There are many ways to forage for food in a survival situation. In a previous post I wrote about how you can eat bugs, insects, snakes and fishing to survive. Along with carrying food with you it is also valuable to know what types of food you can eat and which you should avoid. Getting sick is better than dying but if I had my preference I would prefer to stay as healthy for as long as I could.

Even if you are in a bug out situation and in an urban setting you could still find some of these near you.

Here are 12 plants, nuts and berries to forage for in a survival situation

1. Arrowroot is edible when it’s in it’s younger stages and you can even find arrowroot flour sold in some retail stores. Typically, the root is dried and ground into flour but the roots can be boiled and eaten like any vegetable.

Arrowroot is easy to grow, but does not offer much in the way of vitamins and calories. In a survival situation, something is better than nothing right?

2. Cattails are easily recognized by the large flower or inflorescence and the entire plant is edible but is best before the stalks turn “woody” in late fall. The roots and the stalks close to the ground are the best parts. In the spring, the pollen produced by the inflorescence can be used as flavoring for soups, stews and sauces or used like flour.

3. Most consider the burdock plant a nuisance weed, but in some parts of the world, it is cultivated for its roots. Dig the roots up and leave the dirt on until ready to slice thin for cooking.  Do not peel the root before cooking.

It is recommended that you only eat young first year plant roots raw, otherwise boil as you would carrots or potatoes.

4. The dandelion is one of the most talked about edible survival plants in prepper circles. All parts of the dandelion can be eaten at anytime of the year but is best when eaten before the flower buds. Boil or eat raw as you would salad greens.

What most people consider a “weed” is actually one of the most nutrient dense plants you can eat. believe it or not, dandelions contain more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach. The greens contain vitimin C, and the leaves contain more vitimin A than carrots. 

5. Hawthorn Berries are edible these are also known as thornapples, while they are edible but can upset your digestive system. You can eat this fruit by scraping the haw over your tooth. But keep in mind, if you develop any abnormal symptoms like dizziness, headaches or rashes you should stop eating hawthorn berries.

As well as providing various heart benefits such as reducing high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, they are also helpful in strengthening the immune system with their antioxidant properties.

6. The Prickly Pear is usually found in arid regions but do not be surprised to find it in other areas as well. People are cultivating the prickly pear for its leaves and fruit in various parts of the world and country. The fruit is also an excellent way to provide you with liquids. Scrape the spines off the fruit and the leaves before eating. The leaves can be scraped peeled and boiled or sauteed in hot oil.

7. Miner’s Lettuce found wild practically everywhere. Eat like a salad green. Miner’s lettuce can be found in shaded areas almost anywhere next to creeks and rivers.

Minors lettuce (also known as Indian lettuce) got it’s name because of its relationship to California’s Gold Rush. Gold miners ate this to prevent scurvy.

8. All species of Pine Nuts are edible. Also, other parts of a pine tree are edible as well. The bark and the needles can be steeped in hot water for a vitamin rich tea. Pine cones that have not opened up yet and place near heat to force the cone open to drop the pine nuts. Eat them raw or roasted.

Any type of nut is a good meat substitute because they are high in protein and fats. They are also heart healthy and contain vitamin E.

9. The inner layer of pine bark can be eaten but avoid ringing any tree to retrieve the bark, remove the bark in strips from one side only to avoid damaging or destroying the tree.

Pine bark can be chewed raw or roasted over a fire to make pine chips. The inner layer of pine bark is not just a “survival food”. Try it while your out camping or hiking, you might find you like it.

10. Milkweed buds are edible, best if cooked in hot water however. The buds, stalks and new growth can be eaten.

The myth that it must be boiled several times using fresh water each time to remove toxins and the bitter taste is just a myth. You can of course do this but you will waste water and time. The young stalks can be eaten raw as well as the buds and young seeds.

11. Pinon Nuts are similar to pine nuts but these trees only grow in western and southwestern parts of the Unites States. These are only available in late summer or early fall before the cones open and drop their seeds.

As with the pine nut, these are high in calories, fats and protein. If you find yourself in a survival situation, and your lucky enough to find pine nuts or pinon nuts, you’ll be a happy camper.

12. Black Walnuts are native to eastern North America But once you get your nuts gathered (still in their husks) you want to get them out, as the husks dry they become harder to remove. Black walnuts are very tasty and if you happen on an area densely populated with black walnut trees.

Nearly all Black Walnuts come from trees growing in the wild, while English walnuts mainly come from orchards. They also contain the highest protein content of any tree nut.

What to avoid…

There are literally hundreds of species of wild edibles but on the other hand, there are as many that are toxic to humans.

Avoid wild mushrooms unless you are an expert on identifying them because over 80 percent of wild mushrooms are toxic to humans. Over 90 percent of all wild white and yellow berries are also toxic to humans.

Just because birds or other animals eat the berries or plants means it is ok with you is a myth. The deadly moonseed is just one example of berries birds love but have seeds poisonous to humans.

The information provided here about 12 Edible Plants in a Survival Situation is for informational purposes only and is not to be solely relied upon in a survival scenario.

It is incumbent upon you to educate yourself on what is edible and what is not before consuming any wild plant, berry, nut or animal.


Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    1 Response to "12 Edible Plants in a Survival Situation"

    • Gerald Mickley

      13. Sea Purslane: Found near beaches (including freshwater) in sandy areas. Very nutritious, leaves mostly, and soft stems. Soups and salads!

      14. Hibiscus flowers and small young leaves.

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