Getting Started with Wild Edibles and Medicinals
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The first "wild edible" I remember eating as a boy, was "sour clover," or Oxalis. The tart leaves were refreshing to chew while sitting around with friends! Little did I know then that there are hundreds of wild greens, roots, berries, fruits, and nuts, growing throughout fields, forests, marshes, and swamps eveywhere! Many of these edibles are more nutritious than fruits and vegetables in the grocery store, and some possess remarkable medicinal properties!
Caution! There are a number of poisonous plants and mushrooms that can make you sick, and some so toxic they can kill! Always consult at least two reliable field guides to properly identify and positively confirm the safety of any plant or mushroom before eating it. Be especially wary of information taken solely from the Internet. Please heed all of the warnings on this website!
Wild medicinal plants can be very potent. Do not assume that if a little is good, more is better. Always use them only as directed by reliable sources. Better still, consult a certified herbalist or naturopath for guidance.
Bull Thistle, right, is hard to miss, especially if you brush against one bare-legged! Boiled for 8 to 10 minutes, the sharp thistles soften and the tender young leaves become quite palatable.
Lambsquarter, Chenopodium album, above, is a cousin to spinach, and can be found growing in sandy soil just about anywhere. Packed with vitamin A, it is a tasty green when boiled for 5 minutes and served with vinegar.
Chives, shown left, are easy to identify by their beautiful blossom and garlicy, onion smell. They often creep into lawns throughout the eastern states.
Oxeye Daisy, above left, growing here with red clover, beautifies fields and roadsides throughout America, June through September. The older leaves are bitter and inedible, but the young sprouts and leaves have a delightfully unique, hard to describe flavor that raw, adds zest to salads, and boiled make a savory green.
Hop Clover, below is another plant that often grows as a lawn "weed." Like all clovers, it is protein packed, and edible after it has been boiled for twenty minutes. Raw, it is indigestible.