Wild Edibles Identification Guide

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by MercuryArgentum » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:29 pm

I'm surprised no one did a post on acorns, so here goes:

Acorns are ridiculously common, at least here in AR they are (I've only ever traveled to Texas and Missouri). Acorns are inherently poisonous, but prepared correctly, they can make great nutritious food.

You don't want the green ones, of course.
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You'll want to gather up many ripe ones (brown)
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To prepare the acorns, take a rock or a knife or something and shell them
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Next, grind them up, put them in a bag and blanch them in clean water many many times until the water that comes off of it is mostly clean; i.e. not nearly as dirty looking as before. 3 or 4 times should be enough.
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From there, simply take the rest and set out on a pan in the sun to let it dry, or an oven heated to 200 works just as well. The resulting mix can be used as flour for bread or roasted and used as a coffee substitute.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by djblocker88 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:25 pm

Nice thread, though I didn't see anything on mulberries. Some people consider them a super food on certain websites and magazines. Two trees outback near my house have tons of them and they taste pretty good honestly.
Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae. The 10–16 species of deciduous trees it contains are commonly known as Mulberries.
They resemble blackberries and taste pretty good. The unripe ones are pretty sour, and I read in a cracked article eating too many can lead to hallucinations and explosive diarrhea. Other than that they seem semi common here in Illinois. Like all berries though they do stain.

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Sad thing is a bag of dried mulberries goes for $8 or so, so many ar egoing to wast ein my yard.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:35 pm

The Staghorn sumac lemonade.

This is an easy to ID wild edible. The tree/shrub is often under 15 feet high and grows well in disturbed and poor soils.

The berry clusters.

These are red and pointing up.

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Berries and leaves.

The leaves are alternating with about 12 or so on each stem. They have a rough edge and shaped like a spear point. The berries are in furry clusters.

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I removed the stems then stirred and soaked the seeds in COLD water. After that used a coffee filter to remove any of the hairs and floaters.

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Here is a short video on the Staghorn sumac lemonade like drink. Don’t used poison sumac. I don’t think the two are easily confused.



The clusters turn red from July into September/October in my AO. It is best not to harvest them just after a hard rain as this might wash the goodness out of the cluster just like soaking them in cold water for the drink does.

Sumac issues.

I think there are other relatives in the group and if your have allergies to them then maybe reconsider this. Also not to be confused with Poison Sumac. My advice is to do your own research on these issues and as always never eat or in this case drink anything you’re not 100% certain about from the wild.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by SOWMAS » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:05 pm

[quote][Don’t used poison sumac. I don’t think the two are easily confused./quote]

It would be pretty hard to end up using poison sumac to make this beverage. The berries of poison sumac grow on racemes, which are clusters of fruit that grow on a central stalk. In this case, there will be multiple racemes that grow along the length of leafless branches. The berries tend to make the branches sag downwards, so they probably won't be sticking up like other sumac fruits do. The berries themselves are green at first and become a whitish color when ripe. They are never red and they are never covered with any fine hairs like staghorn sumac is.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. Poison sumac isn't something that I run into a lot. It tends to grow in or on the edges of swamps or areas that never fully drain. Where I live you pretty much have to go looking for it if you want to find it.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:45 am

Here is a fire side Staghorn Sumac lemonade video showing field prep. Sometimes preparing wild edibles in the field will differ from the kitchen as there are less tools at your disposal.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Boondock » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:27 am

Got a question, that's probably buried in the deep recesses of the ZS archives: I'm looking for a pocket-sized tree/plant/wild edible handbook for my possibles bag. There are many for sale, but I'd like suggestions on the best one. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by SOWMAS » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:53 am

Boondock wrote:Got a question, that's probably buried in the deep recesses of the ZS archives: I'm looking for a pocket-sized tree/plant/wild edible handbook for my possibles bag. There are many for sale, but I'd like suggestions on the best one. Thanks in advance.
That can be a tall order. How big of a pocket are we talking about? The Peterson Field Guides Edible Wild Plants for Eastern/Central North America will probably give you the most bang for your buck. It doesn't have a ton of good pictures and it covers a lot of plants, which means that it is more general in nature than books that cover smaller numbers of plants. Having good, color pictures is a nice feature for a book to have, especially when you are first starting out trying to ID things. However, the pictures can also become a crutch.

