Aside from eating meats, we have to have vegetables and fruits to keep a balanced healthy body. In providing yet another source of getting all the vitamins our body needs, eating nuts, seeds, and plants in all likelihood you’ve never heard of, or knew that they were edible.
Along many country roads, there exist familiar vegetables that grow abundantly and very few people pick them. Asparagus is one of those plants and is a great vegetable to eat for it is low in calories and high in antioxidants. It is a great source of vitamin A, B, C, K, as well as being rich in folate and dietary fiber.
You will also find wild scallions, better known as green onions, growing along the roadsides. This food is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol.
Cattail shoots grow around ponds or any other body of water. They taste like a combination of cucumber and zucchini. Cattails are a source of beta carotene, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C.
Lotus Flower Orach
Surprisingly, there are many flowering and leafy plants that we can choose from to make everything from soup to salads. For example, the entire plants of the orach and the lotus flower can be eaten. The entire chicory plant is edible. The roots are edible as well however but should be boiled.
Foxtail grass Phragmites reed
Grasses and reeds, namely foxtail grass and Phragmites’ reed can be eaten.
As far as berries are concerned there is an old saying to determine whether or not it is safe or poisonous to eat, and so we count the number of leaves: “Leaves of three, not for me. Leaves of four, have some more.” This rule is not always infallible, seek out recognizable berries first and avoid conspicuous ones entirely. In my state, mulberries, blackberries, and dewberries are safe to eat.
The following represents a list of different plants that are edible.
Sow thistle is an edible weed and is typically cooked and seasoned like boiled greens
- Wild persimmons. This delicious fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. One word of caution, don’t try to eat persimmons before they become ripe (soft), otherwise you will experience a bitter taste similar to that of eating a lemon.
- In rocky places you can find purslane. It has yellow flowers and is a low, trailing plant. It is use primarily in salads.
- A common edible plant is clover. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is a good source of Vitamins A and C.
- Found near natural or artificial water sources, broad leaf plantain plants can be found growing abundantly. It is traditionally served stuffed with rice, meats much in the way grape leaves are used.
- Chickweed can be found, not necessarily out in the countryside, but around potted plants, or along cracks in sidewalks. Chickweed is often eaten raw in salads.
Pecan, pine, and walnut trees can be found in the countryside and the meats from these nuts can be used in a variety of ways. Salads, by themselves, in cakes, pies, ice cream, to name a few.
- Pecans provide a good source of Vitamin E, and had anti-cancer effects. In addition, pecans have beta-sitosterol, a cholesterol lowering compound. Pecans can also lower bad cholesterol, LDL by 16%. Pecans also have higher antioxidant content than other nuts.
Walnuts, on the other hand, have omega-3 fatty acids which lower cholesterol. There are studies supporting that walnut oils helps to prevent the oncoming of Alzheimer’s disease and boost the ability to recall. Interestingly, walnuts contain more fatty acid than tuna and salmon and there is no mercury to worry about.
Pine nuts are actually seeds taken from a pine cone, and as such have a good source of polyunsaturated fat known as pinolenic acid. This acid is known as an appetite suppressor. Pine nuts also slow down the rate of how quickly your stomach empties, helping you feel full longer.
Often, you can find old abandon farm houses and homes that have vegetables still growing in gardens. It is not uncommon to find carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, okra, etc. Because of the lack of cultivation, you will find that these plants are stunted in growth, therefore yielding smaller size vegetables. Nevertheless, they are still edible.
© 2013 James Ian MacIntosh all rights reserved