Outdoor Survival - Edible Plants

If you see an animal or bird eating a plant, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be poisonous to humans, so be extra cautious when choosing what to eat. Also, be careful in areas where pesticides could have been used.

Thistle
The emblem of Scotland but did you know that you can eat it? The roots can be eaten raw or simmered for 20 minutes. The leaves can be eaten too, but removing the spines makes it a tedious job so it’s best to just use the roots.

Pine Needles and Nuts
You can steep the needles in hot water for 20 minutes and make a tea that will be rich in vitamins A and C. Don’t have the water boiling or simmering when you add them. If you’re lucky, you will find pine nuts at the base of the tree and these are rich in protein, iron and magnesium.

Knapweed
This looks like a mini thistle and the flowers make a quick nutritious snack.

Dandelion
The leaves can be boiled in a small amount of water for 5-10 minutes. You will need quite a lot, because they tend to boil down to nothing. The root can be used in a stew or even to make coffee!

Dandelion Root Coffee:

  1. Wash and scrub the root then leave it to dry.
  2. Roast on a fire for about 30 minutes until it turns to a brown colour.
  3. Grind it to a coarse powder. To do this you could put it in a cloth and hammer it with a stone.
  4. Bake again until a darker brown but not black! This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. Add approximately 2 tablespoons to a mug and add boiling water. Cover and leave for one hour.
  6. Re-heat and drink your coffee.

Burdock
The entire plant is edible including the stems. The roots are full of nutrition and can be eaten raw or boiled for 30 minutes. You can also make burdock tea by pouring boiling water over chopped root and letting it sit for about 10 minutes.

Nettle
Nettles are quite tasty and there’s no need to worry about the sting because cooking destroys it. Boil them in a small amount of water for 5-10 minutes. Again, you will need quite a lot of leaves.

Pineapple Weed
The flower heads, tender stems and leaves can be eaten and do actually taste of pineapple.

Daisy
I bet you didn’t know that you could eat these pretty flowers. Well you can and the leaves and stems are edible too.

Clover
Both red and white flowering clovers are edible and belong to the pea family. The flowers can be eaten raw but the leaves taste better when simmered for 10 minutes.

Garlic Mustard
The leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten; the leaves being the most garlic tasting. Just eat it raw and enjoy!

Green Seaweed
Be careful of collecting seaweed from polluted areas and only use if it’s still attached to its growing place. Seaweed is at its most tender in spring and early summer. To cook, boil it for approximately 30 minutes.