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Forage For Variety In Diet

November 10, 2011 by  

Foraging your area for edible wild plants is a great way to give your diet variety. Different areas support different plants, so providing an exhaustive list in this venue is impossible. However, following are some plants found throughout most of the continental United States:

  • Asparagus: In the spring it resembles a cluster of green fingers. Mature plants have fernlike foliage and red berries. It’s best to eat the young stems before leaves form. Steam or boil them, as diarrhea or nausea can occur when you eat asparagus raw.
  • Bearberry or kinnikinnick: These berries are edible raw or cooked. Tea can be made from young leaves. The Indians also used it as a form of tobacco for smoking.
  • Beech: Mature beechnuts are an excellent survival food because of the kernel’s high oil content. Break the thin shell and eat the white meat inside. Nuts can also be roasted, then pulverized and used to make coffee by boiling or steeping.
  • Blackberry and raspberry: The fruits and peeled young shoots are both edible and tasty.
  • Blueberry and huckleberry: The fruits are edible raw.
  • Cattail: Eat the young, tender shoots raw or cooked. The rhizome can be pounded to remove the starch and used as flour. When young and still green, the female portion can be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob.
  • Chicory: All parts are edible. Can be eaten as a salad or boiled to use as a vegetable. Roots can be roasted and made into a coffee substitute by pounding them into powder and boiling.
  • Cranberry: The berries can be eaten raw or boiled in a small amount of water and sugar and turned into a jelly.
  • Dandelion: All parts are edible. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable. Roasted, the roots make a good coffee substitute.
  • Daylily: Young green leaves and tubers are edible raw or cooked.
  • Duchesnea, wild or Indian strawberry: The fruit is edible.
  • Elderberry: Eat the flowers and fruits. Soak the leaves in water for eight hours, discard the leaves and you have an excellent drink.

Article continues below…

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  • Hackberry: The fruit is edible when it falls from the tree after ripening.
  • Hazelnut or wild filbert: The nuts are edible when mature in autumn.
  • Junipers: Eat the berries and twigs. Roast the seeds for a coffee substitute.
  • Marsh marigold: All parts are edible after boiling.
  • Mulberry: The fruit is edible raw, cooked or dried.
  • Nettle: Eat young shoots and leaves. The plants have stingers, so it should be picked wearing gloves and boiled for 10-15 minutes to remove the stingers. Mature stems can be separated and woven into string or twine.
  • Oak: All parts are edible, but some parts are bitter. The acorns should be soaked in water for two days to remove the bitterness. They can then be boiled or ground into flour or roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
  • Persimmon: The leaves are edible raw, or they can be dried and made into tea. The fruits are edible raw or baked.
  • Pine: Seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. The bark of young twigs is edible. The inner bark of young twigs can be chewed. The green needles can be made into tea.
  • Sassafras: The young twigs and leaves are edible fresh or dried, and can be added to soups. Dig up the roots and underground stem, peel off the bark and let it dry, then boil in water to make sassafras tea.
  • Sheep sorrel: The plants are edible raw or cooked.
  • Strawberry: The fruit is edible fresh, cooked or dried. The leaves can be dried and made into tea.
  • Water lily: Flowers, seeds and rhizomes are edible raw or cooked.
  • Wild crabapple or wild apple: The fruit can be prepared like cultivated apples or eaten raw when ripe or cut into slices and dried.
  • Wild fig: The fruit is edible raw or cooked.
  • Wild onion: The bulbs and young leaves are edible raw or cooked and can be used to flavor meats or soups.
  • Wild garlic: The bulbs and young leaves are edible raw or cooked and can be used to flavor meats or soups.
  • Wild rose: The flowers and bulbs are edible raw and boiled. Fresh young leaves can be boiled in water to make tea.

To find out more about edible plants in your region, buy a book from a local or online bookstore. The books will have the added advantage of color photographs to help you identify the plants.

