Category Archives: edible plants

Cottonwood Trees are Useful for Preppers

cottonwood trees

The fibrous inner bark that is a good fire starter

I have some cottonwood trees growing on my property, including one that is almost dead.  This got me to wondering whether or not they had any good uses for preparedness.  I have always considered them kind of worthless trees, but after a bit of research I have changed my mind.

While they are not good firewood, they burn poorly because they are so fibrous.  But for many woodsmen, the cottonwood tree is a revered tree.

It is a good indicator of water.  Their roots seek out water and you will normally be able to find water near where they grow.  …

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Juniper Berries Another Useful Edible Plant

juniper berries

J communis common Juniper

It never ceases to amaze me as I continue to learn about the different plants that we have around us all the time and that are useful.  Today I am talking about the common Juniper plant. The ones you see in so many yards. I am sure you have all seen the juniper berries that grow on them.  But did you know that they are a common spice used in Northern European and Scandinavian food as a seasoning.

Juniper berries are used in meat dishes, especially wild birds and game meats including wild boar and venison. They are also used to season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes.…

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Tree Teas are a Good Source of Vitamin C

tree teas

Spruce trees

The other day I wrote a blog on Pine Trees, How to Eat One.  In the article, I discussed making tea from pine needles.  This is a tea that is heavy with vitamin C and good for you.  One thing that was pointed out was that certain types of pine tree (Ponderosa, Norfolk Island and Yew) have some toxic properties and you should not make tea from them.  As a result of this article I received emails asking about other types of trees and if you could make tree teas from their needles or leaves.

So here is the scoop on tree teas

There are quite a few trees that make good healthy tree teas. …

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Pine Trees, How to Eat One

pine trees

A white pine

A few years back I talked with a Korean who told me that during the Korean War they ate pine bark when food was in short supply.  It kept them alive, when times were tough.  Now eating pine trees has not been high on my list of things to do, but I have eaten pine nuts and drank pine needle tea in the past.

Lets look at what is edible on pine trees

First pine nuts, just about everybody has eaten these and knows how good they taste.  Here is a link to a previous article I wrote on How to collect Pine Nuts. …

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Cow Parsnip a Useful Edible Plant

cow parsnipHeracleum maximum commonly known as cow parsnip (also known as Indian celery, Indian rhubarb or pushki) is a plant that is Native to North America.  Cow parsnip is distributed throughout most of the continental United States except the Gulf coast.  It occurs from sea level to about 9000 ft, and is especially prevalent in Alaska.

I have debated with myself about whether or not to write about this plant.  There are two problems with this plant.  One it closely resembles Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock and Bulbiferous Hemlock and Giant Hogweed.  All parts of these plants are extremely poisonous.  Second,  Cow parsnip juices contain a phototoxin that acts on contact with skin and is triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light.…

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Cooking with Prickly Pears

prickly pears

Both the fruit and the pads are edible

In my younger years, my grandmother canned cactus pads and made jelly from the fruit of the cactus.  The pads are flat and look like a large leave.  Indian Fig is the most commonly used prickly pear species for culinary use. There are many species of prickly pears, but all can be used for food. Making jelly from the ripe fruit was time consuming but it was really good.

When she canned the cactus it was not so easy to prepare. You have to remove the nodes that hold the needles.  She would pick them in the morning and then she started to clean the pads (they look like a beaver tail, flat and wide).  …

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Growing and Preserving Figs

figsWe have a large fig tree in our back yard.  For the amount of space and the limited care it takes, it produces way more fruit than any other fruit tree of which I am aware.  It will produce two crops every year. The first crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth.  The main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality to first crop.

Fig trees can be raised in many different parts of the world, depending on which variety you grow. …

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It is Free Food Time!

free food

Wild red plums

Every year starting about now I gather free food.  Just today, I was out gathering wild plums.  On one of the trails that I regularly hike, there are several wild plum trees.  There are both yellow and red plums and they are delicious.  They are a bit smaller than the plums you are used to and not quite as sweet.  The yellow ones are sweeter than the reds.

Right next to the plums trees are wild grapes, they will be ready to pick later in the year.  There are also many blackberries in the same area.  I have never seen anyone other than myself pick them and lots of people walk by them. …

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40 Most Common Edible Wild Plants in North America

edible wild plants

Cattails have a wide variety of uses.

Edible wild plants are an often-overlooked food source.  Many of the edible wild plants on this list probably grow near you, regardless of whether you live in the city or country.

Find a book that covers the edible wild plants in your area.  Often one by a local author is your best bet.  Check with your small local bookshops or your local college.  Then first learn to recognize the poisonous ones.  They are by far in the minority.  Once you have learned these, it makes learning the edible wild plants easier.

edible wild plants

Mallow an easy to find good tasting plant

  • Acorns  (Quercus) Techically a nut and high in calories.
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Acorn Grubs are Good To Eat


Here you can see a Grub on an acorn

A while back I wrote three post on cooking with acorns.  Cooking with Acorns is easy,  Uses of Acorns and Acorns.  These articles show you how to cook with acorns and some of their other uses. Besides being edible, the tannic acid you wash out of the acorns is useful.

Tannic water is antiviral and antiseptic.  It can be used as a wash for skin rashes, skin irritations, burns, cuts, abrasions and poison ivy or poison oak.  If you have a sore throat you can even gargle with tannic water or use it as a mild tea for diarrhea and dysentery.  …

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