Wild Edibles Identification Guide

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:34 pm

Tireur wrote:Here's a quick vid on fiddlehead ID, as well as sustainability.

http://extension.umaine.edu/videos/fidd ... /index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As for toxicity...they're not mushrooms, you're not going to die from eating the wrong fern. But they do have a toxic agent in them that has yet to be identified or understood, it won't kill you but will make you feel ill. There are plenty of foods out there that need various agents neutralized before they can be consumed, i.e. rhubarb & cashews can kill you if eaten raw.
I've had raw rhubarb, and never suffered any ill effects from it. But, raw rhubarb is VERY tough to develop a taste for, and my 'servings' of it were small. I'd never heard that it could be dangerous, raw- and we used to LOVE the rhubarb my grandmother grew, so I've eaten plenty of it. The warning DOES explain the taste of it raw tho.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Tireur » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:33 pm

In truth I don't think it's THAT toxic and enough of anything will kill you eventually, but there's an acid in raw rhubarb that you don't want to eat in substantial amounts. It is great sliced thin and pickled, goes with fish like a rhubarb gari.

Has anybody here come up with a decent recipe for bullrush or water lily bulbs? I've tried a couple different ways of boiling them but the results were definitely in the "only in a survival situation" category. Even the dog wouldn't touch them.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by NYKh » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:04 pm

darkaxel wrote:Ok, let's talk Plantain (Plantago Major)

1. You most likely have Plantain growing in your yard. It grows in a wide range of areas, including disturbed/cultivated soil, plains, foothills, and mountainous regions. It's a common leafy green that is a regional favorite here in KY.

2. The seeds can be dried and ground into flour or meal. This is a very good source of dietary fiber (A common ingredient in fiber supplements)

3. The young leaves can be eaten raw.

A few examples:

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The leaves are best when chopped very fine or cooked after the fibrous parts have been removed.

Always wash the leaves before eating or cooking.

When cooking older leaves, boil the leaves, then drain, repeat twice more. Best prepared with bacon grease (mmmm, bacon). Bacon grease is also awesome on the raw, young leaves.
I didn’t see this noted,
Plantain has two other very good uses.
1. Crush the leaves and rub the juice on mosquito bites, etc. The juice will help relieve the itching.
2. Again crush the leaves but pack them in a wound. It will help draw out infections and promote healing.
I have used both of the above with very good success.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:43 pm

Apples.

These are probably the most easy to identify wild edible going. Apples are not native to many areas in which they grow but can be naturalized or left over from abandoned orchards. Apples trees are often shorter (under 40 feet) and like other deciduas trees will drop their leaves for winter. The fruit ripens in Fall but can also be good during summer. The trees can have an erratic shape. Here is an example of the bark.

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Like many wild growing edibles the apples you find in the woods may differ from those in the market. Often they will be smaller with blemishes and other imperfections. They taste much like any other apples and this adds to their easy to ID nature.

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Often green edibles (not ripe) are easy to define.

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But this isn’t always the case with apples due to the great numbers of varieties which have been cultivated. Ripe apples can range in color from green, yellow, red or a mix. Generally it’s easy to identify ripe ones on the fly and if unsure just take a bite, it won’t kill you. Apples can be eaten raw or cooked.

Apple issues and opportunities.

If you find one apple tree often there are more but this isn’t always the case. Apple trees are susceptible to diseases like Cedar Rust. Basically an apple tree gets a nasty fungus from a juniper such as an Eastern Red Cedar.

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Bad news for the tree however just because one is sick doesn’t mean all trees within the AO will be. Apples will last a long time off the tree so fallen ones are good but could be partially rotten. Eating around the bad areas is just fine.

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Sometimes rotting fruit will attract insects like wasps but these are focused on eating not stinging. Still if allergic keep this in mind. Though apples are easy to identify the same rules apply. If unsure of any wild edible don’t eat it.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by TAB » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:26 pm

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One of the ways I like to see things, and a way to keep safe is to look at what's in front of me and first notice any poisonous plants. Then I look for the edibles that I can positively identify, then I look at the plants I don't know about.

