Continuing on our survival theme at co-op, this week we learned about plants that can and can't be eaten.
A few things we learned that are true:
- Plants are a valuable source of food because they are widely available and easily found
- You identify plants using factors such as leaf shape and margin, leaf arrangements, and root structure.
- Stay away from grain heads with ink, purplish, or black spurs.
- You can eat any berries you can positively identify.
- Purple, blue and black berries are 90% eatable.
- The inner bark of a tree (especially cotton wood, birch, aspen, willow and pine) may be eaten raw or cooked.
- Acorns are this country's most important wildlife food - there are 85 different oaks in the USA
- You can eat most parts of burdock, cattails, and dandelions.
- You can make different dyes using onion skins, walnut hulls or pokeberries.
- Plants can be used to help in cases of aches and sprains.
- Knowing poisonous plants is as important as knowing edible plants.
A few things that are false:
- You don't need to identify plants in order to use them as food or medicine.
- One rule to follow is to watch the animals and eat what they eat.
- All plants with a red color are poisonous
- Plants generally poison by contact only.
- If you boil the plant in water, it will kill all the poison.
- You should burn a contact poisonous plant once you identify it.
- There are only two poisonous plants known to us that cause skin irritations
- You can eat mushrooms in any survival situation.
- Tasting or swallowing a small amount of a plant is ok even if you don't know what it is.
- You can eat as much of a plant as you want if you are hungry.
- It is safe to eat any plants that have beans, bulbs or seeds inside the pods.