One of the first plants to emerge in spring, widely available throughout the summer & well into autumn. The woodland dwelling Primrose is an abundant source of food & nutrition – carbs, calories, sugars, starch & fiber. Primrose is a substantial source of life-sustaining nourishment.
The author explains how to accurately & safely identify the Primrose. Once the plants identity is confirmed, (remembering that there are orange & violet variations), all parts of the plant are edible – leaves, flowers & roots.
Important to completely wash, & boil in hot water, the entire plant, especially the root network. This is not essential but is best practice & applies to all the edibles referred to in this video.
The Common Thistle is a familiar sight along the hedgerows & tree lines. It is easy to spot with it’s bulbous purple flower which later turn into a cloudy seed. The plant is covered in prickly spikes especially the end of the leaf lobe which have a sharp thorn making handling difficult. However it is only the root of the plant which is edible.
Harvesting the Thistle is easiest in the spring & is best achieved by digging up the roots using a sharp knife revealing a thick root network. The roots are a substantial source of carbs, fiber, starch, sugars & calories. can be eaten raw like carrot or celery.
Technically the leaves & stalks are edible once the sharp needles & brack are removed.
Impressive in height. The Fireweed can grow up to 8 ft & grow in enormous colonies in woodland clearings & riverbanks.
The plant is noticeable from a distance, the purple & green spikes feature smooth slender stems featuring four-petalled purple flowers, diagonally climbing seed capsules & signature dark green, large shaped leaves. Each leaf is slim, narrow & pointed.
in Autumn the seed capsules will erupt into large fluffy white seed clouds, resembling candyfloss. Also useful for flash tinder in fire making.
All parts of Fireweed are edible. The piff in the center of the stem is especially nutritious & can be scraped out using a knife. It can be eaten raw & tastes very similar to Cucumber.
(In Russia, the leaves are cooked to make a hot tea called Ivan Chai.)
Once familiar with identifying mature Fireweed, it becomes much easier to identify Young Fireweed.
In the Spring, the young shoots of Fireweed emerge from the ground & can be identified by their familiar leaves & stems & will often have a bright red tinge to them. The reddest are sweeter in taste.
All parts are edible. The root is a long tap horizontal root & is especially nutritious. A top tier survival food.
A familiar plant in all terrains, easily identified by it’s bright yellow sun-burst flower & large, jagged, teeth-like leaves. All parts of the plant are safe to eat, with younger leaves preferred as the older leaves tend to be too bitter, as is the root. However, the roots, if roasted, can be ground into a delicious coffee.
Rich in potassium & iron, more so than spinach.
Considered a weed, the Dandelion is a highly nutritious natural resource.
Notorious for their sting, if handled correctly, Stinging Nettles are an excellent natural resource for vitamins & minerals.
They have heart or arrow shaped leaves heavily serrated along the edges & droopy hanging flowers when in bloom.
The plant protects itself with sharp hypodermic needles but can be harvested manually using gloves. The fresher the leaves the better. The stinging needles can be removed easily by passing the entire plant over a flame.
The leaves are naturally rich in Vitamin C, iron & protein.
Another variety of nettle is the Dead Nettle.
It does not have the droopy hanging flowers of the Stinging Nettle, but, instead have plump white flowers. Though unrelated to the Stinging Nettle they are equal in every respect, except they do not sting.
Small & inconspicuous, these penny sized grassland flowers have a central yellow disk, thin wiry stems & a white halo of petals.
All parts of the flower are edible.
Bigger & bolder than the Daisy, the Ox-eye Daisy is a substantial source of food typically found in meadows & open canopy forests.
The flower is similar to the common daisy. It features a furry stem & small, serrated, succulent, cactus-looking leaves.
It emits a foul-smelling scent, when crushed.
However, it’s central yellow disk tastes pleasant when eaten.
An exception to the rule to avoid eating wild red berries. Hawthorn is an tree that produces substantial amounts of red berries.
When identifying plants & trees in the wild with red berries it is usually the leaves which are the most unique features.
Leaves of the Hawthorn are glossy & bright green & are deeply lobed, meaning that they have protrusions that stick out rather than being all rounded. The berries themselves are glossy bright blood red with a dark crater in the middle.
They can be eaten raw with care, as they contain a hard stone in the middle. It is best to squeeze the berry to remove the pip before eating.
The branches of the Hawthorn do contain sharp thorns, so care is also advised when handling.
The leaves are edible with apple taste.
The berries are available in Summer, with the leaves available Spring to Autumn.
Another tree with edible red berries is the Rowan tree, or ‘Mountain Ash’.
As with the Hawthorn, it is the shape of the leaves which are key in identifying the Rowan.
Rowan leaves are very divided. Each leaf being composed of at least 15 different leaflets which are serrated along the edges. They are similar to Fern fronds in appearance.
The berries are orange-red in colour with a small brown star-shaped stud in the base.
They must not be eaten raw as they contain a poison acid when uncooked.
After boiling in hot water they are safe to eat & ,unlike the Hawthorn, contain no hard pip.
High in Vitamin C.
Garlic Mustard has edible leaves with a spicy onion taste.
Found throughout the woodlands, particularly on the banks of rivers & ponds.
They grow in abundance & to a height of 1 m.
The leaves are crinkled, heart-shaped, with serrated edges & resemble nettles. When crushed they emit a strong garlic scent. The stems are smooth & slender with clusters of cross-shaped white flowers.
