Prepare for the Future…
How do you prepare to avoid something if you have no idea of what might happen or when it might happen?
That is the difficulty. What will the future throw at us? I have some ideas…
Whatever happens there are a few common sence things that can be done:
But apart from the obvious, what else can be done?
Types of Incident
This page is concerned with how to prepare for, and what to do during, major catastrophies.
Here is a list of the main incidents that may happen in the future — many of these have a seperate page giving details of the incident and background information.
For each incident type, there will be very generic actions to be taken. These are listed here and visited in more detail later.
Many dangerous situations require you to take immediate action to protect yourself. This protection could be to dive under a strong table in an earthquake or head for a cellar in the event of a nuclear blast. The incident will determine what the most appropriate cover is but this is immediate action and you'll more than likely have to compromise.
Sometimes immediate escape is the only safe measure. At other times escape can only be done after taking cover or holding up for a while. At the time of the incident you will have to decide what is best in the instant it occurs. Having a knowledge and understanding of the incident type is of great use here.
Escaping the danger zone requires you to leave, "lock, stock and barrel", and go somewhere else. In some cases you'll be evacuated by the authorities — but beware! Once in the clutches of the authorities you'll probably be without any of your resources (food, water and equipment) and you'll probably be under their control. And the matter could get worse and you'll have no escape.
So this requires you to leave and take what you can with you. It may need to be done very quickly — in the case of a tsunami or a looting mob you may have a minute or so. Is this feasable, can you do it?
Hold up in a safe place — underground is better. You'll need to have supplies to get you through. These will have to be pre-stocked food and water initially but as time goes on, a lengthy incident will require the eating of wild food and growing your own food.
This is similar to holding up except for the need to be isolated from the rest of the world. Isolation is essential for a pandemic and rigirous decomtamination is essential to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of infection.
In the heat you can shade and remove clothing, but in the cold only specialist clothing will do.
Have a stock of food and water. Remember to adhere to water precautions. Remember this is only a short term relief — eventually you will either have to leave your stash or it will run out. Long term incidents require you to eat wild food and grow your own food.
It is obviously useful to have stocked food at home. But remember, if you have to leave home — in a hurry or not — taking a years food and water is not going to be possible! And even more impossible of you need to slip away unnoticed.
At a Safe Location
Because moving large quantities of food and water is very difficult, you may find that a remote (and hopefully safe) location to hide away a stash is useful. Even if you do not want to stay there, remoteness will allow you time to arrange transportation.
A chemical incident should be fairly straightforward to identify due to the immediate symptoms that chemical agents cause but detection earlier than that could be difficult.
Immediate symptoms of exposure to chemical agents may include blurred vision, eye irritation, difficulty breathing and nausea. A person affected by a chemical or biological agent requires immediate attention by professional medical personnel. If medical help is not immediately available, decontaminate yourself and assist in decontaminating others. Decontamination is needed within minutes of exposure to minimize health consequences. Use extreme caution when helping others who have been exposed to chemical agents. (However, you should not leave the safety of a shelter to go outdoors to help others until authorities announce it is safe to do so.)
Obviously if the incident is a gas attack, the area has to be avoided by travelling up-wind. If a respirator is not available, and in most cases this will unfortunately be the case, forcibly breath out and, pinching close your nose and half shutting your eyes, run away as fast and as far as you can. This advice is far from perfect and contamination, that needs immediate medical attention, will occur but hopefully these measures will reduce the effects. Fortunately, as the airborne chemical agents dissipate over distance the effect will diminish — so a chemical gas attack is a fairly short-range, small area weapon.
Chemical agents may also be liquid and as such they may be smeared on objects or added to other liquids. If the incident is a contamination of the water supply, all you have to do is avoid water!
As well as gas and liquid, chemical agents may be solid and distributed as dust in envelopes and on objects.
If you get contaminated you must immediately decontaminate and seek medical care.
What to do during a chemical attack
A biological incident will be almost impossible to identify due to the time differences between when the contamination happened and symptoms beginning to show. As soon as an incident is identified every member should seek isolation until they show no symptoms; then the group will be safe to meet as necessary. It should be noted that due to the nature of biological agents (which are after all produced by the military with the intention to kill and to spread) members must take this period of isolation seriously — any lapse could put the rest of the group in jeopardy.
