In a bug out situation it’s always handy to know what types of plants you can and can’t eat. Foraging for extra food is a great way to extend the capacity of the food you are bringing with you. But you need to be careful and avoid potential self-poisoning. So, lets put the disclaimer on this up-front. This article on edible plants is for information purposes only and should not be solely relied on in a survival situation. You need to educate yourself on which plants, berries or seeds are edible before consuming anything in the wild.
Now that we have that over with, lets look at some prospective plants that you can look into in more depth. We have deliberately picked species that are reasonably common in most regions.
- Dandelions. A widely known edible weed with a good level of nutrient value (vitamin A & C). All parts of the plant can be consumed. Preparation is as simple as boiling in water, or even eaten raw.
- Arrowroot. Another easy to grow plant. As a young plant it’s quite edible although its nutritional value is fairly limited. The roots can either be dried and ground up, or boiled until soft.
- The Prickly Pear. Found in many regions around the world, the Pear is deliberately cultivated by some cultures. The fruit can provide you with liquids, while the leaves should be scraped and peeled before boiling. Not the greatest taste, but heck we are talking about survival here!
- Pine Nuts. One of my favourites. Young pine cones that have not opened yet can be roasted in hot coals to release their nuts. The inner bark of the tree and the needles can be soaked in hot water to produce a nutritious tea. In a survival situation, pine nuts make a good substitute for meat in your diet, due to their protein and fat content.
- Miner’s Lettuce. Also known as Indian Lettuce. Typically found near rivers and creeks. It got its name due to its popularity among miners during the 1800s Gold Rush era. Just wash and consume like any green salad.
- Pinon Nuts. Similar to Pine nuts but not as widely available. Usually they are only found in the West and Southwest of the US. They too are also an excellent source of calories and protein.
- Cattails. The whole of these plants are edible, although the best parts are the roots and stalks closer to the ground. Interestingly, the pollen in the flower part can be used as a form of flavouring in soups.
There are, of course, many other species of plants, nuts and berries that are also a potential food source in the wild. But a word of caution here; Many species are also highly toxic to humans, so you need to know what you are doing.
For example, I know nothing about wild mushrooms, although I am aware that most are toxic. So my solution is to simply avoid eating any of them. Being hungry is way better than being hungry and sick!
If you found this topic interesting, then please do some follow-up research and learn as much as you can now. You never know, it may make a big difference one day.