This information comes from my book, How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization. It contains practical, low-cost strategies for coping with global epidemics, terrorist attacks, electrical grid disruptions, food and water shortages and more, and is an excellent source for helping you formulate your survival plan. Order your copy by clicking here.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Joyce from Loris

    Love your article, Bob, but need to correct you on one item…. acorns. The acorns from the red oak tree are almost IMPOSSIBLE to extract the bitterness from. I have tried several different methods, none work. Using the white oak acorns are much better! The Indians that only had the red oak acorns available would tie them up in skins and place them in running water for weeks! That was the only way to extract SOME of the bitterness. Those are devilish little things! You are great, and I appreciate all that you do for your readers.

  • John R. Harbison

    There is still a lot of people that I have seen in Old Mexico living off the land. Most anything game or livestock eat Grass,Brush ect. people can eat. All citrus leaves make a great tea with or with out sugar.

  • FreedomFighter

    I am currently training myself thru several of these foraging books based on edible plants and medicinals herbs of North America. Some things are easy to pick up, but be aware that you will not learn this overnight.

    Many of your hours will be spent praticing and finding, location recognition and just being sure you have what you think, its easy to mistake something nasty for something edible.

    Practice, practice, practice, know your area, walk it, inspect it. Also buy non-gmo seeds and sprinkle them all around where you search to increase yield. Believe me NOBODY knows what they are looking at but you with the book and pictures, descriptives.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

  • JimH

    I was once told that there are no good tasting poisonous berries. If they taste good they should be safe to eat.
    But we will never hear from the guy that said “mmm these are goo……”.

  • Average Joe

    Eating wild food is a great idea….until the bureaucrats get into the mix… they do with everything else in life…..

    • FreedomFighter

      Obviously gov want you to be dependant on GMO food that is unsafe, to eat good organic food will keep you healthy, then the BigPharma guys dont make the billions pushing poisons.

      Laus Deo
      Semper Fi

      • FreedomFighter

        Ginger Tea Recipe:

        1oz cleaned, de-skinned, sliced lengthwise GINGER root per cup
        Lemon or Lime to taste
        Honey to taste
        Cinnomin stick if wanted

        Boil Ginger in clean filtered water approx 10-20 minutes
        add flavor(s) lemon lime etc to taste
        add honey
        Use mesh filter and pour into mugs

        Excellent tea – enjoy

        Laus Deo
        Semper Fi

        • Christin

          Thanks Freedom…. copied that tea recipe down.

          Do you grow ginger?

        • Average Joe

          I,ve never tried Ginger Tea before, but as a kid, I was always fond of Ginger Ale. Now that I have a recipe, I’ll have to give it a try, Thnx!
          I am fortunate in that I live in a small rural area north of Tampa, Florida. Around here, we still have plenty of good old fashion organic dirt farmers to buy our produce,Raw milk (shhh!It’s for my pets…I swear….lol),poultry,eggs and meats from…as well as having my own small garden and working on building a 12 X 22 greenhouse. I have been avoiding GMO’s for at least the last ten years… and boycott all Monsanto products….Death to Monsanto!

  • Christin

    Bob Livingston,

    Great article… thanks for sharing. Would be good to have a book on our area… though we do have many of those plants mentioned. I’m sure your book is has a wealth of information… there is so much need to learn and want to do. Put in a water well, water filtration system, solar panels, larger garden, root cellar, but it costs so much money to get where we’d like to be to feel like we did all we could to prepare and plan. Thanks to you and some of your writers we have learned much and done some preparations.

    Very surprised at the listing of ‘Nettle’… that’s a real bad weed we try to avoid getting on us… ouch!

  • independent thinker

    I shouldn’t say this I should let folks find out for themselves but make sure your persimmons are ripe.

    • Christin

      Independant thinker,

      YES, You should tell, times slipping away from us… we all need the help we can get from each other… now!

      Even Bob L tells us to COOK asparagus before eating, less one gets diarrhea or nausea.

      Thanks for the warning to eat only RIPE persimmons.

      • David Millican

        Didn’t know that about asparagus. Thanks for the heads up.
        As for persimmons; you will know when they are ripe, they are soft to the touch. If you were to bite into one not yet ripe, if would be like putting pure allum in your mouth. Extremely bitter.


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