I finished reading the Hunger Games, and like so many other bloggers, I wanted to write something to help digest the material. However, gardening and Hunger Games don’t exactly co-mingle. Not true! If I were picked to survive for two weeks with just myself I’m not even sure I could do it. Forget the flaming arrows and wild animals. Could I survive the lack of food, water, and loneliness? I’m not sure I could even survive in my own backyard. Of course, when my garden grows bigger I’d have a little nourishment. So, my hats off to anyone who has been stranded in the woods and knows how to survive. How many times do we read about a family stranded and then found, or a Boy Scout found alive who lived off the land?
I remember my grandfather used to take us kids hiking to the top of a mountain near his cottage and we were to help him find edible mushrooms. I never got the hang of how one tan mushroom looked different from the next. Apparently, he could tell which ones we could eat and which were dangerous. Now, I wonder if he was pulling my leg and it was just a great way to kill time. Either way, they all looked the same to me. So what’s a girl to do who’s lost in the woods?
First, go for the obvious: wild blackberries, blueberries, mushrooms (if you know the difference). Did you know there are weeds growing in your own yard that you can eat?! Don’t kill them off, pull them up and toss a mean salad. (Special thanks to my husband who recently shared this tidbit with me on edible weeds).
1. Dandelion. Yes, that #1 annoyance that people constantly spray with pesticides and pull out by hand is edible—flower and leaves! Grab them now in early spring and they’re the sweetest (bitterness comes after they’re more mature). Dandelions are loaded with beta-carotene!
2. Purslane. This is another common weed and often hard to kill so dig in with your fork. Use them in place of spinach. Purslane is loaded with vitamins A, C, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Red Clover. This flower springs up in many yards and contains phytoestrogens (chemicals in the plant that act as human estrogen) which are believed to help fight colon and prostate cancer. The flowers are also high in protein. White clover is also edible but not as nutritious.
If you think you’ll be getting lost anytime soon, brush up on the many other edible weeds growing right in your neighbor’s backyard. Of course, it wouldn’t be in your yard! And if so, we won’t tell. [Wink wink.]
“And may the odds be ever in your favor!”