Survival Food Series: Edible Weeds
When food is scarce, chaos and fear begin to set in.¬† Instead of panicking, step outside and go for a walk and more than likely, food will be right under your nose.¬† In a previous article,¬† “What To Do When There Is No¬†Food,” it was discussed that Mother Nature provides food – a person just needs to be resourceful enough to find it.¬† Food such as tree bark, insects and leather are definitely on the lower priority for food sources, but when nothing else is available, it may look tempting.¬† Not listed in the article were edible flowers and weeds that are in nearly every backyard.¬† Normally, these¬†food sources are seen as more of a nuisance than a survival food, but in times of need, they can provide much nourishment (and may¬†taste better than eating insects)¬†.
Naturalist and creator of www.WildmanSteveBrill.com provides examples of food one could eat when in the wild.¬†Everyone should know how much food there is out there, and Steve Brill is one that seems to have all the answers.
The most common edible plants are:
Dandelion – The flower, leaves and root¬†of this plant are edible.¬† This plant has an abundant source of Calcium to aid in bone health and also has properties that help disinfecting lungs.¬† Vitamin A is also present in this plant which acts as a natural antibiotic.¬† The leaves, especially are packed full of every vitamin imaginable.¬† This plant is extremely versatile.¬† The plant can also be made into a tea to alleviate skin irritations such as athlete’s foot,¬†scratches and¬†some acne¬†.¬† Collect the root in the late fall to early spring and makes a great addition to soups or by it self.¬† Dandelion flowers can be eaten raw, sauteed, steamed, fried or used to make wine.¬† Collect dandelion leaves in the spring when they are most tender and saute them or use in¬†salads or teas.
To Make Dandelion Tea:
Tear six dandelion leaves into a hot cup of water and let it steep 5-10 minutes.
*Any unwanted tea can be used as a natural face wash.
Chicory – This plant is rich in vitamin A, B, K, E and C, calcium, copper and zinc and phosphorus.¬† Collecting young plants in March and in November is the best time to harvest.¬† The flowers are stems can be used in salads.¬† The root can be eaten (after being boiled) or used as a coffee substitute, if necessary.
To Make Chicory Coffee:
Scrub the Chicory root, chop it up and toast them at 350 degrees¬†for one hour until dark brown, britlle and fragrant.¬† Grind the root up and mix 1 tsp. of ground roots in one cup of hot water.¬† The chicory coffee tastes like bitter coffee.
Cattails – Cattails shoots provide essential¬†vitamins such as beta carotene, niacin, thiamine, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin¬†C.¬† Many survival sites view the cattail as one of the most important edible plants to know about.¬† The shoot of a cattail takes like a combination of a cucumber and a zucchini.¬† It is advised to harvest plants after a bout of dry weather, so they are easily accessible.¬† The entire plant (flowers,¬†shoots and pollen)¬†can be harvested, so cut the plant at the base.¬†The best time to harvest and eat these plants is just before spring when plants are young and¬†just beginning to flower. The older they get, the more fibrous they become.¬† The pollen from cattails provides great energy, nutrition and can also be used as a flour for breads, or breakfast breads such as pancakes and muffins.¬† Although the pollen does not rise, so it should be mixed with three times as much whole grain flower.¬† Or sprinkle it on salads, oatmeal or yogurt.
Amaranth - Amaranth once ignored and thought as a pestering plant, is now getting the notice it deserves.¬†¬†Ancient Aztec civilizations thought this plant had superpowers.¬† This plant is high in fiber, amino acid, essential nutrients,¬† and proteins and comes in a close second (quinoa comes in¬†first)¬†with the lysine content.¬† Whole bread can be made from ground amaranth seed.¬† Substitute 25% of your wheat flour with Amaranth flour.¬† According to sources, just 150 grams of the grain is all that is required to supply an adult with 100% of the daily requirement of protein.¬† This plant can be used as a spinach substitute eaten raw or cooked.¬† The leaves are best collected in the spring.¬† Amaranth seeds can also be fermented into beer.
Milkweed – This versatile and useful¬†plant has many uses.¬† Not only does it attract butterflies to feed on it and assist you in the garden.¬† But you can also collect the milk, eat the silken fibers from inside the immature pods and use the milkweed fluff as a stuffing for coats or blankets.¬† Milkweed stalks have a fibrous material that can be used as twine for sewing.¬† In more ancient civilizations, Milkweed was eaten as a vegetable.¬† It’s shoots resemble eating asparagus.¬† Flower buds can be collected in the spring time for a broccoli alternative.¬† Flowers can also be boiled and mashed to create a unique sauce.¬† Additionally, the flower pods can be pickled for winter months.¬† Milkweed provides a multitude of edible parts from late spring until late summer.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Author: Tess Pennington
Author's Web Site:
Made Available By: Ready Nutrition
Date: December 2nd, 2009
Related Categories: Dietary Wellness, Survival Food