Take a look at Thomas Epel's Botany in a Day. It breaks plant ID down in an easy to understand manner. Stan Tekiela and Teressa Marrone are two other authors that publish field guides for the Upper Midwest. If you're in the Chicagoland area, they will still be appicable to you.
Last edited by SOWMAS on Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Boondock » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:06 pm

Thanks, SOWMAS. I was leaning toward the Peterson guidebook.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by MDiddy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:02 pm

Boiling mushrooms is considered to be safer. Not because, it kills deadly bacteria. But, because majority of toxic mushrooms will change color to blue when boiled. In fact if you want to see if your mushrooms are toxic, boil them with a head of white onion. If the onion turns black or dark blue, throw everything away.
http://www.botanical-online.com/english ... ention.htm

It doesn't look like boiling with a garlic clove or onion will help identify toxicity in mushrooms. I'm with you on the "if unsure, don't eat" adage though.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Ncdave » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:56 pm

Chestnuts from what I understand use to be very common in NC until a bad blight took must of em out. I was lucky enough to find this one.
Not ripe chestnut in the outer green husk. Notice the leaves the arrowhead shaped leaves

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this is when the husk has turned brown and nuts fallen on the ground they can be picked up at this point but BECAREFUL they can stick you. Also make sure worms have not gotten to them first.

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Now that you have a handful, I like to roast mine in the oven. Wash the nuts then lay them flat on their backs and cut (scurch) an X in the round side. I use a large knife and a cutting board. Then heat oven to 400 and bake for 15 to 10 min. Once done take em out and remove from shells when cool enough to tuch. You can also boil or grill them but I have done neither. Also don't over cook them as they will get hard, this will also happen if you let them get to cold.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by ODA 226 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:33 pm

My wife and I love to go out into the hills around our house and collect mushrooms. We collect one, easilly identifiable and especially tasty kind named Vrganj in Croatian or BOLETUS AEREUS in Latin. We concentrate on this particular mushroom because it is big, tasty, abundant and has no poisonous look-alikes...at least in these parts.

WARNING!!! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COLLECT OR EAT MUSHROOMS THAT YOU CANNOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFY! DEATH LASTS FOREVER!!!

Vrganj is a very tasty mushroom that is considered a delicacy in the Balkans. It is hard to confuse with any other poisonous mushroom because it is brown on the top, has a white ring that runs around the bottom of the cap of the lack of gills on the underside. The stalk can be light brown to tan in color.
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Instead of "gills", Vrganj has a "Sponge" underneath the cap that ranges from white, yellow to gray or blue.

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Vrganji can grow to HUGE sizes! Here is a fairly big one:

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Some can be wider than a man's outstreched hand, but since it's late in the season, here's some of the biggest we found with a US Army lensatic compass along side for size referencing:


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This is part of our take for that day. We harvested about 15 kilos total:

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My wife made some into a DELICIOUS Vrganji sauce for meat and potatoes! She also made a spagetti sauce to die for!

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The rest, we put into my "Hillbilly Dehydrator" over night to dry them out. It took about two days to dry them all.

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After the Vrganji had dryed, we put the remainder into Tupperware containers with O2 absorbers for long term storage. Vrganji reconstitutes very quickly into a very tasty and filling meal!

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by lll000000lll » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:27 pm

Woods Walker wrote:Violets.

I find violets in areas which have good soil and sunlight. Not sure they like constant exposure to direct sunlight but don't grow them. Their habitat includes both fields and their margins, lawns, sides of roads/trails and partial clearings. There are herbal medical uses for violet tea though never tried that. I eat the leaves and flowers raw. The roots are toxic and shouldn’t be eaten

Violet in bloom.

