best thing about garlic is that it grows in almost any habitat, so you may have it anywhere you go! Garlic can grow in very heavy clay earth or it can even grow in a forest too (although much less common). It has a mild flavor that is comparable to chives but with a tinge of garlic. Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooking, you want to keep the areas around the root intact because if you cut them off, the taste will change quite a bit. The leaves can also be made into a tea and can be used in many dishes as well.
Ginger: Ginger is another type of berry that’s common to many parts of the world. It’s a very spicy plant, but you’ll find that it has a nice sweetness to it when cooked or eaten raw. The bark of the plant is extremely thick so it can’t be eaten like chives or anything like that, but it has delicious amounts of vitamin C in it. The skin of the root is actually edible as well and gives off an extremely spicy taste when used in many dishes.
Jerusalem Artichoke: Jerusalem artichokes are a large root vegetable that can grow in nearly any type of soil or even places without much soil at all. These root vegetables have a large amount of protein and vitamins in them, making them a great food source that’s easy to keep with you. They’re also full of fiber, which is important for keeping you healthy. The Jerusalem artichoke is another vegetable that grows in ponds or lakes during the summer months.
Kale: Kale is another common leafy green plant and can be found growing all over many areas of the world. It’s very similar to collard greens, but with a little bit more of a mustardy taste. Kale is very easy to spot, because it’s red in color and it can also be used as a salad green or added to other foods afterwards. The leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Lettuce: Lettuces are another leafy green crop that has many different varieties of different kinds and colors. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on how you want the dish to turn out. They’re very easy to find and are commonly seen as weeds in many open areas of the world. The leaves do take a little bit of time to grow, but they have a milder taste than other types of greens so you may find yourself liking it better!
Nettles: Nettles are an extremely common weed that you can find in any area of the world that has plants nearby. They’re common to see floating around on top of ponds or lakes if it’s spring or summer where you live, because they grow off the bottom and float on top when they’re mature enough. Nettles have a very distinctive taste that makes them popular to eat, because they have an earthy, spicy taste to them.

Onion: Onions are grown all over the world and are an extremely common vegetable. They grow on a bulbous root and can be eaten raw or cooked anytime you want. The leaves can be used as greens or sautéed along with vegetables in recipes too. Onions have a crisp, hot flavor to them that makes some foods taste better when they’re cooked with it!
Parsley: Parsley is a type of plant that grows in many different places around the world and is commonly seen as weeds in many areas of the Earth too. It has a very distinct taste and is a great addition to any dish that you’re making. The leaves can be used as greens or just chopped up and added to salads as well. Parsley is another plant that can be found growing in places that have lots of water, since it’s related to the watercress family.
Potato: Potatoes are widely popular throughout the world and are an extremely common vegetable that can grow in almost any location. They’re what most people think of when they talk about food that grows underground, but even just a normal potato is enough to help you survive during an emergency situation. The leaves are also edible if you want to add more greens to your diet and aren’t picky about how something tastes. They’re very tasty if you cook them as well!
Pumpkin/Squash: Pumpkins and squash are another type of plant that grows very easily in many areas of the world. They do require a lot of sun, so they’re excellent plants to grow during the summer months or in warmer climates. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, while the inside of the pumpkin can be used as food too! Pumpkin seeds are also edible (just not inside the pumpkin itself) and have a great taste when roasted.
Rose Hips: Rose hips are another plant that’s commonly found on bushes and other plants throughout the world. They’re a bright red color and have a spicy taste to them when eaten raw. When dried out, they can be made into tea or used as a hot beverage to warm you up during the colder months of the year. Rose hips are full of vitamin C and are easy to find near bushes and other types of plants that have lots of thorny stems!
Sassafras: Sassafras is a type of tree that can be found growing in many areas around the world. It’s commonly found in swamp areas, around lakes and ponds, or near any type of wetland area in general. The leaves can be used as greens or can be cooked along with other foods. They also have a mild smell and taste to them, so it may not be that important for you to make tea from them for the sake of your health, but making a tea does help with treating colds and keeping you healthy.
Spinach: Spinach is another type of plant that grows very easily in many areas of the world. It’s one of the leafy greens that’s found in nearly every grocery store in America, because it’s so common to grow that they always have plenty on hand at all times! Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and can even help keep skin healthy.
Swamp Tea: Swamp tea is a common plant that can be found growing around the edges of large bodies of water. The leaves are packed full of nutrients and can help boost your immune system to keep you healthy. Swamp tea is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is just one more reason it’s extremely important to include in your diet. It’s also easy to spot because the leaves are a darker shade of green than other plants, so you’ll be able to grab some and make some tea for a nice warm drink when you’re stuck in your shelter during a cold weather emergency.
Watercress: Watercress is one of the most common plants that grow in many different types of water all over the world. It’s also one of the most known plants when it comes to herbal remedies, as many people have turned to this plant for help with maintaining a healthy immune system. Watercress has many antioxidants in it that are great for your health and are very easy to spot since they’re green like other leaves. It takes just a little bit longer to grow than other types of food, so you’ll want to save this one for later on in the spring or summer months when you know you won’t have any problems growing it!
Wintergreen: Wintergreen is another plant that can be found growing near ponds or lakes in lots of areas of the world. The leaves are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s easy to spot because the leaves look very similar to other types of greens but have a distinct smell along with a different color. Wintergreen is a bit harder to grow than other types of food, but if you’re diligent enough it can be done!
Wild Horseradish: Wild horseradish is another type of herb that can be found growing in most areas of the world. It’s another popular plant for herbal remedies and has recently been used in conjunction with cloves in some medications as well. The leaves can be used for greens or as a substitute for brown sugar in recipes. It’s also an excellent herb to use for flavoring meats, sauces and other foods.
Wild Dandelion Greens: Wild dandelion greens are another type of edible plant that can be found growing in many areas of the world. They’re very similar to spinach and chard, so you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what type of plant you’re eating before you do anything else. If it’s safe and edible, wild dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that’s easy to find just about anywhere.
Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is another type of plant that can be found growing in most areas of the world. It’s easy to find because it grows near lakes and ponds and has a sweet, mellow taste. The leaves can be used as greens, cooked with foods, or drunk as a tea for colds and respiratory conditions like bronchitis. The twigs can be used as a natural diuretic to help cleanse your body with the many vitamins and minerals it contains.
Yarrow: Yarrow is a plant that’s commonly found growing in almost any area of the world. It’s one of the best plants for treating wounds and illnesses, so if you end up using it for home remedies make sure you take care to store some away at all times. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and have an awesome flavor, but it’s best if you use them along with other herbs because they don’t taste as good on their own. The flowers are edible and are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Yerba Mate Tea: Yerba mate is another type of herb that can be found growing in almost every part of the world. It’s commonly used as an herbal tea, but it also has many other uses. The leaves have a mild taste and smell, but they’re often found as either green or dried out and ashes. Yerba mate has many volatile oils that contain caffeine, so it’s better to use it with other herbs instead of drinking it on its own, especially if you’re trying to get high off this herb. It’s very similar to coffee and can help you get a nice boost of energy while also helping your system to stay healthy.
Yellow Dock: Yellow dock is another type of herb that grows in most areas of the world. It’s  often found near ponds and lakes but can also grow in small clusters along the sides of streams or rivers. The leaves have a bitter taste but they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals, making them a great food source no matter what time of year it is. The root is also edible if you know how to prepare it properly, making yellow dock one of the best herbs to have around when food supplies start running low.

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