Monday, June 13, 2011

Wild Edibles Are A Great Healthy Way To Supplement Food Costs

I have been collecting wild fruits and vegetables since I was just a kid. As a father with two sons I find that it is a great way too make some interesting meals. This weekend we gathered cattail tops. We steam them for 20 min. and eat them like corn, with butter. We also collect some of the greens that are so plentifull. Who needs spinach when we have burdock, plantain, chicory, dandelion, clover, anise hyssop, sunchoke, tiger lily roots and flowers, grape leaves and watercress everywhere? If you are starting to find it harder and harder to make ends meet in this depressed economy wild foods are a great way to supplement your food bill. Many of these wild foods are great for your health as well. You may be surprised at how much wild foods are in America. We all know the alpine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are out there. But have you ever had huckleberries, paw paw, wild grape, elderberry, mulberry, highbush cranberry and serviceberry?

It's liberating to know that you can feed yourself and your family with foods that you can't find in the supermarket. Give the kids some pictures of plants and take them out on a scavenger hunt to find them. Make it a game. You will find that the kids are more willing to try foods they helped collect. My sons love going to school and telling the kids in their class what they collected and ate.

Food, like life should have many facets. For me having a bland common diet is boring. Food becomes an adventure with excitement in every bite. Our meals have a story. As food prices keep going up it become more valuable to know this skill.


  1. I've been reading that Cattails are disappearing because of a non-native ornamental grass being grown by landscaping obsessed homeownes and the seeds carrying on the wind. All the Ctails behind my place have fluffed off and are blowing all over now.

  2. Longtime no see. A cattail is common grass in Japan. It is called " Gama "and well known as the mythical remedy for "Inaba white rabbit". I just got to know it edible.

  3. The amount of cattail out there is staggering. It is the weed that is destroying the Sahel. It dessicates Lake Chad and has silted over its bed, preventing the replenishment of the aquifers that water North Africa. It is also a terrific renewable resource. Food, fuel and fiber are there for use by the megaton.
    Cattails and other aquatic weeds are the real driving force in climate degradation. Climate is a water issue more than a greenhouse gas issue. The earth's cooling system is clogged up. Cattail sloughs that should be lakes are a major source of the American "dustbowl."

  4. That is true JoeC. I grow cattails in the ditches on my street. I have also planted many other native aquatic plants in the ditches. The redwing blackbirds love cattails to nest in. They help slow down the flow of water and clean the water as well.

    The pith of the cattail is also edible as well as the polline.

    Cattails have long been a source of food,shelter and fuel for the native American Indians.

  5. SteveK
    What should be done is controlled harvest to pellets to get rid of the excess Ctails and allow for jobs and farming of the rapidly growing crop.

    Studies in the US have shown cattails to be the best prospect for reed based bio-fuels as it rebounds quickly and stronger when done in a controlled harvest. But if you choose to harvest and then pellet the reeds you could solve a deforestation issue by providing a better source of heat and cooking fuel than wood or charcoal.

    But that would require thoughtful application and keeping those that would abuse it for todays profits and tomorrows bust away.


Please keep it clean and nice. Thank you for taking the time to post you thought. It means a lot to me that you do this.