We live in a world where natures provides for us, giving us wood so we can build homes, the sun to give us natural warmth, and lots of common plants that we can eat if we are hungry (or just curious how they taste).
About Eating Plants
Not all plants are safe to eat and it is not advised to eat any plants that haven’t been verified as safe by a guide or expert. Though some plants are edible, that doesn’t mean that all parts of a plant are edible. As an example: rhubarb is a common plant where its stem is edible, but its leaves are toxic to humans. Another small note: just because it is edible doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to taste good!
Plants have five different parts that may be edible:
Some plant parts require preparation before you can eat them. Some plants may require they be cooked first before they can be eaten, and others require you pick the thorns from them first before eating them. Some experts have even been able to determine when in a plant’s lifecycle tastes better or not! However, for the beginning or expert survivalist, here are ten common plants you didn’t know were edible.
Dandelions are considered a weed by most Americans, desperately mowing over them or spraying weed killer every spring and summer, but they are much more useful than they look. Dandelions have a yellow flower and all of the plant is edible. However, experts say that the younger the plant is, the better it will taste.
These small blue flowers can be difficult to find in the suburbs (unlike the previously mentioned dandelions), but they are common through the United States and can grow easily. The blue flowers are the edible part of this plant, and as a bonus fact, they are the state flower of Alaska.
These unique and oddly-shaped flowers are in fact edible. Coneflowers come in both bright yellow and purple varieties and have a large, brown center. Both the flower petals and the leaves are edible, just be careful of bees since the coneflower’s nectar attracts them.
These flowers cannot be missed! They stand about as tall as human (or taller) when fully grown and they are known for unique shape: a large brown center with large, bright yellow petals. Unfortunately, most of this plant is not edible, but their seeds are a common snack. Be sure to eat them raw!
5. May apples
These short plants are common through most wooded areas and have a unique umbrella shape to their leaves which cover the edible part of the plant: their fruit. Like all fruit, it has to ripen first before it can be eaten and the fruit of the may apple is ripe when it turns yellow. If there is a hint of green still on it, it would be better to leave it alone.
6. Milk Thistle
Be careful with this plant since it’s a bit prickly. This plant has a small purple plume at the top which can be visible from the green, pokey exterior. If you have the time to clean this plant off, then you can eat the root, the leaves, and the stem. However, be sure to eat the stem raw.
7. Queen Anne’s Lace
This is another weed on this list, but it is characterized by its large amount of small white blooms at the tip of its stem. The leaves are the roots are edible on this plant and you may want to consider saving the flower because it’s so unique!
These plants are found by swampy areas or marshlands. They have a brown cone and are help us by a long, thick stem. You can eat the entire plant, even the pinecone-like tip! Before eating it, be sure to clean the mud from the root system.
Clover is another common plant that is likely to be found in your yard. These plants have three leaves and grow in clusters. You can eat the entire plant, but it’s recommended by experts that you boil them first. Enough of these can become a salad!
10. Red clover
The red clover does not look like the previously mentioned clover. It has a tall stem with a purplish-red flower at the top of the stem. The flowers and the leaves are both edible from this common plant.
Nature is certainly beautiful to observe, but who knew that you could taste and your stomach filled by it? It isn’t recommended that you solely live off the plants that the Earth provides, but it might be fun to pick one of them up the next time you see one and pop it into your mouth, just to say you’ve tasted nature.