In the above photo (taken last week), the only poisonous species I can see is the Poison Hemlock (red circle). Literally, everything else is an edible, medicinal, and/or utility species. From bottom right to left, we have Blackberry, Curly Dock, Wild Mustard, Wild Radish, Grass; and the trees in the background are Alders and Willows.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by gillis » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:01 pm

I found some Wild Blackberries exploring up in the Rocky Mountains.

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Below is a crabapple (Malus) tree that grows right next to my house. It is considered very sour.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Veritas » Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:38 pm

NYKh wrote: I didn’t see this noted,
Plantain has two other very good uses.
1. Crush the leaves and rub the juice on mosquito bites, etc. The juice will help relieve the itching.
2. Again crush the leaves but pack them in a wound. It will help draw out infections and promote healing.
I have used both of the above with very good success.
I don't know about #1, but do not do #2. Not trying to be an ass, but you should never pack a wound with anything that isn't clean, and especially not with something that can be left behind inside the wound. Perhaps you meant apply like an ointment to a cut or scrape, like you would aloe vera? I don't know about plantains use as an antiseptic, but honestly it's usually better to just leave things open and dry.

I could go into the theory of wound packing, but this is not the proper forum for that.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:13 pm

Wild Grapes.

Wild grapes within my AO ripen around late summer/early fall. These are easy to identify as most are familiar with those found in the market. Wild growing grapes that I have encountered basically all look the same. Granted they can differ a bit in size and coloration however they're all round and look like, you guessed it a grape. Non ripe grapes are green. Wild grapes have seeds, sorry they expect a payback for their effort. :)

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They grow off vines in bunches with the darker ones being ripe. Given the prolific nature of the vines it’s often easy to pick a good number with a small expenditure of energy.

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Grapes like sunlight so can be found growing over brush within or at the margins of fields and the forest canopy. Grapes will do whatever it takes to soak up more than their share of sunlight. The vines have a shaggy appearance and can grow very long and thick. Unlike other parasitic vines such as strangle vines grapes rarely do excessive harm to most trees etc. They only use their superstructure for access to the sun. It’s not uncommon to find thick vines nearly as old as the tree their using.

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The leaves are also edible. To be honest I have never eaten any wild leaves but have read these must be boiled and new growths are preferable. One of these days I will give them a go.

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Grape issues and opportunities.

It seems some grapes are less sour than others. I never could work out why one vine might have sweet grapes and the other less so within the same area at the same level of ripeness. Maybe I am misjudging something? In any case if the grapes are sour often the skin and juices around the core are much better. So at times I will just consume that part.

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When overripe grapes will fall off the vine in mass and attract insects. Most are focused on food and show little interest in people. But if allergic to bee/wasp/whatever stings maybe it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the placements of hands etc. I guess if yea accidentally grasped the wrong bug it could sting. Granted people know this but when distracted anything is possible.

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Sometimes grapes will drop in areas that you wouldn’t expect to find them. This occurs simply because they're growing out of sight. I have found small bunches of grapes in the late season on the ground and didn’t know the exact location of the parent vine at first.

Once again if unsure of any wild edible don’t eat it. Better safe than sorry.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by riverjoe47 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:10 pm

Well the Paw Paw are finally ripe . I have discovered some new groves downriver . Good thing since my grove produced hardly any this year at the BIL.
Discovered another grove on my BOL which was ripe about a month ago which is weird since its 75 miles north .
As usual extremely hard to spot , but a gentle shake of the tree will shower you with ripe fruit . Found the grove in Michigan with my sense of smell . Over ripe fruit has an almost wine like smell or fermented smell .
I have never seen a tree more then about 4 inches in diameter .
The trees look almost tropical ,almost like those umbrella tree house plants . They definitely like the river but theyll grow on higher banks too .
If you eat them in the green state they are more bannanalike and as they get riper more like mango .
The nice large ones in this photo are all from one tree . Image

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Blackdog » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:56 am

Over at the GHB contest http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... 9&start=24 I was munching on some cattail. A couple of people now have asked me about this wonder plant so here goes. For what it's worth in the pic all I did was peel the stalk down to the white center and ate it, that simple to begin with.