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A close up of the flower and leaf which again are edible. Notice the heart/arrowhead shaped leaf.

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Once again just to make certain everyone got it.

Flower.

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Leaf.

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Roses are red and violets at blue….. Well not always. Here is a white violet.

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These are less common in my AO but taste the same. A comparison between the two varieties.

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Violet issues.

There are lots of blue and white flowers in the woods. Not all of them are from fun loving plants so make 100% certain of the identity of any wild edible before eating. I roll my own photos and misidentifications are possible aka do your own research. In my AO violets start to bloom in early spring.


I hike every sunday looking for wild edibles in CT if you want to meet up, I'm down. PM me and we can exchange info
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by ZombieThrasher » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:20 pm

Awesome info! thank you.....we should start a discussion on what plants have other purposes besides just eating.......Goat ear as TP. :)
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by JFlagg » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:00 pm

I have two contributions... One I know and one I need help identifying.
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This is the one I'm curious about. I was scouting an island in the Missouri River for turkey season here in Missouri. The island is heavily wooded by mostly cottonwoods and sycamores along with smaller trees like elm,ash, etc... But on the 442 acre island I've yet to find one mast producing tree with anything edible like acorns, persimmons, etc. Lots of deer sign, but they seem to be dependent on browse. The above plant is quit abundant, but after numerous Google searches I can't identify it.

And this one... Image
I found about a grocery sack of them, if I would have picked them. This is a false morel mushroom and is quit poisonous... Similar to the common morel that is edible, but when compared can definitely be identified differently.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Kilo147 » Mon May 27, 2013 3:58 pm

When they come into season I'll make a post about eating Yew.

It's very risky, and a mistake will poison the hell out you if you're lucky. Two needles is enough to make a man sick enough to go to the hospital and eating a berry whole will poison you severely or kill you outright. Don't ask why I know the first one.

So when they do start getting fruits, don't go off eating them. I'll show you how to do it safely and not kill yourself in the process. I can not stress this enough. They have the capacity to kill you with just one or two consumed berries if you are not careful.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Rambo Moe » Wed May 29, 2013 2:03 am

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I've written a few articles on edible things found in the wild.

Edible Plants
http://preparedforthat.com/edible-wild- ... h-america/

Edible Mushrooms
http://preparedforthat.com/types-of-wil ... mushrooms/

Finding Eggs
http://preparedforthat.com/how-to-find- ... cook-them/

Edible Bugs
http://preparedforthat.com/edible-insec ... u-can-eat/

And this one just for fun: http://preparedforthat.com/scavenging-f ... wasteland/


I hope that adds to the conversation a bit.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Shadowalker » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:57 pm

Finally got around to editing the northwest pdf. Pulling a few that are for drier regions and adding a couple for the wet, as well as full fiddle head info for here. Had sets laminated for everyone to keep in their packs. 4oz of safe harvesting. 8 pages total

One of those back burner things to cross off the list. No point in books or decks of cards that dont have our plants in them.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by 74 or more » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:22 am

Can someone tell me what this is? I found it growing by my porch when I got home from vacation. I've never seen anything like it. Flies are eating the brown stuff coming off the top.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by buck85 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:04 pm

Great thread !!!
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Armor76 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:04 pm

74 or more wrote:Can someone tell me what this is? I found it growing by my porch when I got home from vacation. I've never seen anything like it. Flies are eating the brown stuff coming off the top.

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The orange things are a mushroom called a stinkhorn. A very diverse group of fungi that use flies to disperse their spores.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:20 pm

Wild Carrots aka Queens Anne lace

Wild carrots are bi-annuals. I took this pic during the flowering stage. The carrot is too woody IMHO then. Maybe it could be boiled for a long time? Not sure as look for the first growth.

