The World of Wild Edibles

seapurslaneflowr-097by John Ubele

A few months ago I was reading a book about permaculture called, “Gaia’s Garden”, and came across a section in it covering wild edibles. I’ve been gardening since I was a teenager so I was excited to find out that some wild plants (also known as weeds) are edible. Having lived in Florida all my life gardening can be challenging here, especially when insects come in and ravage the crops.

After reading the brief section on wild edibles I decided to order a book called, “Forager’s Harvest”. The book is very well written and profiles over 50 wild edible plants throughout North America. There’s also a section in the back which gives excellent examples on how to identify plants by their leaves, stems and other parts.

I decided to educate myself more after reading the book so I searched for videos on YouTube covering wild edibles. The best ones I came across were from a channel called, “Eat The Weeds”, which is operated by Deane Jordan.

“I started teaching wild edibles because I wanted to make pollution personal. It’s one thing to tell people the environment is polluted, it’s another to show them a tree full of fruit they cannot eat because it’s too close to the Interstate.” Jordan said Sunday in an e-mail exchange with me.

I was delighted to find that Jordan’s channel has 105 videos, 101 of which profile different wild edibles. His other videos show how to make cider and vinegar, build a solar oven, and how to eat mole crabs and coquina.

While many of the plants Jordan profiles are native to Florida most can be found across North America. Jordan also has a website called eattheweeds.com where he gives a thorough write up about each plant he’s profiled in his videos.

“Foraging does more than put food on the table. It makes a person not only more aware of their surroundings but nature then becomes a resource rather than something to be controlled or eliminated,” Jordan added

Thanks to Jordan’s videos I’ve been able to properly identify three plants in my area. They are Creeping cucumber, Stinging nettle and Purslane, I’ve tasted all of these and have recommended them to my friends.

For thousands of years humans have been eating wild edibles and it’s very likely that they’ll become popular again given the state of our rapidly deteriorating economy.

Happy Foraging!

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