This page is devoted to foraging and identifying edible plants, berries, nuts, and fruit for wilderness survival. All the information shared here is verified through multiple sources including my own experience. Pictures are my own.
2-hour Edible Plants & Trees Hike
$39 per person. Ages 12 and up. Youth must be accompanied by paying adult.
Join us for a hike through the forest, mountains and fields identifying dozens of edible plants and useful trees for survival, wilderness living, and foraging at home.
You'll learn what plants are edible, which ones to avoid, and how to harvest plants and trees for making cordage, building shelters, and using for making fire.
Involves moderate hiking, rain or shine.
What to bring: sturdy shoes/boots (no sandals), hiking stick (if desired), rain gear, bottled water. to 15 hikers....these hikes fill up fast!
Watch for 2019 Schedule COMING SOON! Registration begins in January 2019.
Canaan Valley State Park WV
Cacapon State Park WV
Burke Lake Park Fairfax County VA
Stellaria media Caryophyllaceae
Stems and leaves edible. Great, mild tasting salad greens. 96 Cal per cup; 15 Carbs. Contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, silica, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, Beta carotene, Vitamin A, C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Ascorbic Acid, and niacin.
Plantago major Plantaginaceae
Tender winter or spring leaves edible. Leaves make nutritious vegetable stock. Contains calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C, K. Crushed leaf poultice good for cuts or scrapes. Tannin in juice constricts blood vessels, stops bleeding. Al-lan-to-in promotes healing of injured cells and organic emulsifiers soften skin.
Barbarea vulgaris Brassicaceae
Grows throughout winter even under the snow if you know where to look. Biennial plant with basal rosette of dark green leaves in first year...best leaves. Boil in change of water if bitter. High in Vitamin C.
Vaccinium corymbosum Ericaceae
Berries 1/2” to 3/4” are white and ripen to blue/indigo in mid-late summer. 83 Calories per cup, 21g carbs, 14g sugar, 1g protein. Contains Vitamins C, B6, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium.
Eastern White Pine
Pinus Strobus Pinaceae
Edible sap, peeled spring shoots and soft inner bark. Needles contain Vitamins A, C, K, Antioxidant beta-carotene, Thiamin, and Riboflavin.
Yellow Wood Sorrel "Shamrock"
Oxalis stricta Oxalidaceae
Flower and seeds appear together in spring. Contains Vitamin C, Potassium, and Oxalic Acid that gives a Lemon taste. Leaves and flowers as trail nibble or added to salad. Fresh leaf hot tea or cold drink.
Viola cucullata Violaceae
Tender spring leaves edible in salad or cooked, added to other dishes. Flowers make a great trail nibble.
Diospyros Virginiana Ebenaceae
Round, green fruit 1 1/2” diameter matures to rosy-peach in autumn when the leaves fall or after first frost. Fruit has calyx like blueberry. Ripe fruit flesh is mushy and sweet.
118 calories per fruit, 31g carbs, 21g sugar, 1g protein. Contains Potassium, Vitamin C, Calcium.
Typically grows as an understory woodland plant and along sunny paths, often near Poison Ivy. The vines have thorns and in winter there will be dark blue/black inedible berries. The smallest leaves can be boiled and eaten as cooked greens and the tendrils may be eaten raw as a nibble or cooked.
All maples have edible leaf buds and tender leaves in the spring as well as the green seeds within the winged "samaras" or helicopters. Silver Maple has the largest samaras and, like most maples, produce their seeds in the spring. Sugar Maple (shown) produces seeds in autumn. Additionally all maple sap (water) is pure and drinkable as an emergency source of water. Sugar Maple has a high concentration of sugar and is boiled to make syrup.
White Oaks produce acorns annually in late summer while Red Oaks take two years. White Oak acorns may contain less tannin and taste less bitter but not always. A cup of acorn meat has over 750 calories so acorns have a lot of energy value in a survival situation. The freshest acorns wil still have the cap on. Discard any acorns having a small round worm hole. Remove the caps and shells then crush the meat into pieces. Bring water to a boil and add the acorn meat to boil for 5-10 minutes. The water will become red from the tannin. Small amounts of tannin "tea" can provide relief from ailments like diarrhea. To remove all the bitterness from acorns may require boiling the acorn meat in fresh water as many as a dozen times. This is same as leaching. Be sure to bring the fresh water to a boil each time before adding the acorn meat. Once tannin is removed the acorn meat can be roasted in a pan over a hot fire and eaten plain or added to salad or other dishes.