5 Edible Plants You Can Identify

Need a snack as you’re walking along? Whether you want to enjoy natural and organic snacks or you are in a survival situation, identifying edible plants can be a fun and even a life saving hobby.

Here are 5 common plants you’ve probably seen often, maybe around your own home. They are packed with vitamins, and–unless you have a food allergy–they are absolutely safe to eat (though we do recommend washing then first):

blackberriesBerries

First is an easy one; Elderberries. Blueberries, huckleberries, and blackberries grow wild in bushes all over the country, but don’t overlook the smaller elderberries as well. Elderberry bushes grow in clumps in meadows, fields, and woods. In mid-summer, once the white flowers have fallen away, the black (actually dark purple) or red,berries grow sweet and are ready to pick and enjoy. The berries are small–no more than a quarter-inch across–so grab a few clusters, rather than individual berries.

dandelionDandelions

Next on the list is dandelions. You don’t need to look far for these weeds, they crop up in lawns, gardens, and parks. Dandelion leaves make a perfectly acceptable salad ingredient, and the best ones are the leaves from young plants, before flowers have emerged on the stem. If you’re too late for those tender leaves, the older leaves might taste bitter. Try the bright yellow flowers instead and see if you like that taste.

watercressWatercress

Want more fresh greens? Watercress grows wild wherever there’s water. Each stem has one big, round or heart-shaped leaf, and they can be eaten fresh and savored for their own tangy flavor.

 

CloverClover

Next is clover. There’s a reason that bees love clover: it’s delicious. The leaves and flowers are great to snack on. Take some of the blossoms home and use them for tea or add them to a salad. Clover plants are small, with each stem sprouting 3 little leaves. The flowers come in red, white, or purple varieties, and all are edible. If you look closely, you’ll see that each “flower” is actually made up of dozens of small, tube-shaped flowers that form a small ball about a half-inch across.

plantainsPlantains

Finally, if you find yourself in a tropical environment look for a  plantain, another common weed that you probably never thought of as food before. Plantains look like bananas as they are in the same family. They come in narrow or wide leaf varieties-that’s the edible part–and a thin stalk that carries seeds near the top. Munch the leaves, boil them in teas, or even use them as medicine. A chewed-up plantain leaf is better than a band-aid on a scratch, a bug bite, or irritated skin.

 

Photo Credits;

Don McCullough / Foter.com / CC BY

jenny downing / Foter.com / CC BY

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

YIM Hafiz / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

 

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