Biological agents may be disseminated in gas, solid or liquid form; they are essentially a virus or germ that spreads from victim to victim.
In many biological attacks, people will not know they have been exposed to an agent. In such situations, the first evidence of an attack may be when you notice symptoms of the disease caused by an agent exposure, and you should seek immediate medical attention for treatment. In some situations, like the anthrax letters sent in the US in 2001, people may be alerted to a potential exposure. If this is the case, pay close attention to all official warnings and instructions on how to proceed. The delivery of medical services for a biological event may be handled differently to respond to increased demand. Again, it will be important for you to pay attention to official instructions via radio, television, and emergency alert systems.
If your skin or clothing comes in contact with a visible, potentially infectious substance, you should (immediately decontaminate) remove and bag your clothes and personal items and wash yourself with warm soapy water immediately. Put on clean clothes and seek medical assistance.
What to do during a biological attack
Radiological or Nuclear Incidents
A nuclear incident will be difficult to identify due to the invisibility of the radioactivity – unless of course there is a very, very big explosion and that might just give the game away! Radioactivity forms on objects like dust and other airborne particles and will follow the wind so avoidance must be up-wind of the incident. Unless you are close enough to the incident to get a very high dose, symptoms may not show for days, weeks or years. Radioactivity has the ability to contaminate very large areas and evacuation could very easily be necessary.
The three ways to minimize radiation exposure are distance, shielding and time:
What to do during a nuclear emergency
What to do during a nuclear or radiological attack
Once clear of the suspected contaminated area, remove all external apparel, such as clothes, shoes, gloves, hats, including jewellery (rings, watches, etc) and other items such as hair clips and leave them outside. Contaminated clothing normally removed over the head should be cut off to avoid contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Put into a plastic bag if possible. Remove eyeglasses or contact lenses. Put glasses in a pan of household bleach to decontaminate.
Proceed to a shower and thoroughly wash your body with soap and clean water. This needs to be accomplished within minutes. Simply flushing water over the body is not enough. You need to aggressively scrub your skin and irrigate your eyes with water. In the case of biologicals, this is often sufficient to avert contact infection. If available, for suspected biological and chemical contamination the contaminated areas should then be washed with a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, allowing a contact time of 10 to 15 minutes. To make a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, take one part household bleach such as Clorox, and 10 parts water. Do not let this solution contact your eyes.
If a biological or chemical contamination is suspected, for decontamination of fabric clothing or equipment, use undiluted household bleach. A contact time of 30 minutes should be allowed before discarding or further use.
In instances where the leading edge of the tsunami is its trough, the sea will recede from the coast half the wave's period before the wave's arrival. If the slope is shallow, this recession can exceed 800 m. People unaware of the danger may remain at the shore due to curiosity, or for collecting fish from the dry sea bottom. In instances where the leading edge of the tsunami is its first peak, low-lying coastal areas are flooded before the higher second wave reaches them. Again, being educated about a tsunami is important, to realize that when the water level drops the first time, the danger is not yet over.
Early warning signs of a tsunami wave is often the withdrawal of the sea prior to the wave itself and survivors have told of whirlwind like air pressure differences and sounds – in fact the greater the see withdrawal the higher the wave. Earthquakes felt near coastlines should trigger tsunami avoiding tactics even before any other signs are detected.
Initial reaction is to seek higher ground where possible, or if the tsunami wave is not too great seek shelter in the upper floors of a sturdy building or big tree. If you are washed away grab something that floats and curl up to avoid floating debris and striking objects.
There may be more than one wave; the first is often smaller than the main wave and there may be after-waves too. Essentially once a wave comes inland it will seek to draw back unless superseded by a subsequent wave. Much debris will be pushed inland with the wave and then drawn back as it recedes. Do not give up your safe position too early.
