ForumGeneral Discussion ► Plants besides vegetables that taste good
Pine trees and crab apples.
  
Pickleweed and Wild Mustard

EDIT : Ooh, and Fennel seeds.

There's a nature preserve on the bay near where I live, and there's quite a few edible, naturally-growing plants there
  
Best-tasting wild edibles are purslane, clover, wild mustard, and young plantain. Worst-tasting ones are old dandelions (besides the flowers), wild grape leaves and, in my opinion, bee balm. No me gusta el spicy.
Pine makes pretty good tea. If the taste is too strong for you, throw out the water from the first boil and to another batch.
And of course raspberries and blackberries and mulberries.
  
Definitely agree on purselane. You say you don’t like dandelions though? Try eating the greens in a salad specifically with some vinegar. It’s really good that way.
  
Oh, dandelions are just fine before they bloom. After they flower... Ugh.
It's a common trend with a lot of wild plants-tasty when young, bitter when older.
  
Lol I think that’s true of most flowering plants. When they’re flowering, they have to produce and absorb from the soil a shitload more nutrients and make a lot of more acids ... neither of which taste good. Also, hey, dude fried pine cambium! This guy calls it an emergency food, but he was probably a bit too timid to call it a bountiful delicacy.

Also, try eating the petals of flowers. They can be a tasty snack. If you're in someone's garden and they're growing roses - yum. Also violets taste good too. Just don't eat too many. Also, you'd have to be some kinda weirdo to eat aloe but it's not too bad sometimes.
  
I eat the flowers all the time. Clover flowers are pretty good, too.

Never thought to fry the cambium! Admitted I haven't eaten it more than once or twice, since it is damaging to the tree to harvest. I've heard poplar cambium is much more palatable.

You might be a little southwest from it, but keep your eye out for Bee balm. I'm not sure if you can eat a ton of it at once, but it does have an interesting flavor. Not many wild edibles are spicy, at least not around here.

Also I forgot about Sumac. I have raved about Sumac a few times recently, but damn it's good and plentiful and easy to harvest.
  
Yeah, the tree will not be happy with you for harvesting its cambium. My advice is to break off the smaller growth. Not necessarily the outermost green limbs where the needles are growing, but the browner parts below the green twiggy parts. Break those off and take a sharp knife and dissect it for the cambium. The tree won't be pissed off at you for that. You can even go to some of the smaller limbs and not just the twiggy parts.

Oh, but if you see a tree that's infected with pine beetles, go ahead and take the cambium out. That thing needs to die if it has beetles. You might not get too much cambium from beetle infested pine trees, but if it's a big enough tree, hey, there's a lot. If you see a pine tree that has little pimple like tubes/pillars of sap on the outside, if you see its needles are a deep red/brown while they're still attached, and especially if you break off the outer bark and see these S shaped galleries (scroll down just a bit), then put that tree to the sword. I'm not sure how far the longleaf pine forest extends north, but I bet you have southern pine beetles at least somewhat where you are. They like any kind of pine tree.

Thanks for telling me about bee balm. It looks like it occurs in all parishes in Louisiana, but probably just sparsely. Come to think of it, I've definitely seen it before but I just haven't taken notice of it.

I'm gonna try experimenting with cypress after I do some reading around. Sure smells amazing. I wouldn't want to ever hurt a bald cypress tree, but the trees never care when you rip off some of their balls.

Oh and if you see any Loblolly pines, do me a personal favor and do whatever you think may kill them. I'll take all their cambium.

EDIT: Actually now that I think about it, you should be able to still get a good amount of cambium from beetle infested trees. They only hang out beneath the outer bark and don't intrude into the tree. I've just never stopped to try because it's thankfully been a while since I've seen beetle infested trees.
Kylljoy said:
Pickleweed and Wild Mustard

EDIT : Ooh, and Fennel seeds.

There's a nature preserve on the bay near where I live, and there's quite a few edible, naturally-growing plants there
Sorry I didn't respond earlier. What's the name of the nature preserve? That's really cool. I live near a national forest is why I constantly see stuff.
  