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I have been eating, burning and (when I was a young buck) making arrows from the cattail since I was about 12 and the number of uses for this plant are so many that I will include a number of links by people who can tell you about the cattail better than I ever could. If you have cattails in your AO and you are not exploiting them, you are wrong.

You can pretty much eat every part of the cattail at some time of the year.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/duffyk43.html

http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants ... tails.html

http://naturallore.wordpress.com/2008/0 ... len-bread/

http://www.prodigalgardens.info/cattail%20recipes.htm

http://cattails.info/Cattail_Recipe.html

You can burn cattail as a insect smudge.

http://survivaltek.com/?p=1863

Medicinal uses (do your research please) this is just a starter to get you thinking.

http://earthnotes.tripod.com/cattail.htm

And of couse you can use the dried fluff as a tinder.

Once again the cattail is a great plant with maybe more than a 101 uses, now go get some.
Last edited by Blackdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Fletch » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:40 am

Apropos to the previous posts about Rhubarb, I would like to point out that the stalks are fine to eat raw in small to medium quantities, however in large quantities they should be processed first, and the leaves should not be eaten at all. The plant conaints oxalic acid, which can cause poisoning.
My mother told me this as a teen, when I was using the end of the garden to grow vegetables and she asked me to grow some for rhubarb crumbles.

I have since researched the toxicity of rhubarb after reading this thread, apparantly you would have to consume around 11lbs of rhubarb leaves to consume a fatal dose of oxalic acid, however even in smaller doses it can and probably will cause sickness.

from : http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/poison" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Symptoms of Oxalic Acid Poisoning

On the body body as a whole one might experience weakness, burning in the mouth, death from cardiovascular collapse; on the respiratory system - difficulty breathing; on the eyes, ears, nose, and throat - burning in the throat; on the gastrointestinal system - abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; and on the nervous system - Convulsions, coma.


So yeah, don't eat the leaves people!
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by cooknathan » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:59 am

I know its been mentioned before but I just want to emphasize the need to be careful when eating fiddleheads.

This guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wbLI3o8TzY&NR=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; rely knows his stuff. He has been living by himself in the unforgiving Australian bush for years (hes a bit of a hippie I know but his knowledge is sound and tested). At around 10 minutes he tells of how fiddle heads from ferns have a build up toxin and therefore although they are usually safe to eat, you cant eat them every day or you will get sick.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by doctor patches » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:24 pm

i'm curious to find out if there are any books that target specifically the northern sierras/northern california/northern nevada....or maybe some people here on ZS willing to take hikes and do some field exercises to learn/teach what is edible/not?

maybe i'll contact the local chapter and see if anyone is interested.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Zombies And SlimJims » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:44 pm

Woods Walker wrote:It seems some grapes are less sour than others. I never could work out why one vine might have sweet grapes and the other less so within the same area at the same level of ripeness. Maybe I am misjudging something?
Hey Woods Walker..

I was just reading up on the thread because I haven't been on in a while. I saw your post on the grapes (I didn't even know there were wild grapes around CT, I definitely need to keep my eyes peeled) and I always wondered the same thing about the sweetness. My Grandfather has a bunch of vines and that always perplexed me. Anyway, I did some quick research (Google, of course) and from what I read on a lot of pages was that grapes don't finish ripening until a few weeks after they turn their darkest purple, and that there are a bunch of factors that effect how fast they ripen (Whether they're growing straight up, or more tangled around things..the amount of water they receive, too much is a bad thing). So I suppose if two vines near each other have ripe looking grapes, vine A could be a week or 2 ahead of vine B as far as being ripe goes! Just thought I'd share that with ya!
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Scud » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:59 am

I was going to comment on the fiddleheads in the first post, but it looks like someone beat me to it! The ones pictured look more like bracken ferns, which contain a lot of carcinogens and other bad stuff. In NH/VT there are like 4 or 5 different types of ferns that all look somewhat similar. The dead giveaway that one is a ostrich fern is, as one member already said the "U" shaped stems, and the papery material coating younger fiddleheads. Boiling ostrich ferns in a change of water is optional, it will help the taste (most people compare the, to a combo of asparagus and broccoli). I can tell you right now, my favorite way to eat them is pickled.