A tsunami will contaminate everything with seawater and whatever the sea brings with it (bodies, sewerage and other debris). If the tsunami is large there is a great possibility that a big area has been affected and this may mean a lack of basic survival needs. Even in developed countries the disturbance created can cause lack of food and drink and medical availability; in 3rd world countries this can easily lead to a major threat to life. So, when the threat has passed, salvage what you can and move to safer ground.
Long Term Preparation
Types of Food
Leaf lettuce grows well indoors. It's fine to grow one variety per container or to combine a variety of lettuces in one large container. Leaf lettuces are lettuces that grow in an open form rather than in a tight head, such as green leaf and red leaf lettuces. Try lettuce, kale, collards and spinach. Leaf lettuce varieties and miniature Tom Thumb head lettuce are fast growing.
Leaf lettuces tend to mature quickly, within 30 days, and baby lettuces provide tender salad greens. Leaf lettuces grown with herbs and greens on a kitchen counter, windowsill or in a patio create a colorful display with a variety of leaf shapes and various shades of greens and reds. Chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme and basil make a convenient kitchen garden.
Choose the cherry-type tomatoes: Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Sweet 100 Patio and Pixie. Gain more space for your indoor garden area by growing tomatoes in an upside-down planter suspended from the ceiling. The plants grow downward out of a hole in the bottom of the planter.
Root vegetables such as radishes, beets, turnips, parsnips, potatoes and carrots will grow indoors. Radishes grow fast and carrots and potatoes harvested young provide tender baby carrots and potatoes for gourmet recipes. Cherry Belle and Icicle radishes reward you with crispy globes within four to six weeks. Danvers Half Long, Tiny Sweet and the fingerling varieties of carrots take longer to mature, but provide fresh, sweet flavor when they reach 3 to 4 inches in length. Grow Little Egypt and Early Red Ball beets for both their leafy green tops and the deep red globes that may be oven roasted or sauteed.
Thin-walled peppers grow better indoors than the thick-walled bell pepper varieties. Include both spicy and mild peppers in your indoor garden. The Long Red Cayenne and tiny Thai peppers are visually attractive as they grow and yield fruit that can be used fresh or dried. Sweet Banana and Yolo Wonder peppers bring mild, sweet pepper flavors to classic dishes.
Grow traditional windowsill garden herbs to enhance the flavors in traditional and ethnic cooking. Grow chives, cilantro and both curly leaf and flat-leaf Italian parsley from seed, keeping the soil moist and warm for germination. Add oregano and thyme plants from the nursery to broaden your palette of flavors. Trim the plants often to encourage vigorous growth, using the clippings in your cooking.
Sometimes you need nourishing vegetables immediately in an emergency. Waiting months to harvest a garden may be too long. An easy and fast approach to obtaining the nutrients vegetables provide is sprouting. Sprouting is simple, and sprouting kits can be purchased cheaply, or you can use items found around the house. Some good sprouting seeds are: alfalfa, mung beans, triticale, soy beans, lentils, whole peas, adzuki beans, clover, garbanzo beans, rye, wheat, beans, rice, and oats. The last five seeds mentioned sprout in only two days. The rest sprout in about three to five days.
Put a tablespoon of seed in bottom of a jar, half fill with water and leave to soak over night. Next day, drain the water out through the lid or muslin. All you need to do then is rinse twice daily until ready to eat. You can sprout fenugreek, alfalfa, red cabbage, onion, beet and others this way.
Boost their Light
LED grow lights are special panels that contain LED diodes and can be used to promote the growth of plants without the presence of the sun. They use less power than traditional grow lights, in fact they are up to 90% more efficient.
To help your plants from drying out, use an oscillating fan to move the air in your indoor garden. Use reflective surfaces around your indoor plants to optimize artificial lights. You can paint the walls white and even hang mirrors to make the most of the light.
A good general rule is to plant seeds at a depth three times the diameter of the seed. Fine seeds should be scattered on top of the soil and pressed down lightly. Climbing plants such as tomatoes, peas, and beans should be planted near stakes or trellises. Plant your seeds with enough room to enable you to move around the plants so you can weed them even after the plants have grown.
Saving your own seeds can be time consuming. However, when you replant from seeds that you save, it usually yields plants that are better suited to your particular soil and climate.
