Even with a large stockpile of food and plenty of hunting skill, knowing how to forage for wild edibles is a priceless skill. You never know when you may find yourself having to collect sustenance from nothing more than the wilderness, and knowing what to look for as you forage the land is crucial.
Thankfully, there are several extremely common wild plants that are edible, easy to find, and not half bad in the taste department either. If you know how to cook them, they’re actually quite good.
Here are five of the most common plants you’ll find on your foraging journeys and how they can be prepared.
Ferns are one of the oldest plants on the face of the earth. They actually don’t reproduce the same way most plants do, because they don’t require pollination. They don’t have any seeds or flowers either.
As a part of their unique, prehistoric reproductive process, ferns start out as simple sprouts called “fiddleheads” that eventually grow into fronds that distribute spores which start the process all over again.
The fiddleheads have their name because of their spiral shape that resembles the headstock of a violin.
During this stage of the plant’s life, it’s tender, nutritious, and good to eat.
All you have to do is gather a bunch of the fiddleheads and sauté them in a little butter or oil and some salt. They can also be mixed into a warm cooked salad!
Creative Commons image via Flickr
No matter where you may find yourself foraging, chances are you’ll run into a lot of clover. There are dozens of varieties of this common plant, and it’s a great supplement to any diet.
Granted, you’ll need to spend some time gathering enough clover to make a meal of it by itself. However, it makes a great addition to cool salads, and it’s a wonderful garnish.
You’ve probably pulled this plant out of your yard dozens of times thinking it to be nothing more than a noxious weed, but it’s in fact a valuable food source if you’re scouring the wilderness for sustenance. What’s great about it is that it grows almost everywhere.
You can treat its leaves the same way you would any other leafy green. It can be cooked by itself with a little fat and seasoning, stewed into a broth, or tossed in a salad.
What are your foraging favorites?
These three plants are just a few of the common plants you can gather and cook from the wilderness. Do you have any favorites we didn’t mention here? Tell us about them in the comments.