If I’m in the forest and have no food, what are some of the natural foods in a forest that are safe to eat?

20 Common Wild Plants You Can Eat For Survival

In addition to edible plants, there are many plants you can find in the wild which are dangerous to eat, even poisonous. Unless it is a dire emergency, survival isn’t the time to go around trying new things. You don’t know what you might find that would hurt you.

Since there is no sure way of identifying which plants are safe and which are poisonous, the best way of protecting yourself is to stick to eating only plants that you know and can identify as being safe to eat. When looking at other plants, you probably want to stay away from any plants that have:

  • Milky or colored sap.
  • Any sort of spines, thorns or fine hairs.
  • Seeds inside pods, as well as beans and bulbs.
  • Any plant with a bitter or soapy taste.
  • Plants whose stems have an almond scent.
  • Any plants with three-leaved growth patterns.
  • Grain heads with spurs that are pink, purple or black.

Of course, there are edible plants which display some of those same characteristics. That just proves that not all poisonous or healthy plants have distinguishable characteristics. These characteristics only apply to plants that you cannot identify.

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Here are 20 of the most common wild plants that you can find, providing you with a starting place for identifying what you can eat in the wild. Learn them, and then go on to learn what else is available for eating in the area where you live.

1. Amaranth

Amaranth
Amaranth

Amaranth is a prolific weed which is native to North America. All parts of the plant are edible, although you do need to be somewhat careful. The grain from the amaranth plant has become more popular in recent years. There are spines on some leaves which should be avoided. The leaves contain oxalic acid, especially if the plant has grown in nitrate rich soil. To protect yourself against that, boil the plant in water and then throw away the water. If worse comes to worse, it can be eaten raw.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus grows wild in parts of North America, especially the northeastern part of the United States. Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the commercial varieties. To harvest, bend it until it snaps off. It will snap at the right point to prevent killing the plant, while providing you with the most edible part.

3. Bamboo

If anyone around you has decided to grow bamboo in their backyard, it’s probably gotten out of hand. This prolific grass spreads rapidly, taking over everything in its path. While the mature plants are like chewing on wood, the shoots can be eaten. Shoots should be harvested before they are two weeks old and one foot tall. Peel off the outer leaves and boil them to soften. Bamboo shoots are often added to salads, put on sandwiches or used in stir-fries.

4. Cattails

Found near the edges of wetlands, cattails were a staple in the diet of many American Indian tribes. Most of the plant is edible. You can boil the roots and lower stalk for eating. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach. The flower spike at the top can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob. Surprisingly, it tastes much like corn.

5. Chicory

Chicory
Chicory

Chicory is most easily identified by its flowers. It is a bushy plant with small blue, lavender and white flowers. Leaves can be eaten raw or boiled. The flowers are a quick, tasty snack. The roots can be eaten as well, but require boiling to make them edible. Toasted chicory root has been used in the past as a substitute for coffee when coffee wasn’t available.

6. Chickweed

This low-growing plant has bright green, pointed oval leaves. It is highly nutritious, containing vitamins, minerals and omega-6 fatty acid. Young leaves can be used effectively in salads. However, if too much chickweed is eaten, it can cause diarrhea.

7. Clover

Clover is very common throughout the country. Anywhere you find a grassy area, you are likely to encounter clover as well. They are easy to identify for the three leaves. The plant can be eaten raw, but will taste better cooked.

8. Curled Dock

These are some of the hardiest, most widespread and most persistent weeds found anywhere. You can find them nearly everywhere. Like dandelions, it is almost impossible to pull one out of the ground. If you do, it will probably be replaced by two more. The leaves are tasty and can grow as large as two-feet long. There are also other types of docks in this family, but the curled dock is considered the tastiest.

9. Dandelion

This common “weed” is actually edible; in fact, the entire plant is edible: roots, leaves and flowers. It’s also rather healthy, being a “cure-all” in herbal medicine. You’ll want to eat the leaves while the plant is still young, as mature leaves have a bitter taste to them. Boil the roots before eating, and then use the water from boiling the roots as a tea. The dandelion flower makes an excellent garnish for a salad.

10. Fireweed

This is another plant that was eaten by many American Indians. It is easy to identify by the vein pattern in the leaves. Rather than terminate at the edge of the leaves, the veins create a circular pattern.

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These plants are best eaten when young and tender. As they age, the leaves become tough and bitter tasting. Both the leaves and the stalk can be eaten. The flowers have a slightly peppery taste.