Garlic Mustard, other than the root, is edible. The freshest part of the plant, at the top, is particularly preferred.
It was once widely used in European cuisine, but is now considered an invasive weed.
Red Clover produces a vast carpet of 3 or 4 leaf clovers with a distinct, crescent-shaped white chevron, (the presence of a chevron always indicates an edible plant). It has a bulbous edible flower which is a good source of protein, (It boasts a higher protein content than Spinach & Kale combined).
It is reddish-pink in colour & has hundreds of small, tubular florets which flower from late spring to early winter. There is also a white-pale cream coloured variety.
it is edible raw, but better boiled & has a mild sweetness like the Pea.
Due to their pleasant taste, nutritional value & wide availability, Clovers have traditionally been a go-to famine food.
Looking a lot like a Thistle from a distance, at closer inspection, it more resembles a clover with dozens of pink & white-tipped florets.
It is nourishing as an abundance of sugars, vitamins & minerals. It has no sharp needles or spikes.
The flower is perfectly edible raw. The other parts of the plant can be eaten but are tough & unpleasant to taste.
Identical to Knapweed in every respect but larger & scruffier in appearance.
Otherwise known as ‘Elephants Ears’. It is identified by it’s clusters of very large leaves which grow to 3 ft. in length & are deeply crinkled & craggy in texture on the front side, while underneath, are a lighter shade of green with fuzzy hairs. The stems also have a coating of fuzzy hairs & are completely hollow when sliced in half. It grows in multiple stalks. It can be eaten raw & is high in cellulose. The root is the main food & is very long, up to 30cm in length & 1 inch in width. After peeling the outer skin, the root can be eaten raw, tasting similar to a carrot. It is equal in carbs, calories & protein to the potato.
It is popular in Japanese cuisine where it is known as gobo.
It flowers from late Spring onwards.
Sometimes found as a bush, but more often, a tree, in woodland environments. The Elderberry produces enormous clusters of shiny, purple to black berries, 5 mm, ball shaped in width. The stems are purple to maroon coloured. The branches are fawnless with leaves with heavily serrated margins. The berries are considered a superfruit as their nutritional value in far superior to many other berries found in the wild & can be eaten raw. The stems, leaves & unripened berries are not edible.
The berries are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C. The Vit C content is 3 x higher than tomatoes, twice the protein of apples, & double the calories of Strawberries.
A common fruit found in hedgerows. The Blackberry bush, commonly referred to as Brambles, have strong stems with sharp spikes.
The berries are soft, squiggy & composed of multiple drooplets. They can be eaten raw but identification is confirmed by examining the leaves, which grow in groups of 3 or 5, & the scrambling spines, which are covered in thorns & red or green in colour.
The leaves have very jagged & serrated edges & are dark green on top & light green underneath with small prickles which run down the entire length of the middle vein. The leaves can be eaten raw after removing the prickles with a knife & are evergreen.
A short plant growing up to 1ft. The Pineapple Weed features a flower head that is acorn like in shape. It is a bulbous yellow-green dome seemingly without petals. It’s leaves are thin & wiry &, true to it’s name, when crushed will release the scent of Pineapples.
It can be eaten raw, except for the roots. It tastes sweet, mildly Pineapple & citrus & can make a sweet tea.
Features bright red seed bearing pods which are the fruits of the Dog Rose Tree, a tree which displays small, serrated, oval-shaped leaves with white pink flowers from Spring to Summer. The flowers develop into the edible fruit after pollination which are known as haws or hips.
The fruit is easily identified & contain 10x more Vitamin C than oranges & 3x more calories than apples!
Care is needed before consumption, the fruit should be halved & seeds removed.
Varying in colour from green to red, & in size from golf ball to cricket ball. Known as Wild Apples, they are edible.
However, they are far too bitter & sour to be eaten raw, even by animals. They must be chopped & boiled throughout. They are full of good carbs, sugars & calories.
An evergreen food source. The needles of the Pine Tree have afresh & minty taste & can be eaten raw. However, as they grow high up the tree, it is usual to find fallen needles.
It has 3 – 4 inch long needles which always come in pairs of two.
They are not high in calories but are rich in Vitamins A & C & are often brewed into tea.
The edible nuts of the Pine tree. Small cream-coloured & found around the base of the tree, they have more calories & protein than peanuts. A top-tier trail nibble! (Frequently used in Italian cuisine).
However, the nuts are a favourite with Squirrels, & so can be hard to find.
Poppy Seed are easily identified with 4 overlapping red-scarlet petals & protruding black stamens. They are only edible, however, after the petals have fallen leaving a bulbous, oval pod which is initially green but soon changes to brown.
To eat, crack the pod open to reveal hundreds of small Poppy Seeds. One of the highest sources of calories in the wild. (Per gram, they have 5 times more calories than Chicken & 3 times more than Steak!)
On the ground you may stumble across these golf-ball sized smooth, green husks. These are the unripened nut bearing husks of the Walnut Tree, which, from below, resemble the Horse Chesnut Tree.
The Green husks are in-edible, so you should find & open, with a rock, the dark brown mature husks containing a delicious Walnut. Super high in fat, protein & calories.
Last but not least. The familiar seeds of the Oak Tree. Nestled in a scaly cup.
Whether Green on the tree, or Brown, on the ground. Crack open their thick outer shell to reveal a large edible nut, just like a Peanut. Super high in fat, protein & calories.