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Eat The Weeds

October 17, 2011

Wild Edibles

wild sorrel

You know how I keep mentioning that you should identify your preparedness goals, consider back-up ways to make a living, and get training now while it’s available?  Well, I took my own advice recently.

Beautyberry

Beautyberry

I have long been a fan of Green Deane Jordan of EatTheWeeds.  He has fantastic videos on YouTube (a million views now) to show you the many many edible plants in just about everyone’s neighborhood.  He clearly shows the identifying features of each plant, tells the time of year to find it, which parts to eat, and how to prepare them.  He has a corresponding website with a wealth of information also.

Recently, while looking around on his site, I noticed a schedule of classes.  Be still my heart!

He gives guided tours around college campuses, local parks, etc – “regular places”, not cultivated farms- and identifies the wild plants just there for the eating.

My mother-in-law and I went recently and it was one of the best time investments I’ve made in preparedness (personal instruction usually is).  From my notes, I count 62 plants that he taught us to identify, most of which were edible.  Those that were not, we learned to identify so we did not accidentally eat them.

Elderberry top / Poison Hemlock bottom

Elderberry top / Poison Hemlock bottom

Hurray!!  I think I finally know for sure how to tell the difference between elderberry and poison hemlock!!  That’s a mistake you don’t want to make because it would be your last!

Deane is really good at speaking in plain terms, mentioning both the Latin name and the common names for each plant so you can do more study later.  He’s been doing this for a while now, so he has come up with ways to make the material memorable.

He taught us that “sedges have edges” and that (as an aside) solid colored grasshoppers are safe to eat, but don’t eat any that are multi-colored.  He warned us which shrubs tend to harbor hornets’ nests.  He told us about the ways to process acorns to remove the tannic acid.  We learned about which plants make good natural bug repellents when rubbed on the skin.  I could go on and on.  This class was the best preparedness bargain I’ve found in ages!

Wild Cucumber

Wild Cucumber

We sampled bunches of things (and lived the tell the tale!), but I think my favorite was the wild cucumber.  They were so much better tasting than cultivated ones and they didn’t make me burp for hours.

I have been studying edible and medicinal plants on my own for years and I have learned a lot, but I just couldn’t be certain about many of them (like elderberry vs poison hemlock) until I saw them side by side and had the differences pointed out to me in person.

Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel

I highly recommend that you consider attending one of Deane’s classes or inquire where you live and see if you can find a teacher.  Deane travels (within reason) to teach and will come identify plants where you live if you have a group interested in taking a class.  (Hey Jarhead, he travels to Maine occasionally).  I would love to have him walk our property with us and help us identify what we have.  You’d better believe Joe and I would be taking notes and pictures and pinning signs to the plants!

Be sure to check out his site and videos.  They will be well-worth your time!

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9 Comments on “Eat The Weeds”

  1. millenniumfly Says:

    Can’t say I’m ready to do that quite yet but I know I need to learn regardless.

    Reply

  2. Todd Says:

    It’s great that you found this class. I found one this weekend on accident. In Houston, Texas – visit http://www.foragingtexas.com.

    Todd
    http://www.prepperwebsite.com

    Reply

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