To pickle, first blanch (drop in boiling water for a couple of minutes) the fiddleheads.

Next, mix your pickling concoction (vinegar and pickling salt, spices if you choose, google for recipes) and bring to a boil.

Remove the fiddleheads from the boiling water with a colander transfer them to a jar, pour the boiled pickling juice on top until the jar is full.

After capping the jar, place in a pot of water up to the base of the jar lid, bring this water to a boil.

A favorite wild edible of mine besides fiddleheads is queen annes lace, or wild carrot. It is easily confused with hemlock, which is poisonous. The way to discern the two is that the root of queen annes lace has fibrous growths, whereas that of hemlock is smooth. Queen Annes lace root will also have the distinct smell of carrot. Here is a picture of a mature plant:
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Recently I learned from a blog that the inner bark of the Eastern White Pine is edible, and very nutritious at that. Apparently it was a staple in the diet of the Adirondack people, in fact the name Adirondack means "Bark eaters"! The eastern white pine is huge, they grow hundreds of feet tall and have a maximum girth of eight feet. The needles grow in clusters at the ends of branches and are three to four inches long. The bark of young trees is smooth, green and shimmers. The bark of mature trees is gray and very rough. Here is a picture of the pine needles, the most easily identified part of the tree: Image
As with most north American coniferous trees, it is very rich in asorbic acid (vitamin C), and as european explorers were dying of scurvy in the forests of the new world, they were literally surrounded by a sea of the nutrient they needed to survive.

The inner bark is fibrous and slippery, and is best pan seared or seared on a rock on top of coals.


Another wild edible i just remembered while reading the cattail post: japanese knotweed, or mexican bamboo as it is sometimes called. The young shoots are edible before they become too woody and fibrous to eat, usually around 6 inches and under. Knotweed is a noxious invasive weed that propigates by underground root systems and rhizomes. Basically any part of the plant, if cut off can grow into another plant, so it is easy to spread around. That is a bad thing because it out competes local plants such as cattail and replaces them.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:43 pm

Zombies And SlimJims wrote:
Woods Walker wrote:It seems some grapes are less sour than others. I never could work out why one vine might have sweet grapes and the other less so within the same area at the same level of ripeness. Maybe I am misjudging something?
Hey Woods Walker..

I was just reading up on the thread because I haven't been on in a while. I saw your post on the grapes (I didn't even know there were wild grapes around CT, I definitely need to keep my eyes peeled) and I always wondered the same thing about the sweetness. My Grandfather has a bunch of vines and that always perplexed me. Anyway, I did some quick research (Google, of course) and from what I read on a lot of pages was that grapes don't finish ripening until a few weeks after they turn their darkest purple, and that there are a bunch of factors that effect how fast they ripen (Whether they're growing straight up, or more tangled around things..the amount of water they receive, too much is a bad thing). So I suppose if two vines near each other have ripe looking grapes, vine A could be a week or 2 ahead of vine B as far as being ripe goes! Just thought I'd share that with ya!
Thanks for the info. Yup there are grapes in CT and a bunch of them. I have eaten grapes from the same wild vines right up to the point of being overripe and dropping to the ground and yet still some vines are better than others. This is a mystery to me as one might expect the sweetness between them to eventually equalize out. It has got to be something more but darn if I know.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:09 pm

Scud wrote:Recently I learned from a blog that the inner bark of the Eastern White Pine is edible, and very nutritious at that.
I believe that the inner bark of the Hemlock (evergreen tree) within my AO is also edible. Honestly I have never eaten it as messing around with the inner bark of a tree is deadly to them. This isn't to say I haven't taken my share of game, fish, wild edibles etc from nature but there is a balance. Maybe next time I find a fresh blow down some inner bark will be harvested and the photos of the process posted within this thread. I am going to post some photos for proper identification of the Eastern White Pine. This information is based on field experience and the photos are mine so goes without saying errors are possible.

