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Thread: Wild Food

  1. #1
    TheBringer
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    Question Wild Food

    There are plants averywhere, growing wildly where I live and I want to know which ones are edible.

    Why go to the store and buy food when you can get it for free from nature? There is a tree that bears hard black berries with white stuff inside. Are they poisonous? Can anyone tell me?

    Also my neighbors have an agave plant in their front yard. I really want to ask them if I can take a leaf or two. I'd rather it be one in my yard though.

  2. #2
    perfect RedWellies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Quote TheBringer View Post
    There is a tree that bears hard black berries with white stuff inside. Are they poisonous? Can anyone tell me?
    Can you post a pic? Then someone might recognise the tree/berries. Be careful though and don't eat anything until you're sure it's OK.
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #3
    PainterLady
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    here is a link with some edible plants in Cali:
    http://mnhc.ucsc.edu/edibleplants.html

  4. #4
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Be careful when picking berries at knee level.
    Here in France foxes have been carrying a disease, I'm sorry I can't remember the name) which is transmitted in their urine on to low branches of berry bushes. People have become seriously ill from eating blackberries that were infected like this.
    I'm sorry to put a downer on this. I love fresh berries too. Maybe this has just happened in France but it would be worth checking. I will try and find more info.

  5. #5
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    The illness I have heard about is the fox tapeworm (echinococcose multilocularis) can cause fatal liver infection.
    There is info. at this address :
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15978474

  6. #6
    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    The Bringer - I'd consider investing in a field guide book you can actually take out with you to identify safe or harmful wild foods.

    I don't know if Roger Phillips would be any good to you - I have this book plus several more of his, but I think they're mostly quite UK-centric. Very clearly illustrated and readable though, and I'd recommend something along these lines.

  7. #7
    rantipole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    You can also try the Peterson Guide to Edible Plants and the Peterson Guide to Medicinal Plants. I love them and they are very helpful. You can find them on Amazon.com.

    Cheers,
    rant
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." --Yoda

  8. #8
    cvC
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    I have frutarian aspirations and don't know what fruitarians say about edible flowers, but, for what it's worth, here's a list of them:

    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Edibl...lowersMain.htm

  9. #9
    PainterLady
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Quote auntierozzi View Post
    Be careful when picking berries at knee level.
    Here in France foxes have been carrying a disease, I'm sorry I can't remember the name) which is transmitted in their urine on to low branches of berry bushes. People have become seriously ill from eating blackberries that were infected like this.
    I'm sorry to put a downer on this. I love fresh berries too. Maybe this has just happened in France but it would be worth checking. I will try and find more info.

    Luckily we don't have that over here yet. We have the Hanti virus in mice droppings, that's all. I think we killed most all the foxes over here in Amerikill.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Deadly nightshade, and Ivy have poisonous (to humans) black berries. Yew has poisonous red berries, also hemlock. Get a good identifier book, or better still an old neighbour who can teach you.
    My sig file contains some info too.
    Last edited by herbwormwood; Dec 16th, 2006 at 04:36 PM. Reason: berry colour
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Seaside
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Quote TheBringer View Post
    There is a tree that bears hard black berries with white stuff inside. Are they poisonous? Can anyone tell me?
    Is it an evergreen tree? I would generally stay away from any berries growing on an evergreen tree. Sometimes animals or birds can be a guide to what is safe, but they are able to eat things which are poisonous to people. Bitter tastes almost always indicate toxicity, but it is risky to try even a tiny bit to see whether it is bitter or not. That sort of thing is mostly for someone lost in the wilderness without any books to refer to, and who is starving. Have you heard of Steve Brill? He does foraging classes in the New York area. You might be able to find someone who does it where you live. That would be even better than using a book, if you are really serious about it. I know of many of the wild edible plants in the Bay Area, but California ecosystems are so diverse it would be hard to advise you on what to look for.

  12. #12
    TheBringer
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Wow I really appreciate the response!! I did not know that about the foxes...very interesting. Yes the tree is an evergreen. I am pretty sure the berriies are not edible. I would love to get a guide book for that. I'll get a picture of it too if I can. Thanks for the links. For now I'll just live off my meals. It would be nice to grow some native plants in my yard. Is there a home garden thread?

  13. #13
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    There is this one, today in my garden thread.

    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7507

  14. #14
    Kirska
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    Heh... I usually just take a tiny bite of whatever it is, and if I don't die, I eat a larger bite. If I don't die again, I eat more, and so on.

    It's quite effective. Just don't eat things with bright, violent colors. XD

  15. #15
    TheBringer
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    Default Re: Wild Plants and Berries

    You actually do that!? That sounds very risky to me. How many plants have you tried this with? Why should the vibrant ones be avoided?

