Foraging Wild Edibles – Part One

I hike often and like to identify wild edible foods to harvest or to take note of the location for the right season to harvest. Edible foods are delicious and very nutritional.

I have often gathered wild fruits and vegetables and made a salad with a meal on the trail. They make a perfect complement to freshly caught fish or game.

Many wild edibles can be found in your own yard and the area around your home, such as gardens, vacant lots, construction sites, parks, fields, abandoned buildings, train tracks, and along alleys and roadsides. Many common ‘weeds’ are actually edible foods.

Foraging for wild edibles can be a fun family adventure to harvest nutritional foods. Forests, parks, fields, riverbeds, lakes, marshes, wetlands, along roads, train tracks, and trails, offer an abundance of salad greens, cooking vegetables, grains, fruits, mushrooms, and nuts.

You will need a knife, gloves, a digging trowel, and a basket or bag to carry your harvest. When foraging be sure to wear appropriate clothing, footwear, raingear, sunscreen, and insect repellent. As well, taking water to hydrate and some food snacks is a good idea. For safety on longer trips, it is wise to bring maps or GPS, a compass, a few first aid, and hygiene items, matches or lighter, a flashlight, and so on.

Common fruits that grow in the wild include apple, crabapple, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, paw paws, hawthorns, persimmons, mulberry, grapes, and more.

Common wild nuts include acorns, hazelnut, beechnut, walnut, chestnut, hickory, and more. Wild salad leafy greens include dandelion, purslane, plantain, chicory, chickweed, sorrel, and more.

Wild cooking vegetables include asparagus, cattail, burdock, amaranth, mustard, grape leaves, milkweed, nettle, lamb’s quarter, thistle, reeds, foxtail, watercress, garlic, onion, and more.


Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – 5 plants | Bangalore Agrico

Habitat: Worldwide, wetlands, moist soil.

Identification: Arrowhead shaped leaves.

Harvest: Dig up roots.

Preparation: Cook roots like a potato. Dried and ground roots are used in baking, sauces, and thickening. It was a cash starch crop in many countries and American colonies.


Asparagus legend made real | Wild Food Girl

Habitat: North America, sandy well-drained soil, fields, old home-sites, fence rows.

Identification: Perennial, Christmas tree shaped slender stalks.

Harvest: Spring, cut young shoots.

Preparation: Steam, saute, or boil. Excellent with butter and mushrooms, or a cream sauce.


Burdock Leaf Tea | Living Proof LLC – Living Proof L.L.C.

Habitat: North America, road sides, vacant lots, disturbed areas.

Identification: Biennial flowering plant, tall hollow stalk, clusters of flowers, large wavy leaves.

Harvest: Summer or fall, roots and stalks.

Preparation: Peel roots and boil, mash like potato. Peel ring off stalks, like celery, raw or cooked. Mild flavor.


15 Brilliant Uses for Cattails

Habitat: Worldwide, wetlands, shallow water, canals, lakes, rivers, streams.

Identification: Perennial grass like flowering plant, long stem, cigar shaped flower/seed cluster on top.

Harvest: Ensure water is not polluted. Spring to autumn, young roots, shoots, and stalks.

Preparation: Root like potato, peel stalks for asparagus like core, raw or cooked, seed grain high in protein and used to make flour.


Chickweed, common - SARE

Habitat: North America, wetlands, woodlands, meadows, cultivated land.

Identification: Annual flowering plant, trails along ground, rounded leaves pointed at tip.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, harvest tender leaves and stems.

Preparation: Raw in salads or cooked, tastes like spinach, mild flavor.


Chicory (Cichorium intybus) | Applewood Seed Company

Habitat: Most of North America, old fields, waste areas, along roads, disturbed sites.

Identification: Perennial flowering plant, long stems with blue flowers, toothed leaves at base and stems, like dandelions.

Harvest: All parts are edible, spring to autumn.

Preparation: Leaves raw in a salad, cook leaves like spinach, cook roots like parsnips. Root can be dried and ground for a coffee substitute.


Habitat: North America, lawns, fields, open sunny areas, disturbed sites.