Once you have planted your garden, watch for and keep track of the healthiest non-hybrid, self-pollinating plants. These are the easiest to harvest good seeds from. Self-pollinating plants are able to produce seeds on their own, without the aid of wind, bees, or other insects. Hybrid plants will grow great the first time, but seeds harvested from a hybrid plant may yield unusual produce.
If this is your first try at saving seeds, start with beans, squash, dill, and/or marigolds. Once the seeds have been collected it is essential to dry them thoroughly before storing them. Excess moisture can cause the seeds to mold and rot. Use a fine screen or a sheet of plastic or glass to dry the seeds on. Do not use paper towels — the seeds will stick and become hard to separate. Dry the seeds in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
Seeds that you have collected can be stored in coin envelopes, small pill bottles, empty film canisters, or other small envelopes and containers. Label each container or packet with seed type and any other relevant information. Then store in a dry, cool place. If you use envelopes to store the seeds you may also want to place them in a jar with an airtight seal to keep out moisture.
Keeping seeds dry during storage is most important. Moisture causes seeds to rot. See to it that moisture from the air or any other sources does not get into the seeds. A simple, inexpensive but efficient storage container can be made out of a canning glass jar with an airtight lid. Get a clean jar. Make sure it is dry. As a precaution against moisture, put a layer of powdered charcoal (dessicant) on the bottom of the jar. One-half inch thickness is sufficient. If silica gel or calcium chloride is available, these should be substituted for the charcoal. Place the seeds in an envelope so they do not get in contact with the charcoal; place in a jar and cover tightly. Low temperature prolongs the life of the seeds. With this method of storage, seeds can be kept without significant germination loss.
The average number of years seeds will remain viable if properly stored:
As water is used in food preparation, any water precautions should also include food precautions. The general rules apply in that any food consumed should be at least a fortnight old. In some cases this is particularly difficult and in some cases this is impossible (cow's milk for instance). The level of adherence to the full level of food precautions will depend upon the level of water precautions in use and hence the level of threat assumed at the time.
Particular care should be taken outside the home environment where any contact with food should be avoided.
During and right after a disaster, it will be vital that you maintain your strength. So remember:
The Survivalist's Garden
Credit: National Geographic. By Rick Austin, author of Secret Garden of Survival-How to Grow a Camouflaged Food-Forest.
Imagine a garden that takes up very little space, but grows five times more food per square inch than a traditional garden. A garden that you plant once in your lifetime, but provides food for 30 years without any fertilization, pesticides, or weeding… and it's all disguised to look like overgrown underbrush!
Perennials only have to be planted once and they will produce food for a lifetime. Whereas, garden vegetables (annuals), have to be replanted year after year from seed. And because of the natural life-cycle of perennials, they have the time to put down deeper and longer roots, which makes them able to get more nutrients, reach water deeper in the soil, and makes them less susceptible to seasonal variations in sunshine, rainfall, cold and heat than an annual plant.
In nature, plants don’t grow in rows and don’t need to be cultivated, trimmed, weeded, or treated with pesticides. Yet nature has been growing fruits, nuts, berries and herbs successfully for millions of years without man’s help. In fact, many plants often maintain symbiotic relationships where each plant benefits by being with the other. Our Secret Garden of Survival mimics the way that plants grow in nature. And in nature, plants grow together in three dimensions: some taller, some shorter, and they grow in a way where all plants get adequate sun, air, rain, and oftentimes share nutrients and benefit from natural pest control.
Plants in nature often grow in concentric circles where the tallest plant (often a fruit or nut tree) provides shade underneath it for shade-seeking plants, and outside of that shade, a layer of shrubs like blueberries and blackberries can grow. Outside of that circle of shrubs, herbs can grow. Herbs in this position have the added benefit of attracting insect pollinators as well as predatory wasps, which will feed on many of the "bad" bugs that would normally attack the fruit on the central tree and berry bushes. These herbs, in a way, provide a defensive perimeter around the fruit, nuts, and berries that bad bugs must cross at their own peril. Finally, around the herb layer is a lower level of ground cover, which often accumulates nitrogen (a natural fertilizer) that these plants take from the air, and make it available to the surrounding plants.
