About a month ago my family and I went on a little hiking trip for a day. I took along my newest book South East Foraging by Chris Bennett. This book is a starter lesson on edible plants and flowers within my area the South East. It was a game that I played along with my kids looking for plants during our day of hiking. That day we didn’t sample any of the plants or flowers since it’s our first foraging hunt plus I really want to know more before sampling the forest or fields. I wanted to share with you a few edible plants/flowers that you might be surprised that you can eat!
If you’re new to foraging, you’ll want to establish some rules before you start looking for edible plants. For example, most people know that some mushrooms can be poisonous, so it’s best to stay away from all mushrooms if you don’t know what’s poisonous and what’s not. The Southeast is abundant in nutrient rich soils and the plant life here is diverse. There are many of these plants that are edible, but you’ll need to be well knowledgeable on how to identify them before you go chomping on strange greens along the trail.
Many edible plants are classified as weeds you can start looking for plants in your lawn or other areas that are regularly cleared like parks and fields. Also, depending on the region of the United States you live in, edible plants will grow in different areas of the landscape.
The Dandelion: Its Flower, leaves, stem, and root are all edible. Flowers taste best as a bud or at a barely-open stage in salads or sauteed in butter. The leaves (best young, in early spring) are highly nutritious, good in salads or stir-fry. The root (best in winter) needs to be parboiled (partially cooked in boiling water), then drained and boiled again until tender.
Violets are edible flowers and they are high in vitamins A and C. Their leaves can be eaten raw or boiled, or they can be dried to make tea. Violets have also been used medicinally, such as a common headache cure is a warm towel soaked with violet tea and placed on the back of the neck. The flower buds can be a garnish in salads or desserts. In addition, be sure not to eat the roots or stems of the flower it can cause nausea and vomiting, also avoid African Violets its toxic.
Clover is can be found about everywhere in the United States it’s edible! It is very high in protein. Raw clover can cause problems with digestion, but it can be made into a juice form. Flour can also be made from dried clover flowers and seed pods. Tea can also be made from clover, just steep it in water and boil then drain the leaves.
Day lilies have a long history in China as both edible flowers and medicine. Young, day-lily leaves can be cut at 5 inches and sauteed or stir-fried. The buds can be eaten raw, boiled, or stir-fried. Partially opened or fully opened day-lily flowers can be battered with a mixture of flour and water and fried. The roots of the day-lily are also edible, either raw or boiled. They pack high nutrition in the late fall after storing vitamins and minerals from the summer season.
Have you tried any Edible plants or Flowers or been foraging for plants? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!