11. Garlic Grass

This is a wild strain of garlic which is often found in fields, pastures and forests. It resembles cultivated garlic or spring onions. The shoots are often very thin. Nevertheless, it can be used in sandwiches, salads, pesto or chopped like scallions to add to cooked dishes.

12. Green Seaweed

This particular variety of seaweed is found in all the oceans of the world. You can even find it close to shore and on beaches. Once harvested, it needs to be rinsed with clean water and allowed to dry. It can be used in soups or eaten raw. Add some fish and rice and you’ve got some sushi.

13. Kelp

Kelp is another common form of seaweed, and can be found growing in most parts of the world. The kelp plant grows very long, anchored on the bottom of the sea and reaching to the surface. Internal air bladders keep it afloat. This seaweed is used in many different oriental dishes. Like the green seaweed, it should be rinsed once harvested and can be cooked in soup or eaten raw.

14. Kudzu

This is known as the “weed that ate the South” for its prolific way of covering trees and other plants. Kudzu is a fast-growing vine, which could provide a literally unending source of nutrition if you have it in your area. The leaves make an excellent tea for treating colds, fevers and indigestion. The roots of this plant can be boiled until tender and eaten with a sauce, such as soy sauce. Jams and jellies can be made from of it.

15. Lamb’s Quarters

Lamb's quarters
Lamb’s quarters

This plant is a relative of wild spinach. It grows from two to six feet high and is easily identified by the shape of the leaves, which are a jagged-edged and diamond shaped. This plant has a high amount of protein, making it one of the few non-beans that does. It is also rich in iron and vitamin B2. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

16. Plantain

This weed will grow just about anywhere and is often found on the edges of gardens or driveways. Pick the rippled leaves, leaving behind the stems and flower stems. Like kale and other tough greens, plantain is best eaten after cooking. Blanching it with some butter and garlic makes it come out quite well.

17. Prickly Pear Cactus

Called “nopal” in Mexico, the prickly pear is not only edible, but extremely good for your health. Not all the leaves are eaten, but only the newest ones where the spines have not been fully formed. The spines are cut off and the leaf cut up for cooking. It can be boiled, but is most often fried, along with tomatoes and spices. The fruit of the prickly pear, which looks like a red or purplish pear, is also edible, although hard to encounter.

18. Sheep Sorrel

Although not native to North America, sheep sorrel has found a home here. It is a prolific weed, especially in highly acidic soil. That means it will grow in places where many other plants won’t grow. It has a tall, reddish stem that can reach 18 inches tall. You really shouldn’t eat large quantities of it, but the leaves can be eaten raw. They taste almost like lemon.

19. Watercress

Watercress, which comes in a number of varieties, such as garden cress, rock cress and pepper cress, is common in Northern Europe. It has been migrated to the United States, where it is more commonly found in northern climates with a lot of moisture. It has a spicy tank, making it great for salads, soups and sandwiches.

20. Wood Sorrel

Wood sorrel grows in all parts of the world and in all climates. There are many varieties of this plant, and the flowers vary in color. The Kiowa Indians ate it, and chewed on it to alleviate thirst. The Cherokees ate it to cure mouth sores. The leaves of the plant are a great source of vitamin C. If the roots of the wood sorrel are boiled, they can be eaten. It has a flavor similar to potatoes.

For further information on this and other plants, it would be advisable to buy a book that deals with the edible plants in your area, as it varies from region to region around the country.

By Off The Grid

How good is the Eagle’s eye’s, how far can they see?

An eagle’s eyesight is estimated to be four to eight times more powerful than the average human’s. Birds of prey, including eagles, can see four to five times farther than we can, which means they have 20/5 or 20/4 vision. And while eagles weigh an average of only about 10 pounds, their eyes are about the same size as ours, and are larger by weight than their brains.

It is believed that an eagle can spot an ant crawling on the ground from atop a 10-story building, or a rabbit two miles away. As he drops from the sky to attack his prey, the muscles of his eyes make constant adjustments to the curvature of the eyeballs, enabling him to keep his prey in sharp focus as he makes his approach.

Eagles, like all birds, also have excellent color vision. They see colors more vividly than we do, and can distinguish more shades. They also see ultraviolet light, which allows them to detect the urine trails of small prey.

They can distinguish between five different-colored squirrels, and can find even camouflaged or hidden prey on the ground below. Bald eagles can see fish in the water while they soar or glide several hundred feet above the earth. This is more difficult than you might think, because most fish are counter-shaded — darker on top/lighter on their underside — and harder to spot from above.

From a perch at the top of a tree, the eagle can dive at 125 to 200 miles per hour to catch prey with its talons.