Because we are growing in three dimensions, we can produce five times more food in the same space that you would plant a traditional garden. And because these plants all grow together, and are in some cases intertwined, it does not look like a traditional garden, but instead looks "natural" — like overgrown underbrush, which camouflages the garden from marauders.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of garden for preppers is that it is almost no work to maintain, compared to gardening with annual vegetables. And in a doomsday scenario, preppers are going to have enough work to do, without having to tend to a garden every day, while exposing themselves to potential enemies. Further, by planting primarily perennials — and a large variety of them — you will always have food for you and your family each year, no matter what the short term summer weather brings.
Aquaponics is a food production system that uses nutrient-rich water from fish culture to irrigate and fertilize plants. After the plants have absorbed the nutrients, the water is recirculated to the fish rearing tanks. This combination of aquaculture and hydroponics recycles both water and nutrients, resulting in an efficient use of resources.
Building a system
Where is spirulina found?
Spirulina is found in both salt water and fresh water in the wild. It is also commercially cultivated in African countries, France, China, India, Thailand, and the United States. Most dietary supplement manufacturers get their supply of spirulina from commercial spirulina farms.
History of spirulina
Spirulina has been consumed by many people for a very long time in many countries. It grew in many lakes, seas, and oceans all around the world. Spirulina was found growing in Lake Chad and Mexico's Lake Texcoco, and people of these regions have been drying and eating spirulina since ancient times.
Spirulina was first discovered by Hernando Cortez and his Spanish Conquistadors in 1519. Cortez observed that Spirulina was served and eaten at the tables of the Aztecs during his visit in Lake Texcoco. The health benefits of spirulina were first discovered by explorer Pierre Dangeard who observed that flamingos were able to survive by consuming these blue-green algae. Botanist Jean Leonard supported the findings of Dangeard and people soon started to commercialise spirulina to reap its benefits. The first spirulina processing plant, Sosa Texcoco, was set up in 1969 by the French.
Spirulina health benefits
Spirulina is high in antioxidants. Some of the antioxidants found in spirulina include selenium, phenolic acid, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Antioxidants destroy the free radicals in the body that damage cells. According to experts from the American Dietetic Association (ADA), antioxidants can also protect the body from cancer, infections, diabetes, and heart disease.
Spirulina also has antimicrobial properties that destroy bacteria and viruses such as HIV-1, enterovirus, cytomegalovirus, measles, mumps, influenza A, and herpes simplex. Studies have also confirmed that spirulina can also boost the body's immune system by making it produce more monocytes, natural killer cells, and macrophages. Monocytes, natural killer cells, and macrophages destroy invading pathogens in the body. According to a study published in an Indian scientific journal, spirulina can also destroy fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans (yeast infections), Aspergillusniger, and Aspergillusfumigatus.
The spirulina algae are also rich in protein, valine, leucine, isoleucine, omega-6, omega-3, vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin B2, iron, beta carotene, manganese, copper, and many other nutrients.
This micro algae is 60% all-vegetable protein, rich in beta carotene, iron, vitamin B-12 and the rare essential fatty acid, GLA. It offers a striking profile of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrents. Scientific studies show remarkable health benefits.
Like many freshwater algae, spirulina has a wide range of PH’s in which it can grow. In fact, spirulina can be grown from a range of 3.5 up to, and above a pH of 10. Without having access to laboratory conditions, it seems nearly impossible to just grow spirulina, and no other algae in the same water. What I discover is if grown in Distilled Water, and no other algae is present in the water then your almost guaranteed, spirulina will be the only algae present.
What’s next? We need to know the ideal temperature for growing spirulina. Spirulina grows best at 86°F. Above 92°F, the algae cannot photosynthesise sun light and becomes weak and looses viscosity. Any temperature below 82°F and the algae continues to grow, just not at a maximum rate. 86°F is ideal. The one stable environment which can maintain this steady temperature and is readily available in the home is an aquarium.
