If you get lost or stranded outdoors in the wild, everyone should be prepared with a survival plan and knowledge of what foods are edible and which are not.
Many toxic plants exhibit one or more of the following characteristics: an almond scent, milky sap, foliage similar to dill, carrot, parsnip or parsley, spines, thorns or fine hairs, bulbs, beans or seeds inside pods, a bitter or soapy taste. If you’re unsure, it’s best to steer clear. Also, avoid anything that is brightly coloured, whether it is a plant or insect, as it is probably highly poisonous. If you cannot positively identify something, avoid it.
Some edible plants that can be found in most parts of Europe are as follows:
Amaranth is an edible weed, and all parts can be eaten.
Wild Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Burdock is a large plant with purple flower heads. It has a bitter taste, so is best boiled twice. The roots can be peeled and eaten also.
Bulrushes found near wetlands can be eaten raw or cooked. The head can be eaten like corn-on-the-cob, and the white lower part of the stalk is the best part.
Clover, which is found almost everywhere, is best boiled, due to a bitter taste but can be eaten raw.
Chicory has blue or lavender flowers. The whole plant can be eaten, and the roots are tasty after boiling.
Docks are a common plant. The stalks can be eaten raw, and the leaves are best boiled.
Dandelions are a plant that can be eaten entirely. Young leaves are tasty eaten raw, and mature leaves should be boiled. The water can be used as a tea and the flowers are also edible.
If you are planning to stay outdoors, a visit to an outdoor bushcraft store, such as www.angloforro.co.uk, would be sensible to stock up on essential equipment and get any advice you may need on survival techniques.
If you are foraging, always obtain permission from the landowner, and only take what you can eat. If you’re by the sea, green seaweed and kelp are great sources of vitamins and lignin. Only eat fish from saltwater areas, as a rod license is required for freshwater fishing.