It's just called the Baylands Nature Preserve. It's right on the edge of town. A little bit of marsh, a converted landfill with some art installations, an old swimming pool now taken over by the ducks, a small dam, a dock for wind surfing, a conservatory center with some activities for smaller children, and a little boardwalk that goes to the edge of the bay.

Tons of pickleweed grows there. I find it's best while still green (It becomes too salty when red). There's also a large patch of fennel that grows near the parking lot, and wild mustard is everywhere. There's also some honeysuckle, fat hen, and wildberries I'll occasionally find, but they're not as prominent. My grandmother used to work in the conservation center as a volunteer and we would walk around and she'd show me the edible and non-edible plants in the area.

I'll drive there every couple of weeks; Enjoy the fresh air, sample some of the plants, do a bit of hiking. It's pretty nice.
  
Thought I was editing when I was actually quoting...


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I FORGOT ABOUT LAMB'S QUARTERS. :O Absolutely stunning. Like Spinach, but better. And really easy to identify.
  
Ooh, Cattails. Fry 'em up with a bit of butter and they come out soft and juicy.
  
Camellia sinensis
  
Kylljoy said:
Ooh, Cattails. Fry 'em up with a bit of butter and they come out soft and juicy.
Wait, legit? Awww dude I have to try that. There's tons of cattails in the town I moved to. Wait, what kinds of cattails? If you don't know the name, just give me a description of what they look like. Doesn't have to be a great description. There's several in Louisiana.
gws said:
Camellia sinensis
Matricaria chamomilla
  
Mentha spicata
  
Fragaria virginiana
  
Wait, legit? Awww dude I have to try that. There's tons of cattails in the town I moved to. Wait, what kinds of cattails? If you don't know the name, just give me a description of what they look like. Doesn't have to be a great description. There's several in Louisiana.

I'm pretty sure any type of cattail works. Search up "Cattail Recipes" online, there's quite a few of them. Pretty sure the entire plant is edible too, including pollen.

Never tried the cap on top, but I've heard it's pretty good. The stalk is my favorite part by far, it's good in salads or by itself.
  
I prefer the colloquial name "swamp sausage". Far more appetizing.
  
All fruits taste good and they aren't vegetables.
but that's beside the point
  
What's your favorite? I love me some pears. All sandy and sugary.

Idea for a meal in the woods: Fried pine cambium from new, young growth on a pine tree. Fried cattails. Cooked kudzu. Roasted cottonmouths. And a pear (byop). Eatin' like a woodland king.
  
Roasted cottonmouths

As in the snake? How would you even go around getting one, much less preparing it and cooking it?
  
You can cook neddles and they taste just like any other lettuce
  
Kylljoy said:
Roasted cottonmouths

As in the snake? How would you even go around getting one, much less preparing it and cooking it?
Nah, I've never cooked one, but here's how you get one dead: You'll, or I'll, usually find them basking on the sandy banks of small creeks or hanging out in the undergrowth around bayous. When you see it, find a really big and long stick, and smack that motherfucker as hard as you can. We may be thinking of different snakes. I'm thinking of water moccasins. That's how you kill any snake.

Like I said, never cooked one but I bet they'd taste pretty good. All them crunchy bones.

And as for cooking it, I mean, I guess the same way you'd cook anything. Pan. Oven. Skewer and put it over a fire or other source of heat. Cut that fucker's head off first for sure though. Slice it down the middle first and gut it. You know, take out its stomach contents and any other organs you wouldn't want to eat.
  
Tubers are an often overlooked source of calories. Staaaarch.
That being said, some water plants do have defense mechanisms in the form of basically tiny bits of fiberglass. So if your mouth starts hurting after eating a bit, don't eat any more.
  
Yeah, it's the same with spinach actually; why eating too much of it can be bad for your kidneys. They're called raphides, the needles. They're made out of calcium oxalate. Cooking them works. In fact, you know how they suggest soaking taro over night? Same reason. Cooking breaks down the oxalate ions, soaking the taro just makes them dissolve.
  
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