Identification: Perennial flowering plant, grows close to the ground, slender toothed leaves, spikes with yellow flowers or seed clusters.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, pick young leaves, roots in autumn, all parts edible.

Preparation: Raw leaves in salads or cooked like spinach, boil roots. Leaves and flowers used to make tea and wine. High in vitamins.

Garlic, Wild

Wild onion, garlic, or chives? I still cant remember the difference!!  Tubular stalk. West Michigan. : r/foraging

Habitat: U.S. Midwest and East. Woodlands, open areas, fields.

Identification: Flowering plant, long erect stem, bulbs at bottom, flowers. Recognized by strong, unique aroma.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, harvest whole plant.

Preparation: Raw in salads, cook in soups, sauces, season meats and pasta.

Lamb’s Quarters

Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium album) seeds, organic | Strictly Medicinal  Seeds

Habitat: North America, yards, woods, along trails, roadsides, vacant lots, disturbed areas.

Identification: Annual spinach like plant, broccoli like shoots. Once a stable in home gardens. Flower/ seed clusters.

Harvest: Harvest leaves in spring. Seeds in autumn used as a grain like quinoa, high in protein and vitamins.

Preparation: Cook leaves like spinach or raw in salads.


Getting Rid Of Wild Mustard: Learn How To Kill Wild Mustard In The Garden

Habitat: Common, widespread, field, yards, disturbed sites.

Identification: Annual flowering plant, wavy toothed leaves, erect stems with yellow flowers and seeds.

Harvest: Pick tender leaves in spring.

Preparation: Blanche for salads, boil as a vegetable. Tangy flavor. Often cooked with ham hock or bacon and onions. Grind seeds to make homemade mustard with vinegar. High in vitamins.

Onion, Wild

Spring time is wild onion time in Oklahoma | KOSU

Habitat: U.S. Northeast and Northwest. Woodlands, slopes, ledges, ridges.

Identification: Perennial flowering plant, tall stems, bulbs at bottom, flower clusters.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, whole plant.

Preparation: Raw in salads, cooked, or pickled. Use in soups, sauces, with meat and seafood, pasta.


Plantain Herb: Nature's Band-Aid

Habitat: Grows everywhere worldwide, yards, lawns, fields, along roadsides, disturbed soil.

Identification: Common weed, perennial flowering plant, ground level broad leaf base, leaves rounded to pointed tip, toothed, stems with flowers or seeds.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, pick tender young leaves.

Preparation: Raw in salads, cook as a vegetable sautéed or boiled.


Portulaca oleracea.jpg

Habitat: Grows worldwide, open sunny areas, fields, vacant sites, yards, lawns, gardens.

Identification: Annual, garden weed. Grows close to the ground, small rounded, fleshy leaves, small flowers.

Harvest: Pick tender, succulent leaves, spring to autumn.

Preparation: Raw in salads or cook like spinach. Nutritious, high in omega-3 oils and vitamins.

Sheep Sorrel

Sheep's sorrel / RHS Gardening

Habitat: North America, fields, yards, grasslands, disturbed sites, gardens.

Identification: Perennial flowering plant. Close to the ground, slender arrowhead-shaped leaves, spike of flowers /seeds.

Harvest: Spring to autumn, pick leaves.

Preparation: Raw in salads or cooked vegetables.

Stinging Nettles

Beware of this plant called Stinging Nettle found along hiking trails

Habitat: North America, moist soil, along streams, margins of forests, roadsides, trails, and vacant lots.

Identification: Perennial flowering plant, heart-shaped toothed leaves, stinging hair-like bristles.

Harvest: Spring, cut young shoots and leaves, wear gloves.

Preparation: Cook like spinach, high in vitamins.


Watercress - Organic Medicinal Live Plants for Sale - Crimson Sage Nursery

Habitat: North America, slow-moving clear water, streams, ponds.

Identification: Perennial aquatic flowering plant, partially floating, lobed leaves, white flower cluster.

Harvest: Spring and summer, leaves and roots. Be sure water is not polluted.

Preparation: Cook leaves like spinach, cook roots.


Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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