  16. #16
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    Red face The Roadkill Chef

    Did anyone see this on ITV3 (I think it was) last night? I watched it purely out of interest. Funnily enough, the majority off the program was more about eating food which is easily available to your location. For example, seaweed which he picked from the beach, berries which he also picked and put into gin, nettles which he made into nettle soup and mushrooms (including this rather strange giant puffball mushroom). I would love to know more about this lol, it would cut my shopping bills right down, but for example, how do you know which berries are safe to eat, and what mushrooms won't take you on a trip, and is all seaweed safe to eat
    Last edited by flutterby; Jan 20th, 2007 at 06:41 PM. Reason: this was the 1st post in a similar thread

  17. #17
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    There are illustrated books to help you identify edible wild plants - I think this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/Food-Free-Ri.../dp/0002201593 is meant to be quite good.

    I would be careful about mushrooms because in a few cases edible ones are easily confused with poisonous ones. I think there are escorted foraging trips you can go on in the autumn, which might be a good way to learn. Puffballs are quite easy to spot anyway

  18. #18
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Hi Vegandaniel,
    It is really important to check out how clean the sea water is around where you are picking your seaweed. Unfortunately there is a lot of pollution in some areas. I hope that the waters are cleaner around your way than ours...
    Good luck with harvesting the good stuff!

  19. #19
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    That's a good point, auntierozzi. ISTR the dried seaweed I buy is supposed to come from somewhere in the middle of the Channel, which one hopes is well away from sewer outlets etc

  20. #20
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Hello there Harpy,
    Yes, that should be OK!
    Our local doctor told us that she sees so many cases of tummy bug in the summer round here that she advises against any fishing and especially shell fish collection and so I think that seaweed is to be avoided unfortunately for us.

  21. #21
    VegandanieL's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Well if seaweed and mushrooms are out of the window, has anyone tried nettle soup?? Mind you, most of the nettles round here are on footpaths which dog owners tend to use so its probably best to stay away from them aswell, oh, its a tough life =]

  22. #22
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    I've been wanting to for ages daniel, but for the problem you've just mentioned. As for seaweed from the middle of the channel, I think there probably is quite a bit of sewage there to be honest.

    Just have to wash and cook it well I suppose.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  23. #23
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    I think it's probably the Atlantic rather than the Channel, on reflection. You're probably right that it's not all that clean, but at least the pollution is a bit more dilute out there than on some UK beaches. Not sure whether washing solves the problem if it's contaminated because the undesirable substances may get inside the plant?

    Haven't found anything conclusive online although there's a bit about "seaweed safety" here http://www.ryandrum.com/seaxpan1.html

    Nettles are quite good - you just have to arrive before the dogs Seriously, I think you need the very young shoots rather than the manky old leaves.

  24. #24
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    By the way there are some wild food recipes here

    http://www.vegsoc.org/cordonvert/recipes/wildfood.html

    Not all vegan but probably adaptable.

  25. #25
    perfect RedWellies's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    I'll send you all some nettles in the spring! I end up with big areas here which I leave alone for the Peacock butterfly to lay her eggs.
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  26. #26
    peasant terrace max's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Nettle soup can be delicious. I think it needs some salt and plenty of garlic. Nettles are available in the UK when most other local veg is not (April/May) and it's a great source of iron. In fact, I read somewhere that you shouldn't eat nettles more than once a week for fear of an iron overdose!

    Lots more about nettles here:

    http://www.nettles.org.uk/
    We are saved in the end by the things that ignore us. Andrew Harvey

  27. #27
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    i love wild blackberries in the summer, but only pick them from the very top of the bushes to avoid the dog-related hazards!
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  28. #28
    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    If you give the patch a sniff, and wash the nettles after you've picked them, I would have thought that would help avoid dog-pee related mishaps.

    I've made nettle and potato soup a couple of years ago. The nettle flavour wasn't very strong, certainly not unpleasant. I also had some samples of leafu made from nettles and fat hen. I'm not sure if it was coincidence or not but I had a few spots and they seemed to clear up shortly after I'd eaten it.

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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    That show was great, I love that guy. See when he moved the badger so the other badgers could bury it? Aw.

  30. #30
    perfect RedWellies's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Nettles are supposed to be good for hay fever too. Wow, do we need a thread all about nettles? Maybe there is one?
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  31. #31
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    Quote Smell View Post
    That show was great, I love that guy. See when he moved the badger so the other badgers could bury it? Aw.
    I agree, he was nicer then some people, but he would of quite happily eaten that badger if it wasn't for the fact that it was covered in flies. Also when he was preparing and cooking the first two animals, he kept licking his lips, that was quite annoying.

    On a side not, I didn't know badgers got that big, I want one. I also want one of these



    How adorable is that

  32. #32
    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Roadkill Chef

    I think that looks freaky!

  33. #33
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wild Food

    We went out picking brambles and elderberries in an old quarry that is now a nature reserve. Also scored some tiny apples, which had a lovely balance of sweet/sour and a great texture.

    Cooked all that lot up together with a squeeze of lemon juice and sugar. Flavour was fantastic.

    Served it cold on a warm crumpet with ice cream. Glorious.

    Must get more and make jam!
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

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