Each eagle eyeball moves separately, and the eyeball is so large and tightly fit that it barely turns within the eye socket. Eagles swivel their heads to locate prey and other objects of interest, moving their telephoto lens (the fovea) across their entire field of view. Once he’s spotted prey, he turns his head toward it and uses his stereoscopic vision (input from both eyes simultaneously) to judge the distance he must cover and the speed at which he must approach.

Eagles’ eyelids close when they sleep. They also have an inner eyelid called the nictitating membrane that sweeps across the eye from front to back every three or four seconds, removing dirt and dust from the cornea. The membrane is translucent, so the eagle can see through it as it slides back and forth.

By Dr. Becker

When did the Bald Eagle became our National Bird

Most people don’t realize what It took for the Bald Eagle to become the United States National Bird. Back in 1792 when President George Washington was in office, the Declaration of Independence had just been signed, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were assigned the duty of finding a new National seal for the United States. At first Franklin’s idea was a design that featured a Biblical scene featuring Moses and Pharaoh. Ben Franklin also wanted the “Wild Turkey” to be our National Bird said that the Bald Eagle was more like a vulture. The Bald Eagle was lazy and often would steal his food from other birds and animals.  Jefferson wanted a scene depicting the children of Israel and two Anglo-Saxon mythical figures.Thomas Jefferson also wanted the “Peacock” as his choice due to it’s beauty when it spread/fanned out it’s feathers.  Adams wanted another mythical figure: Hercules. John Adams was in favor of the Bald Eagle . 

The three Founders brought in a designer, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière, to work with them. He rejected those ideas and designed a seal with a shield held by the Goddesses of Liberty and Justice. The designs were quickly rejected by the Continental Congress.

A third committee in 1782 came up with a complicated design that featured a crested imperial eagle and a dove as elements. The idea didn’t fly with Congress.

The frustrated lawmakers asked Charles Thomson, the Secretary of the Continental Congress, to settle the Great Seal issue. It was Thomson who made sure the American Bald Eagle was the focus of the front of the Great Seal, while using the pyramid and eye design from the third committee as the back of the seal.

Benefits of Camp Activities to a Person’s Well-Being

Benefits of Camp Activities to a Person’s Well-Being

The modern world is constantly moving. Busy men and women walk the streets in different uniforms – ranging from corporate attires to construction gears, ready to engage with their respective occupations every day. However, some people try to keep up with the world’s relentless pace without regard to their health. They work until their bodies wear out, which in turn jeopardizes their own well-being.

In this restless world, there are times when one needs some break away from the routines of daily life. When considering a leisure activity, one should choose an enjoyable and relaxing pursuit. One activity fits the description – camping.

Clean, Fresh Air

Studies show that an extra intake of oxygen releases serotonin, a chemical messenger which stabilizes the mood of a person. Because camp activities are usually held in a place close to nature, people get to breathe in clean, fresh air. Additionally, outdoor activities can enhance digestion, improve blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system.

Most of the working people live in cities where pollution abounds. Campsites provide low levels of pollutants, so a breath of fresh air every now and then can give out serious health benefits to a person.

Exercise for the Brain and Body

This is probably the most significant feature of a camp activity – exercise. The body of a person burns about 200 calories an hour just by fishing alone. However, most camps are composed of several other physical activities like biking and hiking so the body is continuously moving. These activities help the blood circulate better, and helps strengthens the muscles. Moreover, there are also mental exercises, especially during team-building activities. Puzzles and problems must be dealt with instantaneously, so a person’s mind is trained to think under pressure.

Reduced Stress

Sources of stress, such as traffic, office works, deadlines, and other obligations, can wear out the physical and mental condition of a person. Engaging in stress-free activities such as camping can reduce the amount of stress handled by a person.

Moreover, spending more time under the sun can reduce the melatonin level in the body. Melatonin is a chemical messenger associated with tiredness and feelings of depression. Enjoyable camp activities not only lower the level of melatonin, but also improve the mood and increase the tendency to be happy.

Socialization and Quality Time

Many camps are held by different organizations such as the Girl Scout Troops. This activity enables members to meet new people and to create friendships. Moreover, their socialization skills are honed because the people they interact with come from different places with diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Lastly, families who participate in camping trips can enjoy quality time and can strengthen their relationship. Family activities can include fishing, hiking, swimming, and even just sitting across a bonfire toasting marshmallows. These create priceless memories and bring people closer.

