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But, you should be very careful to remove all of the spines prior to ingesting it, as they can get lodged in your throat and, at best, be very uncomfortable. It should also be noted that, prior to consuming, the stem should be boiled or cooked over an open flame. Yes, the very same plant that goes into the yellow hot dog-friendly condiment, is a wild plant that can be ingested, should the occasion call for it.

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Common around the world — especially during the spring bloom — this plant is another that can be eaten in its entirety. Nuts have been a staple food of humanity for a very long time, but not all nuts are safe to eat raw. Pine nuts, however, are edible straight from the pine cone. Yes, they come from pine cones. These little snacks are especially abundant in the Southwest and Northern Pacific, but you will have to do a bit of searching, as they are also a favored snack of birds, squirrels, and other woodland creatures.

Also, be aware that you may end up getting some pitch or sap on you, which can be a menace to clean off , especially in the woods far from civilization. Just like Baloo sings in The Jungle Book , prickly pears are perfectly safe to eat in the wild. These pink or purple fruits are loaded with nutrients — which is especially important to get your hands on in their growth region: the desert.

You should, however, boil them before eating. And just about the entire plant can be eaten. It is, however, a good idea to allow the plant to dry out before ingesting it, as much of its mass is comprised of salt water — which could be a dangerous thing to ingest if you are in a survival situation, as it will actually serve to dehydrate you. You might want to bone up on how to start a fire without matches , just in case. Posted By Sean Tirman. Posted By John Mannheimer. Posted By Parker L Ross. Skip to content.

Sean Tirman Sep 8, Use: The leaves can be picked and chewed raw like a chewing gum. The leaves can also be finely chopped and steeped in boiling water to make a tea. The berries can be eaten as well. Where found: Occurs throughout most of the world, except for the polar areas. Use: Use the raw leaves, stems, and flowers as a refreshing, sour addition to a salad. Steep in boiling water for 10 minutes to make a tea.

Description: Acorns are the fruit of the oak tree.

They are a very important food source for wildlife. Creatures that make acorns an important part of their diet include birds such as jays, pigeons, some ducks and several species of woodpeckers.

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Foraging wild edibles and medicinal plants by months

Small mammals that feed on acorns include mice, squirrels and several other rodents. However, acorns are toxic to some other animals, such as horses. In some human cultures, acorns once constituted a dietary staple, though they are now generally only a very minor food. Where found: The oak is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and the Americas.

Use: The acorn contains tannin, which is very bitter and slightly toxic. Luckily, tannin is easily removed by soaking in water. Acorns from the white oak family have far less tannin than acorns from the black or red oak family, so if you have a choice, opt for white oaks. The first acorns to fall from the tree are likely to contain worms and moth larvae. Most of these bad acorns will float in water, while most good acorns will sink. At the beginning of acorn season late summer or early autumn you will find that most of the acorns will float and very few will sink.

As the season progresses, you will find that most acorns will sink and few will float. Once you have sorted them, shell them. They can be opened with a pair of pliers or a nutcracker. If you choose to, you can speed this process by boiling the shelled, crushed acorns in several changes of water.


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Native Americans would put the crushed acorns in a sack and then place the sack in a swift stream for several days. If after soaking, the acorn mush is still bitter, it needs to soak longer. They can be used as flour or to make acorn mush - a staple of the Native American diet. You can also skip crushing them and eat them as nuts, but uncrushed acorns will take much longer to leach. Description: The Beech is a deciduous tree growing to m tall, with smooth silvery-gray bark. The leaves are dark green, simple and sparsely-toothed with small teeth, cm long rarely 15 cm , with a short petiole.

The winter twigs are distinctive among North American trees, being long and slender mm by mm with two rows of overlapping scales on the buds. Description: Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting; in other pines the seeds are also edible, but are too small to be of value as a human food.


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The nuts are located at the base of the scales of the cones. Use: Pine nuts can be eaten raw or baked into a casserole. Description: Pines are evergreen and resinous. The bark of most pines is thick and scaly, but some species have thin, flaking bark. The branches are produced in regular "pseudowhorls", actually a very tight spiral but appearing like a ring of branches arising from the same point.

2. Bittercress

Many pines are uninodal, producing just one such whorl of branches each year, from buds at the tip of the year's new shoot, but others are multinodal, producing two or more whorls of branches per year. The new spring shoots are sometimes called "candles"; they are light-colored and point upward at first, then later darken and spread outward. Where found: Pines are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. Pines are also extensively planted in many parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Use: The needles can be eaten year-round.


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The young shoots can be eaten as candy when stripped of the needles, peeled, boiled until tender, and then simmered for minutes in a sugary syrup. Description: Sassafras is a small tree with brown, furrowed bark. The leaves come inthree shapes: an oval one lobe ; a mitten two lobes ; and a glove three lobes. Use: dig up the roots, peel them, and boil them to make a rootbeer-like tea.

Description: It grows to m tall, and has alternate, pinnately compound leaves cm long, each with serrate leaflets cm long. The leaf petioles and the stems are densely covered in rust-colored hairs. The fruit of staghorn sumac is one of the most identifiable characteristics, forming dense clusters of small red drupes at the terminal end of the branches; the clusters are conic, cm long and cm broad at the base. The fruit appear during autumn, at which point the foliage turns a brilliant red.

Sumacs are considered some of the best fall foliage around. The fruit has been known to last through winter and into spring. Use: The fruit drupes can be bruised and then soaked in water to make a refreshing lemonade-like drink. Contact with poison sumac will cause a rash like poison ivy. Description: Autumn olive is a small tree or large shrub , growing meters tall.

The leaves are lanceolate, shiny green on the top with a silvery, powdery underside. The berries are about mm in diameter, bright red with speckles on them, growing in groups. They are very sweet. Where found: Native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas east to Japan. It was introduced to North America where it has become an invasive species. Use: When ripe, the fruit is juicy and edible. It can be eaten fresh or made into a jam. The fruit is small, extremely numerous, tart-tasting, and it has a chewable seed. It has been shown to have from 7 to 17 times the amount of the antioxidant lycopene that tomatoes have.

Lycopene has been consistently shown to be useful in decreasing the risk of prostate cancer. Description: The blackberry is a widespread and well known shrub; commonly called a bramble in the eastern U.