So a disaster just took over the world or there has been a zombie apocalypse. Either way, you’ve been living off power bars and beef jerky. But your stash has run out…now what? You could hunt for food, but that could take a while. And, who knows if the rabbit you plan on eating for dinner is infected with zombie germs, right? So what do you eat while you’re waiting for a better source of food? Plants. Here is a guide to which plants are completely edible and which plants to avoid. Learning the difference is something that will be essential to your survival!
First, let’s talk about which plants to avoid. If you can’t identify a plant and aren’t sure about its hazardous properties, it’s safe to watch out for these features:
- Milky or discolored sap
- Three-leaved growth pattern
- Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs
- Thorny or spiny
- Seeds inside the pods
- Almond scent in the woody parts of the plant
- Dill, carrot, or parsnip-like foliage
If an unidentified plant has these characteristics it’s better to be safe than sorry and just avoid them. But do keep in mind that there are some edible plants that have these features.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s a list of plants that you can eat and will keep you going in a crisis:
- Dandelions. You can eat these raw or cook the bitterness out of them. Dandelions are packed with Vitamin A and C and also beta carotene.
- Pine. This plant can be found just about everywhere and is great for nutrition and also medical purposes, for those wounds you may have from battling zombies. You can boil pine needles in water to make tea, and it’s a great source of vitamin C.
- Clovers. These you can find almost anywhere. They can be found in patches of grass and are great boiled, but they can also be eaten raw.
- Gooseberries. These have grey branches and long red thorns. Their leaves are bright green, have five points, and look similar to a maple leaf. The berries are ripe in May and June, and not to mention are pretty tasty!
- Kudzu. The whole plant is edible and has great medicinal value to it. It’s an anti-inflammatory and treats headaches and migraines. You can eat the leaves and the root. Boil it or eat it raw; both are great!
- Cattail. This is a great source for food. The root can be used to make flour, and inside their flowers can be roasted. The inside of them can be cooked down to become tender and used in stir-frys or just for eating by themselves! They also make for great fire starters, which is essential to surviving in the wild.
- Chickweed. This plant is hardy, full of minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. And, it’s found in abundance almost everywhere, so its perfect for crisis situations!
- Fireweed. You can eat the leaves and the stalk, but keep in mind that young fireweeds are less bitter and tough. The flower and seeds have a peppery taste, so maybe use it to spice up your dinner! Fireweed is also a great source of vitamin C and A.
- Prickly Pear Cactus. Before eating this one, remove the spines on the outside, otherwise it won’t feel very good going down your throat. This plant produces red fruit that you can eat and you can also eat the stem. It’s best boiled.
- Kelp. This is found in the sea and occasionally washes up on shore. So if you’re near a beach you’re lucky! It os a great source of folate vitamin K and lignans. Eat it raw or put it in a soup.