Hot answers tagged

86

Just because there are grasses (Poaceae) with edible and nutritious parts does not mean that this applies to all grasses. That is pretty common-place. A quick Google search give you all the info you need: Many grasses are edible, in the sense that you can eat it; you simply won't get any energy/nutrients out of it. They consist mostly of cellulose, and ...


30

Here in Slovenia, the use of wild garlic is quite widespread. Although the whole plant, including bulbs, is edible, leaves are most commonly used. I tried only leaves so far, so I can share my experience with only them. Gathering Young, light-green leaves are a bit more aromatic, but smaller; older are darker and larger. I pick a mix of both and look for ...


27

The best advice is not to unless you are very, very sure. Having said that, and just for fun, assuming you are in a chronic survival situation with no choice, this article describes how to test if a plant is edible.


25

Eating grass isn't smart because our bodies lack the enzymes to digest it, and because you never know if some animal came along and crapped on it. Don't eat grass.


24

Eating berries and mushrooms is not recommended since there is no general pattern to identify poisonous ones (unless you're an expert on that topic). Even having a book with pictures of edible berries can be tricky as some poisonous ones are disguised as their edible counterparts. Plants, on the other hand, should not be edible if the sap is milky. Milky ...


23

These are not exactly the seeds, but the hull of the seeds of the horse chestnut. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aesculus_hippocastanum_fruit.jpg


19

Nettles should be blanched to destroy the formic acid before eating (Handle with gloves of course). Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil & prepare a bowl of ice water on the side. Once the water is boiling, plunge the nettles in the water for no more than a minute or so (the nettles should be bright green & not over cooked). Quickly drain ...


17

All pines, spruces and firs have edible needles. All yews are poisonous, and can look like some of the above, so be careful you have identified the tree correctly!


17

No. For one, you may not be capable of gathering any worthwhile nutrition. You could eat grass all day and still be hungry. Secondly, many animals are immune to toxins that are nasty to us. Best example I know of is that goats and many other new world animals can eat poison ivy. But if you try eating it, you're in trouble.


17

I have only had them as a tea with raspberry leaves. Refreshing enough, but nothing I'd actively forage to accomplish. However since the USDA report (direct PDF download) says that stinging nettles are 2.7% protein, and high in a number of vitamins and minerals, I think I'll try using them in a few dishes. Initial collection and preparation for cooking ...


16

To add to the existing answers, depending on where the grass is growing, there can be all sorts of synthetic fertilizers thrown onto it which would be very harmful to humans. You do not want to eat Scott's Lawn Fertilizer.


16

Apart from the low nutrients issue, grass stems are covered in tiny silica spikes, which act as an abrasive on your insides. These spikes are thought to have evolved as a defense against being eaten (Silica in grasses as a defence against insect herbivores:) -- which clearly didn't work in the long run. But anyway, if you don't have a tough lining like a ...


15

This is not a survival technique. The way to determine how many calories is in a particular food item is to measure the amount of heat energy emitted when an item is burned. Anything burned to ash is basically calorie free as far as food value goes. Ash is composed of whatever was unable to vaporize into smoke in a fire. The hotter the fire, the more ...


14

I'll give this a stab, but there aren't any authoritative sources that I've managed to find on the subject! The most I could really find are examples such as this one where people have drank it and felt no ill effects, and I haven't found a documented case of anyone drinking it and it being harmful to them. From a biological point of view the vine will at ...


14

Have you tried Dock Leaves? They're well known as a way of soothing Nettle stings and might help.


14

Poisonous plants are typically more dangerous when you burn them, at least that's true with plants that have oily toxins (poison ivy/oak). Toxins in plants aren't necessarily vaporized when burned. Smoke is a particulate, not a vapour. If you are burning something toxic, the toxins can potentially be carried by particles of smoke and be inhaled which is far ...


14

I doubt there are specific plants, but in general, yes, plants can be indicators of direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, snow will stay longer on the north facing slopes and pile up on the downwind sides of hills. This leads to more vegetation in general on the north slopes as there is water for longer leading to more plant growth. Here is a ...


13

Get a good book, with full color illustrations. I can't find a link for one, but you want quality equivalent to the Audubon full color field guides. Do a few field runs in the area you plan on being in with someone experienced before you try to eat the foliage. Of course, everything depends on risk. If you've been lost for four or five days and you'...


13

Pine needle tea is a good solution which is available year round in areas where pines grow. Do be careful to identify properly, and take care to not guzzle the stuff down... too much is bad for you. However this is the easiest to find and pine needle tea has a ton of vitamin C. Dandelion greens are plentiful in many areas and good for vitamin C, though I ...


13

That is a sweet gum tree. The distinctive compound fruit is hard, dry, and globose,1–1.5 inches (25–38 mm) in diameter, composed of numerous (40-60) capsules.[13] Each capsule, containing one to two small seeds, has a pair of terminal spikes (for a total of 80-120 spikes). When the fruit opens and the seeds are released, each capsule is associated with a ...


13

For a book-length answer, see Tristan Gooley, The Natural Navigator. The gist seems to be that plants are influenced by many factors: altitude, prevailing wind, soil type, shade etc. so any rule will at best apply under certain conditions, and even then have exceptions. One of Gooley's examples is that the leaves of broadleaved trees tend to be larger and ...


12

It looks like eating raw acorns won't kill you but its not likely to be pleasant and can harm you. That said, even “sweet” acorns should be leached to remove what tannins exist in them because several studies show that unleached acorns can make you constipated and can harm your teeth. Source If you've ever tried a raw acorn, and quickly spat it out, ...


11

All types of berries are your answer here! Pretty much any (edible) variety contains a large amount of vitamin C - blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries for instance. (Blackberries and raspberries seem to be especially prevalent at the right time of the year here in the UK.) And they're tasty too. Of course, it goes without saying if you're ...


11

First of all don't scratch. blood sucking insects inject anti-coagulant under your skin to prevent your blood from clotting and forming a scab so they don't get their mouthes stuck inside you while sucking. If you scratch, you only manage to spread the anti-coagulant around under your skin, which intensifies the itch and makes things worse. Train your brain ...


11

If you're identifying a totally unfamiliar plant in the field, then typically you consult a field guide or botany textbook that has a key. These books can be broad or specific. For instance, I have one that's a pocket guide to conifers, and another that's a guide to Sierra wildflowers. They can also be designed for a technical audience or for laypeople. ...


10

I have researched this occasionally over the years. Ivy Block, Tecnu, and Ivarest all have preventative lotions. The oil may still spread, but it is a good first step. As an alternative, the forest service has recommended spray deodorant as well. The active ingredient, aluminum chlorohydrate, may prevent absorption by blocking pores, just as it does to ...


10

The leaves of the Striped Maple ("Moose Maple") are a no-contest winner, at least in the forests of the northeastern US. The leaves are large, and softer than some forms of toilet paper. As for availability: Anecdotally, I tend to see this plant in most deciduous forests of New Hampshire. It tends to grow bush-like near the ground, at least while it's ...


10

The previous answers (1,2(now deleted)), unfortunately, exhibit why a simple google search doesn't always work. Two seemingly experienced SE users coming to two different conclusions. So is this an elderberry or is it pokeweed? This is where the extra work on the back end (and, honestly, front end) pays off. An initial google image search shouldn't be a ...


10

A look through the veterinary literature can show you some further reasons not to just go out and eat grass. Specifically, parasites like liver fluke, different species of tapeworm, and some nematodes can infect humans as well as sheep (or cows, or mufflons, or whatever lives on the pastures where you find your grass). So, in a real outdoors situation, ...


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