Camp activities produce many benefits to a person’s total well-being. Moreover, they provide a unique experience to everybody, especially to those who cannot find time to enjoy themselves. Everybody deserves a little break away from regular life routines and camping might just be the perfect get-away activity.

Grab Some Fishing Gear and Go Fishing!

If you ever find yourself looking for a new hobby, give fishing a try! Fishing is not only fun, it is relaxing, and a sport you can do alone, or with family and friends! All you need to do is get some fishing gear together, decide where to go, and get out there and catch some fish!

First things first, get yourself some fishing gear! A tackle box, a variety of supplies to fill it, and a fishing pole are what you will need to enjoy your time at the lake. Picking out these items is fun and will get you pumped up to go spend some time reeling in all types of fish! Make the choices fit who you are, the style and type of fish you are going for will help you decide. There are so many benefits to fishing that it will be sure to become one of your favorite pass times! Spending time in the outdoors with the fresh air, soaking in the beauty as you listen to the wildlife that surrounds you, it is good for the soul! And catching fish is so much fun, because there are so many varieties of fish to go for. Reaching into your personal tackle box, filled with all the fishing gear you carefully selected, along with the happy feeling of accomplishment, will have you going home with a catch to be telling fish stories about to all your family and friends!

You don’t have to start big, just get yourself a tackle box that you like, and pick out enough fishing gear to get you started. A simple fishing pole will work to get you going, and basically that is all you need! Well, also a place to go fishing, but that is part of the fun, picking out where to go! Once you have caught your limit, the nest part you get to enjoy is preparing some yummy recipes with your fish, and there are a lot of them! Experiment with it, try a few recipes and soon you will find a favorite one! Finding a favorite dish will also help you to know what type of fish you will be fishing for most often, and make it easier to pick out which fishing supplies you will want to fill your tackle box, and what type of fishing pole you will have the most luck with.

Imagine yourself, after a stressful day or week, coming home and looking forward to something that will lift your spirits, that will help you to relax, and that will give you time to reflect by yourself, or spend that quality time with important people in your life. You grab your tackle box, filled with all the gear you picked out, along with your fishing pole, and you head off to your favorite fishing spot. Your mood is instantly better, the fresh air feels amazing, and you can’t help but smile. Sound good? Give it a try, and soon you will find yourself thinking of the next time you get to go out and cast a line!

Why is Camping So Popular?

Camping in the great outdoors is becoming more and more popular. With people in urban areas wanting to get themselves and their families out of the city and into the fresh air, camping is what they are choosing. Is camping a sport? Well not in the sense of how we think of conventional sports, but it can incorporate a lot of outdoor activities.

Most campgrounds are near water and that gives campers a lot of opportunity to participate in water sports such as swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, etc. When searching for a place to take your family camping, try to find campgrounds that are on or near bodies of water. Almost always there are places to rent canoes and boats and other watercraft. The fun never stops when you’re camping near water.

Another activity that can be done while camping is hiking. Hiking is a great form of exercise and a great way to see nature first hand. Some people incorporate camping into their hiking, setting up camp alone hiking trails. If you are camping at a campground look for nature trails, they are very common in wooded areas. Hiking is also a great family activity. Make a picnic lunch at camp and make hiking an all day event.

Probably my favorite thing about camping is the campfire. Nothing seems to be better than sitting with family and friends around a campfire. The fire seems to mesmerize and relax you. The smell of the smoke takes you instantly back to other times when you had enjoyed a camping trip. Another fun thing about campfires is all the tasty snacks you can cook over the open fire. Roasted marshmallows seem to be the favorite. Smores are fun to make as a family and are very tasty too. Hotdogs cooked over a campfire seem to taste a little bit better then normal. Honestly I think everything seems to taste better when cooked outside. On a more serious not about campfires, make sure you check your campgrounds fire guidelines before lighting a fire. You may have to provide your own wood. There also may be certain rules about gathering wood from around your site.

Some of my best sleep has been while I was camping. The fresh air and the sounds of nature seem to sooth you to a deep sense of relaxation. If you can I recommend a night spent under the stars. If you don’t want to do that or can not, a leak proof tent will do just fine. There are many varieties of tents available to you. Choose one with ease of set up and one that has enough room for occupants and their gear. Again check the parks guidelines, some sites only allow tents and some only allow camper trailers.

The most important thing to remember when going camping is, Have Fun!

Fishing Hobby Isn’t Just a Hobby, It’s So Much More

Fishing has turned from just being a hobby into being a sport. It is one sporting activity that keeps its practitioners physically and mentally fit. As it helps in burning off calories. It is also good for the well being of the total man.Just like every sports practitioner or athlete out there, anglers also have their code and creed of the fishing hobby sport. Anglers ought to sleep enough, eat well, study, and train.

