Category Archives: edible plants

Pine Trees, How to Eat One

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

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!

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 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.

  • Acorns  (Quercus) Techically a nut and high in calories.
  • Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)
  • American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)
  • Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
  • Blackberries  (Rubus spp.
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Acorn Grubs are Good To Eat

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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Mesquite Beans and How to Harvest and Use Them

Mesquite trees are found in northern Mexico throughout the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, and as far north as southern Kansas, west to the Colorado Desert in California, and east to parts of Texas

These deciduous trees can reach a height of 20 to 30 ft although in most of their range they are shrub size. They have narrow leaves 2.0 to 3.0 inches long. Twigs have a characteristic zigzag form.

The bean pods of the mesquite can be dried and ground into Mesquite flour, adding a sweet, nutty taste to breads, or used to make jelly.

The Native Americans made a type of flat bread from mesquite flour.  …

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The Groundnut or Indian Potato a Good Edible Plant

groundnutsGroundnut, Apios americana, sometimes called the potato bean, Indian potato, potato pea, pig potato, bog-potato, wild bean, wild sweet potato, America-hodoimo, hopniss is a perennial vine that bears edible beans and large edible tubers.  Its vine can grow to 3-20 long, with leaves 4 to 9 inches long with 1-3 leaflets.  The flowers are usually pink, purple, or red-brown.  The fruit is a legume (pod) 2 to 3 inches long.

It is a vigorous vine that can wrap itself around shrubs, small trees, and larger vines. It also grows across low vegetation and open ground. The vines can grow from ten to twenty feet each season, dying back in the fall….hopniss…

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A List of Common Poisonous Plants

The other day I wrote an article Edible Wild Plants can Supplement your Food Storage  In that article, I mentioned that sometimes it is easier to learn about the poisonous plants first, so I thought that today I would publish some information on poisonous plants.

The following is a partial list of the more common poisonous plants found in North America.  Unfortunately, I do not have the information readily at my fingertips to publish information on other parts of the world.

Here is a list of 30 of the more common poisonous plants

  • American mistletoe, phoradendron  flavescens
  • Baneberry, actaea rubra
  • Belladonna or deadly nightshade, devils cherries,  atropa belladonna
  • Black henbane, hyoscyamus, hog bean, hyoscyamus niger
  • Black locust, yellow locust, black acacia, Robina pseudoacacia
  • Bleeding heart, Dutchman’s breeches, dicentra Formosa
  • Blacken Fern, pterdium aquilinum
  • Caster bean, Ricinus communis
  • Death camas, zigadenus paniculatus
  • Destroying angel, Amanita verna, a very deadly mushroom
  • False hellebore, skunk cabbage, veratrum californicum
  • Fly amanita, amanita muscaria, a deadly mushroom
  • Foxglove, fairy caps, fairy thimbles, digitalis purpurea, this is also a medicinal plant if use correctly.
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