Second year plants:

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The first growth is good. They can be eaten just like any other carrot however very often aren't the orange carrot color people have come to expect. The leaves and stalks look just like those of a regular carrot. The leaves and stalk have a distinctive carrot order.

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The tap root aka carrot is white, smaller than those found int the market however shares the same smell and taste. Can be woodier even at this stage than carrots many are familiar with.

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Inside of tap root.

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Notice the hairs on the stalk. The queen has hairy legs. A big help in ID.

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Poison Hemlocks (there are a few types) and Queens Anne Lace are in the carrot family however only the true wild carrot will smell like a carrot. If someone even has the slightest question as to the ID move along. This is one mistake that can kill as the deadly hemlocks are some of the most toxic plants in the North America. If there is any red/purple spots on the stake, growing in areas near water because water hemlock is also related and a potential killer, less dense flower cluster, smoother stalk leave it be. If it smells bad that's your nose telling you to avoid it. I wouldn't put my fingers in my mouth after messing around with Poison Hemlock during the ID process. You really want no part of that. As stated even a small amount of Poison Hemlock can be fatal. It is the most is most poisonous during the early growth in Spring which as misfortune would have it is also when the wild carrots are starting. In fact you can die from eating animals which have eaten poison hemlock seeds. Because they're all related they share some of the same characteristics hence why I am so concerned with improper ID. But there are big differences as well.

Wild carrots.

1. Smells like a carrot. Both root and leaves.

2. short hairs on the stalk.

3. Greater density with white flower.

4. Don't believe some joker's advice online even if he takes nice pics. Do you're own research.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:38 pm

Here is an outing I did last Autumn. I consumed only wild edibles during the overnight trip. These included naturalized apples, rose hips (related to apple), Black Walnuts, Wild carrot and more.

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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Silent Kube » Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:48 am

Here's one I've had some limited experience with that I don't think has been covered. It's known as yellow salsify, goat's beard, and a bunch of other names I can't remember. It was apparently brought over as a food crop like dandelions. It actually resembles a giant dandelion, especially after it has gone to seed. I've only eaten the root. I don't know if other parts are edible.They call it oyster root too and if you use your imagination you can see what they mean when you eat it.

I hear the purple variety is tastier but I've only ever encountered the yellow kind. It's a little late to get my own pics but here are a couple I've found online.

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Here's what the unopened flowers look like as well as what it looks like once it's gone to seed. They really are quite big. Much bigger than a dandelion and the plants usually get a couple feet tall.

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Next spring I'll do a vid on them.
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Re: Wild Edibles Identification Guide

Post by Woods Walker » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:52 pm

Paw paw.

Here is link to the all knowing Wikipedia for those who want information such as scientific names, full range etc etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asimina_triloba

A small grove of paw paw.

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Paw paw saplings seem to shoot up from the roots covering the ground.

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Close up of the leaves. They grow along both sides of the thinner ends of the branches.

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The Autumn color is yellow.

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The bark of a paw paw tree.

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View from under a paw paw tree.

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Lets talk paw paw fruit. IMHO it's one of the tastiest wild edibles going. Almost like custard. Paw paw fruit found on the ground. Notice the mix of black and green. They ripen in Autumn then fall on the ground. Ones on the tree can also be ripe. Just depends on how along the process they are.

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Things are going my way!

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Lets take a look at the insides of the fruit. I rather like the yellowish color and texture.

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I guess the primary downside is the large number of big seeds. Not that they're too much fuss to scoop out.

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Paw paw issues:

The fruit is really good so naturally other critters are in direct competition with you. I have seen coons damage the small trees to get at the fruit. Anything on the ground will also draw attention from nature's cleanup crew. After all the paw paws intend for these seeds to be distributed. Why don't we see paw paw in the super market? To the best of my knowledge paw paw aren't grown like other fruits. I think they don't ship well as the shelf life isn't that long.

That's my take on paw paw. I think this is a very easy wild edible to ID however don't eat anything unless you know for certain.
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