The Western society is pretty picky about its food. We’re used to going to the store and getting everything we need right there. Even our salad is washed and ready to go on our plates! While this is quite nice, it has taken out the fun in selecting our food. Have you ever grown a tomato plant and eaten its fruits once they were ready? Have you ever walked through a forest, collected and eaten berries? Have you ever eaten weird plants that you didn’t even know they were edible? A while back we gave you a few tips on how to grow a herb garden and today it’s time we took a look at 10 plants you didn’t know were edible.
WARNING: Do not eat any plants you don’t know, just based on a few pictures you saw on the internet. Check with a local expert before cooking and eating any plants.
Smilax is also known as briars or greenbriers and it’s one of the most hated plants in the world. This plant will take over your garden and simply not let go. The thorny vines will cut your legs while you go camping and you’ll end up bleeding quite a lot. But did you know that the new shoots of this plant that appear in the spring are edible? Their flavor is very similar to that of asparagus.
9. Prickly Pears
If you’ve got the guts to go on a harvest spree of prickly pears then you deserve to eat these delicious plants. There are many species of these prickly pears, and all are edible. They range in flavor from green peppers to green beans, some are bit saltier than others, while some are quite bland. Burn the spines off over an open flame or cut the spines with a knife and enjoy!
The beautyberry is a wonderful plant that looks so fancy, you would think that it’s poisonous. Well, it’s not poisonous, but the flavor is quite bland. It’s great for jams or syrups. Did you know that their leaves make great mosquito repellents? The American beautyberry really is a versatile plant!
7. Elephant Ears
The most common decorative plant in America: elephant ears! But did you know that some types of elephant ears are also edible? The issue with them is that it’s hard to find the right type of plant, unless you do your own planting. We don’t encourage you to start testing them out for yourself, because many of the not edible ones can seriously burn your throat.
6. Canna Lilies
Canna lilies won’t burn your throat and they’re dead easy to identify. It’s quite hard to get them mixed up for the dangerous and poisonous calla lilies, but it can happen. The Canna lilies are a distant relative of bananas and ginger. Their petals are great in salads and have a mild lettuce flavor. The roots are also edible, but will take a long time to cook.
5. Pine Trees
Out of all the plants you didn’t know were edible this one’s the most peculiar. Pine trees are edible! In case of emergency, of course, we’re not saying you should munch on pine trees all day long. The needles are a good source of vitamin C and the pine nuts are a delicacy around the world. Even the bark can be eaten!
Cattails are a great food when you’re out in the wild starving. The inside of the stems can be eaten and the pollen for mature heads is also really great. Go ahead, find some cattails and try them, you will be surprised at how palatable the inside of their stems really is.
3. Wood Sorrel
Sorrels are common throughout the United States, but the wood sorrel is a very good and edible plant. They have a tangy and tasty flavor that can resemble lemons. The leaves make a nice addition to salads, soups and even stir-fries, but don’t try to fill up with them, it’s going to take forever!
Pigweed is horrible weed, but a delicious horrible weed. The pigweed is a relative of the amaranth and its seeds are just as delicious as the amaranth seeds. Boil them in some water and add them to salads or in soup. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and they have a mild flavor. Pigweed tea is also a possibility!
Nettles aren’t just edible, they are absolutely delicious! Pick about a bag full of the stuff, wash it well and boil the plants for 5 minutes. Remove from hot water, use a hand immersion blender to cut them up, heat up some oil and fry them for a couple of minutes. Add some flour and water to thicken them and at the end add some cut up garlic. It’s going to be the best thing you’ve ever had, we promise you!
Are you going to try any of these plants you didn’t know were edible? Do you know more edible plants that people might not know were edible? Share them with us in the comment section below. We love learning new things!