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Old 08-12-2011, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,398 posts, read 3,817,283 times
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I'm just finishing a pretty good book called In Defense of Food. One of the points (among many) made was that we have evolved over time eating wild plants or weeds, some of which have been cultivated into garden vegetables but most edibles have been essentially abandoned even in cases where the taste is quite palatable.

There are quite a few people in my area collecting and eating things like Lamb's Quarters and Purslane and I'm wondering whether any of you have this among your survival strategies? What are your experiences?

I can identify many local edibles but have not added them to my diet yet due in not a little part to a reluctant husband. I'm curious as to what others are doing in this arena.

Last edited by AK-Cathy; 08-12-2011 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK-Cathy View Post
I'm just finishing a pretty good book called In Defense of Food. One of the points (among many) made was that we have evolved over time eating wild plants or weeds, some of which have been cultivated into garden vegetables but most edibles have been essentially abandoned even in cases where the taste is palatable.

There are quite a few people in my area collecting and eating things like Lamb's Quarters and Purslane and I'm wondering whether any of you have this among your survival strategies? What are your experiences?

I can identify many local edibles but have not added them to my diet yet due in not a little part to a reluctant husband. I'm curious as to what others are doing in this arena.

Hi AK-Cathy,

I use somewhere in the area of a hundred plants. I tend to prefer them over old, over bred produce. I made thistle for a 15 month old and he begged for more. My wife was not only converted, but rather anticipates what I might make from it. It was recently suggested by one of my guests that a hard cider from wild fruit I had brewed should go for a $100 a bottle.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
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Nice. I'd like to know the details of both.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK-Cathy View Post
Nice. I'd like to know the details of both.
OK expounding on these two examples:

Depending on the thistle, most of them are biennial so look for roots in fall and early spring and then immature flower stalks in mid to late spring. Canada thistle, a most hated and noxious weed, is perennial with unsatisfactory roots; but, it can be steamed and put into a food processor when its under a foot. The thorns are essentially deactivated. It makes a very rich and hearty green that I prefer over spinach.

With mulberry, I use a pole to shake the trees with large spread of row cover. So I can collect a few gallons in minutes. Then I run it through a food strainer to juice it. Since its such a fragile fruit, it already has yeast so I rolled the dice to see what the wild yeast would do and put an air lock on it after increasing the acidity with lime juice. I just put it in a bottle with an air lock and then bottled again in small bottles after a week and let it charge with carbon dioxide from the fermentation(plastic is safest and most easily monitored). The result was a phenomenal dark, semi-sweet champaign like beverage within a few weeks.



Though what I really need to look into is lactic acid fermentation of the various greens I have available like the lambs quarters and lady's thumb now and the sow thistle before. I think I could have this organic super food all winter without pressure canning.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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My goal currently is to taste and identify the edible weeds. I don't really eat them regularly. I just want to make sure I can identify them and don't have any adverse reactions...in case I have to eat them one day...I do have a big purslane growing in one of the flower beds...I stopped at tasting a leaf, though.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
My goal currently is to taste and identify the edible weeds. I don't really eat them regularly. I just want to make sure I can identify them and don't have any adverse reactions...in case I have to eat them one day...I do have a big purslane growing in one of the flower beds...I stopped at tasting a leaf, though.
Hi kinkytoes,

I can think of several reasons not to stop there. One is they are already as good as any food or better. Health is also survival. Its also just too much fun.

The next is in a survival situation, knowing edible plants is really a small part of making it useful for survival. A lot of people with an edible plant book would starve. You are basically going from step 1 to step 5 when there are a 100 steps. Its an advantage over a complete novice, but its really just a short way on a very long road. Knowing where to look, how to gather efficiently, process, prepare and store is probably even more important. I can spot plants going full speed on a bike trail out of the corner of my eye. At one time it was just all green. I also have an interlocking seasonal clock. I always know when to look for plants based on other plants. When burdock flower stalks are in their second week, I know milkweed flower buds are appearing and so on.

With just about every wild nut I gather, it took years not to waste time and energy missing the right time, not picking up empty or wormy nuts, not processing them well or cracking them inefficiently etc. If you don't routinely use equipment like food strainers, canners, dehydration, and fermentation, its a time consuming process full of doubt.

I have yet to tap a tree. While I know how, I know beyond a doubt that I probably am 3 seasons away from making it a smooth process. I need to become familiar with what ever equipment I choose from an elderberry branch to a commercial tree tap. I need to think about storage and sanitation, how often to check and how much to expect on a given tree.


I still have a very log way to go myself.

Last edited by gwynedd1; 08-12-2011 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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Can you tell me about black walnuts? I cracked one of the ones in my yard open, and I think it was wormy or something.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:11 AM
 
Location: A Nation Possessed
25,238 posts, read 18,397,166 times
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I have just been getting into this recently. I find it tricky, and easy to get myself into trouble if I'm not really careful about identifying plants and berries. There are lot's of "lookalikes" around my area. But once I've identified something for certain, it's great fun to harvest and eat it. Right now there are tons of chokecherries in the local canyon... along with a number of other berries that aren't so friendly. The chokecherries are great though; I've been wolfing them down. I'm going to make fruit leather out of a batch Sunday if I have time. I've been working on becoming comfortable with thistle and nettle (wood and stinging) as well. It's a fun pass time that could be very useful under certain conditions.
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:18 AM
 
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Thumbs up Thanks for mulberry tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwynedd1 View Post
OK expounding on these two examples:

Depending on the thistle, most of them are biennial so look for roots in fall and early spring and then immature flower stalks in mid to late spring. Canada thistle, a most hated and noxious weed, is perennial with unsatisfactory roots; but, it can be steamed and put into a food processor when its under a foot. The thorns are essentially deactivated. It makes a very rich and hearty green that I prefer over spinach.

With mulberry, I use a pole to shake the trees with large spread of row cover. So I can collect a few gallons in minutes. Then I run it through a food strainer to juice it. Since its such a fragile fruit, it already has yeast so I rolled the dice to see what the wild yeast would do and put an air lock on it after increasing the acidity with lime juice. I just put it in a bottle with an air lock and then bottled again in small bottles after a week and let it charge with carbon dioxide from the fermentation(plastic is safest and most easily monitored). The result was a phenomenal dark, semi-sweet champaign like beverage within a few weeks.

The light finaly went on, I had been picking them by hand with a small ladder and leaving countless for the birds and squirrels and like the idea of the mulberries with a kick.



Though what I really need to look into is lactic acid fermentation of the various greens I have available like the lambs quarters and lady's thumb now and the sow thistle before. I think I could have this organic super food all winter without pressure canning.
thanks for the great tip I have been eating the mulberries from a huge tree and leaving many go to waste because I cant reach them. Also doing something get a kick out them really sounds great.

In Texas I have had amost zero luck finding abandoned orchards and fruit tress. But in Penna and WA really did well.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,398 posts, read 3,817,283 times
Reputation: 7774
Great ideas. I'd love to have a mulberry tree. There is one on the family farm that must be approaching 100 years old. I remember eating mulberries till I was stuffed and purple as a kid. The drink that you made with the mulberries sounds a bit like Framboise which I love.

Don't have thistles here either but I'll probably start with Lamb's Quarters. We have lots of wild berries here (Lingonberry being a favorite) but also lots of two and four legged and winged competitors for them.

My biggest problem is if course as gwynedd1 suggested as in what to do with them after I collect the wild plants to make the best use of them....
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