While having a good stockpile of food is essential, so is knowing how to forage for wild edibles.
There are actually many edible plants which could just save your life in a survival situation. Here we are going to be looking at 10 edible plants you can eat in the wild.
Along with the list below, we do recommend that you get your hands on a good foraging book that will show you which plants are edible for your own region.
If you are ever unsure about which plants may be safe, instead of potentially poisoning yourself, memorize how to carry out the universal edibility test.
Before moving forward, there are a few traits that you should certainly avoid. These include:
- Avoid milky or discolored sap
- Avoid spines, fine hairs, or thorns
- Avoid plants with beans or seeds in pods
- Avoid plants with three-leaved growth
- Avoid plants with thorns
- Avoid plants with shiny leaves
10 Edible Plants You Can Eat in the Wild
You might not like these growing in the garden but they have their uses in a survival situation and may just save your life.
Unlike some wild edibles, with dandelions, the whole plant is edible. This being said, the younger leaves are more tender and taste much better than mature leaves. You can remove the bitterness and make the mature leaves and roots more tender by boiling them. You can drink the water after you remove the leaves and roots.
If you have no means of cooking this weed, each part can be eaten raw too. The leaves are great when added to a green salad.
The flowers can be eaten raw, breaded, or fried. They are sweet and crunchy and are a great addition to stir-fry, soup, or even wine. The roots can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
Purslane is often considered to be a weed in many gardens, but if you take the time to get to know this fast-growing plant, you’ll discover that it is both edible and delicious.
Purslane is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron, making it a very healthy plant to add to your diet.
Clover is an exception to the rule “Avoid plants with three-leaved growth“.
They are easily identifiable and can be seen growing in many backyards and grassy fields. Although they can be eaten raw, they taste better once boiled.
The young blossoms can be pan roasted until nice and crispy or made into a tea.
Clover may not be the best tasting but it is high in protein, has beta carotene, vitamin C, most of the B vitamins, biotin, choline, inositol, and bioflavonoids.
We have looked at cattail here before on UK Survival Guides which you can see here.
They can be found near to freshwater and most of the plant is edible. The best part of the plant is the white part of the stem near the bottom of the plant which you can either boil or eat it raw.
The leaves can be boiled much like you would do with collard greens. You can eat the female flower spike that resembles a hot dog when the plant is young.
The younger leaves of the stinging nettle have a better taste but you can also eat the stems and the roots. If you are going to eat the leaves raw, you should do so only after mashing them due to the stinging hairs. I would recommend either drying or cooking them instead. They have a spinach-like taste and can be added to soups and stews.
Stinging nettles are loaded with protein. Additionally they contain high levels of Vitamins A, B and C, and addition to potassium, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Tea made from the leaves have high amounts of iron.
Chicory is a bushy plant with small blue, lavender, and white flowers. The whole plant is edible. The young leaves can be eaten raw or boiled first. The roots will become tasty after boiling.
Young leaves for salads, crown bases boiled five minutes, roots before stalk appears boiled in several changes of water, or roasted to mix with coffee, pickle flower buds, add open flowers to salads.
Sheep sorrel is a common weed often found in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It can be identified by it’s tall, reddish stem and can reach heights of 18 inches.
This one shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts as it contains oxalates. You can eat the leaves raw. They have a nice tart, almost lemony flavor.
Fireweed is a very attractive flowered plant that tends to love disturbed places. The young leaves and shoots can be eaten. They can be used in salads, as a vegetable, and young shoots can be used as an asparagus substitute.
The root often tastes bitter but can be roasted after scraping off the outside. The flower stalks can be eaten raw or cooked and are used when the flowers are in bud. The pith of young or older stems are consumable raw or cooked.
These can be seen growing across most of Europe and is found especially in grassy places, waste ground, roadsides and near sand dunes.
The young leaves can be consumed raw or cooked and they can also be dried for later use. You can add them to salads, cooked as a potherb or added to soups. The leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamins A and C.
The stems can also be eaten raw or cooked but they are best peeled and the inner portion eaten.
The seed can be used as a piñole or can be ground into a powder and used as a flour for making pancakes. Roasted, they can also be used as a coffee substitute.
The young leaves can be consumed raw or cooked as a potherb. They can be available all year round if the winter is not too severe. They are very nutritious and can be added to salads whilst the cooked leaves can scarcely be distinguished from spring spinach. They do however contain saponins so some caution is advised.
The seed can be ground into a powder and used in making bread or to thicken soups. The seed contains 17.8% protein and 5.9% fat.