Nature’s Nutrition

4 Wild Edibles, Their Nutrition and How to Find Them

Submitted by Marlena Stoddard

If you’re lost in the woods without any food, how can you keep yourself from starving while waiting for help? Sometimes unlikely sources of food can be the most nutritious. These four wild edibles will give you all the nutrients you need to stay alive when scrounging.

Cattail Roots

Cattails are the survivalist’s best friend. Cattail roots have plenty of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, B, C, and K.

Cattails can be found in any wet, marshy area, including drainage ditches alongside the road. You can also dig up the roots in the winter. Clean the roots before boiling them. You can also harvest starch from them or grind them to make flour. Eating them raw won’t hurt, either, but it can give you a stomachache.

Stinging Nettles

A cup of stinging nettles has almost 40 calories and nearly half of your daily recommended dose of calcium. It also has so much iron that it’s sometimes used to treat iron deficiencies.

Nettles grow anywhere that grass or weeds can. Look for their slightly hairy, serrated leaves—just make sure you wear gloves before you touch them.

Don’t eat raw nettle leaves—it’ll hurt! Blanch or steam the leaves to remove their sting. You can also use their leaves to make a very nutritious tea.

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Grasshoppers and crickets have a surprising amount of protein and are tasty when fried in butter or oil. Though, according to a Bethesda, Maryland, pest control company, you’ll probably want to remove their wings and spiky legs before you fry them up. In just 100 grams, these bugs can contain up to 20 grams of protein. That’s almost as much as ground beef. They also contain lots of calcium, iron, and fat.

Crickets and grasshoppers can be found in tall grass. Just listen for their telltale chirping. Grasshoppers are more nutritious but can be trickier to catch because they can fly. You may need a quick, silent approach or a net to catch them.

Bee and Fly Larvae

Larvae taste good baked or fried and have life-sustaining protein, amino acids, and fat.

You’ll find bee larvae if you break open a beehive or honeycomb. Honeybee larvae will also be surrounded by honey and royal jelly, which can provide even more nutrients. Getting stung can sometimes be life-threatening, though, so think twice before raiding a hive. On the other hand, fly larvae can be found anywhere there is decomposing material or manure. Once they’re cleaned off, they’re ok to eat.

Surviving Off Your Back Yard

Nature has everything you need to forage for food as long as you know where to look. Keep an eye out for wild edibles and do some research to find which plants and insects are native in your area.


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