Eastern White Pine.

A seedling.

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A sapling

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The bark of a sapling can appear greenish to gray depending on age.

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Mature trees showing their domination of the local environment.

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This photo shows mature bark and cones. Eastern White pines will cover the forest floor with needles. Not much grows under them for many reasons none of which are applicable to this thread.

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Some branches from a mature tree that was blown down. If observant people might notice the branch bark shares many of the same characteristics of a sapling's bark. Cones can also be seen in this photo. My foot and hiking pole basket should be sufficient scale to work out the size of a cone. They tend to be around 4-6 inches in length.

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The pine needles grow in bunches and would estimate their size at around 4 inches give or take an inch

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Here is the money shot that will lock in the identification when combined with everything else. The needle bunches are separated into bundles with 5 needles each.

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That should help with the identification of this tree but as stated I never ate the inner bark.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by riverjoe47 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:50 pm

Jerusalem Artichoke
Although widely cultivated it is native to North America and was a staple to many native americans . Lewis and Clark dined on a meal of them in N. Dakota on their epic trek .
This relative of the sunflower has nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes and is misnamed about as badly as is possible . Look for vast field of giant daisy or sunflower looking flowers 6 to 8 feet high especially in sunny river bottoms.
I just harvested these after a couple of frosts but actually they can be dug all winter which makes them great survival food .
I like them raw but also great fried by themselves or some peppers .
Similar to potatos but differant .
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by FlungPup » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:21 pm

Jerusalem Artichoke has a habit of causing cramps and farting with some people, but cooked with winter savoury it seems to nullify the windy condition.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by riverjoe47 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:23 pm

I had read that when fed to hogs it actually improves the scent of the farts however .
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Tireur » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:40 pm

Just another note about White Pine, um yeah don't start eating it's bark off live trees, please. They are a somewhat rare and valuable tree, so kinda leave them alone until the world actually has ended and you need the best quality lumber you can find, plzkthx.

Now pine nuts, those you can snack on all you want. The nuts from native pines will be smaller than the Chinese pine nuts in grocery stores, around the size of a shelled sunflower seed or smaller, and you'll need tweezers or needlenosed pliers to remove them from the cone. Find a closed pine cone, roast over a fire and the "petals" of the pine cone will pop open, harvest pine nuts. White Pine nuts are tastier than Jack or Red pine. They'll look like this.

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Also the soft needles of White Pine along with fresh spruce buds can be boiled into a tea that will hold off scurvy.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide.

Post by Anianna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:47 am

DannySkillZ wrote: Chokecherry
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I have to question the accuracy of this one. It is my understanding that chokecherry have woody stems, but that plant clearly has purple/pink stems which is indicative of pokeberry. Both have similar leaves and flowers, though the berries look quite different. Do you have any images of more of the plant or the berries to get a better idea?
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by spectre21 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:54 pm

thistles are pretty good. my uncle is a big time survivalist (it runs in the family...go figure) so i thought of it a few minutes ago
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it has the same taste as celery. im sure that is probably has little to no nutritional value and just burns calories just like celery. I would not recommend eating this if you are trying to store up some fat for a long possible absence of food. its also pretty good with peanut butter :) This is an example of ones found in north florida. Check with a local expert to see if it is in your area growing
Get on the ground or I will Stab you with BULLETS!

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doctor patches
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by doctor patches » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:49 pm

i just bought a couple wild edibles, wild gathering, and wild medicinal plants books. as i come across some of this stuff i'll try to put together some photos of it, how i prepare it, etc.

wish me luck!
love,
patches,
kthxbai

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