Lack of sleep and also voluntarily denying one’s self sleep, affects the performance of anglers, as it makes one lose concentration during fishing hobby. Not getting enough sleep hours under the belt is very detrimental to the anglers fishing game. This is because it also slows down the reflexes. And you find yourself taking brief naps in the boat.

Eating a balanced diet is very vital for those who participate in fishing hobby as a sport. From making healthy eating choices such as eating snacks like eggs bacon, coffee and other good snacks, all combine to give you the right kind of vitamins and minerals. But it is not advisable for those participating in fishing hobby to eat bananas.

Most anglers actually eat healthier foods than those who participate in other sports. You can find an angler getting a granola bar and some other healthy energy-giving snacks, meanwhile those in other sports eat junk foods for snack.

What many fail to realize is that fishing requires lots of focus, training and more in order to get the best out of it. And even science has proven this to be true.

Virtually every sports known to man has some way of exerting cardiovascular workouts. So it is funny when many still feel or think that fishing is just some activity where you sit coolly and cast your hoot into the water, waiting for a fish to get hooked on the bait. But fishing is way more than that.

Fishing involves the physical exertion of the body and mind just like every other sport. Being able to navigate rough slippery terrains all in a bid to find a good fishing spot, goes on to pose a challenge to the balance of even the best of anglers. It is also evident in the way one has to hike uphill-wards on steep slopes all in a bid to find that great spot to bury one’s fishing line. The muscular strength it requires to pull out some big catches, is also physical exertion and exercise. The test of precision and accuracy in the way one balances, via hand and eye coordination, is as is seen in other sports such as golf. The strength that fishing gives to the shoulders, triceps, biceps, wrists, forearms and hands are all proof that fishing is a sport.

Fishing is seen as a refreshingly calming, low-impact sporting activity that routinely improves the health of trauma suffering patients. In order that they regain their vitality and strength, and then go about their normal duties. Fly fishing and fly tying have been used in recent times to help injured military veterans recuperate.

A Complete Camping Checklist for New Campers

Is your long awaited camping trip with your friend finally becoming a reality? You, for sure must have started visiting online and offline stores that equip themselves with camping equipment especially when you do not own any of them. Well, don’t get baffled by the wide range of camping equipment as you may not require all of what the stores suggest. If you start picking up everything that comes in the way, you are sure to end up with the things that are not even required for the trip. Here is a complete checklist that you may utilise to purchase the necessary equipment for your camping.

Waterproof tent: Make sure you are buying a tent that does not soak water or cramped during hazardous weather conditions. Don’t purchase a large tent if there aren’t too many people travelling. Focus on finding a waterproof tent for two people and ensure that the tent is lightweight and easy to open up whenever required.

Lights: It is always better to set the campfire near your tent to keep you warm as well as keep danger at bay. However, you should be equipped with minimum light sources. Various online websites sell electric lights, LEDs and dual fuel lamps that are easy on the pocket without you having to fear about running out of wood. Make sure you carry batteries with you as it is the ultimate power supply.

First aid kit: Insect repellents and band-aids are the most important elements that should be included in your first aid kit. You can also carry gels and medicines to save you from mosquito bites. Carrying emergency medicines can help you well especially when you are out to a place that has zero connectivity with the world.

Portable cooler: If you have decided to stay out in the camp for a few days, you should store enough food and keep it in the refrigerator. You will find online stores selling portable fridges that will easily stack in the rear end of your car and save your food from getting contaminated.

Bedding: You need to find small yet comfortable bedding for yourself. Pick the right one based on the weather you are going for the trip. Make sure the bedding is lightweight and provides you with enough space for stretching your legs.

Reliable cooking equipment: No matter how you want to cook while camping, you should buy a portable cooking pot for preparing the food. It will be foolish from your side to depend on the campfire for cooking as it is restricted in several camping grounds. You need to carry at least one cooking pot and a stove along with sufficient fuel to prepare necessary food.

Portable camping chairs and tables: Camping is not always about staying in the tents. You need to get out from your den to enjoy the nature and allow its beauty to seep into you. Therefore, carrying a foldable table and a chair will let you feel like home while stretching your legs with the coffee mug on the table.

Shovel: You are not required to carry a heavy or giant shovel with you for the camping, but taking a small one will prove to be worthy. You will quickly find a small and portable shovel in any camping store that will help you in digging up the small holes to set up the tent and fix it to the ground.