We can’t just dump “PH UP!” into an aquarium filled with distilled water and raise the temperature to 86°F and grow spirulina. It would be quite an expense in distilled water and chemicals (PH UP!). Instead, we need to consider the requirement I have not mentioned yet. That is, spirulina needs to be stirred in order to expose each piece of fine weave of the algae to as much light as possible. What we need, and what I've seen some laboratories use are “Growing Tubes”.
To overcome the treat of contamination of the mains water supplies, water precautions can be instigated at any time. As it is difficult to switch from using mains water totally, there is an interim level of water precaution that avoids using mains water for oral consumption; this is called Drinking Water Precaution.
Any pollution of the mains water supplies will show within two days for a chemical agent contamination, or within a fortnight for a biological agent contamination. So it is assumed that any saved mains water that is a fortnight or older is safe for use.
A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (½ a gallon) of water each day but because you also need water for sanitary purposes and, possibly, for cooking, you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. Carbonated beverages do not meet drinking-water requirements. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
It should be noted that water is used in food or for food preparation, so any precautions taken with water should also be applied to food.
The level of adherence to the water and food precautions will depend upon the level of threat assumed at the time. Just remember, "it is better to be safe than sorry" and if the mains water system is contaminated by chemical or biological agents they are likely to be deadly — you don't get a second chance.
As water is used in food preparation, any water precautions should also include food precautions.
How to Store Water
Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fibreglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Containers for water should be rinsed with a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) before use. Previously used bottles or other containers may be contaminated with microbes or chemicals. Do not rely on untested devices for decontaminating water. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water every six months.
Drinking Water Precautions
This level of water precaution forbids using mains water for oral consumption but allows its use for other proposes. All drinking water or water used in food (or diluted in drink) must be at least a fortnight old. This can be bottled water brought and stored or it can be mains water that has been stored in a container.
Particular care should be taken outside the home environment where buying food or drink (or having them offered to you) must be resisted. You cannot guarantee that safe water is used — even for canned or bottled goods.
Full Water Precautions
This level of water precaution forbids using suspect water for any propose that may cross contaminate the skin in any way. Imagine water (or any other liquid) from an uncertain source is acid and anything that is in contact with this acid and then comes in contact with your person is dangerous – not too far removed from the actual situation if contamination occurs. All drinking water, all water used in food preparation and water used for any other purpose (washing, clothes, dishes etc.) must be at least a fortnight old. This can be bottled water brought and stored or it can be mains water that has been stored in a container. That means: no shower, no washing machine or dishwasher usage; and do not use the garden hose except with extreme care.
Mains water can still be used for flushing the toilet providing every care is taken to prevent any cross contamination.
Particular care should be taken outside the home environment where any contact with water, or any other liquid, should be avoided.
Where contamination of the person is suspected decontamination should be performed and every care should be taken to watch for symptoms that may suggest contamination has occurred.
Emergency Outdoor Water Sources
If you need to find water out-side your home you can use these sources. Be sure to purify the water before drinking it.
Avoid water with floating material, an odour or dark colour. Use saltwater only if you distil it first. You should not drink floodwater.
Ways to Purify Water
In addition to having a bad odour and taste, contaminated water can contain micro-organisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.
There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Four easy purification methods are outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more. If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimise he amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
If activity is reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.
Wild edible plants are raw super food! They have incredible energizing and healing powers and they are absolutely FREE!!! This is the best cost saving and personal energizer tip for raw foodists! Below you can find an overview of the most popular and available wild edibles.
So what plants can you eat? The wild edible plants below are all great in salads and juices and you can find them anywhere. Most people know these plants already and they are very easy to recognize and find.
And if you don't know them? The internet will help you tremendously. Wikipedia is my favorite internet resource. It shows great pictures and describes how the wild plants look and where to find them. If you'd rather like someone to teach you in person, I suggest going to the scouts. I find them very knowledgeable on this subject and a great resource.
Dandelion leafs are great in salads and juices. Raw leafs have a slightly bitter taste. You can eat the entire thing raw or cook them to take away the bitterness, usually in the spring they are less bitter. You can also eat the unopened buds raw (great in salads). The leafs are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, carrying more iron and calcium than spinach.
This is my favorite wild edible plant. In the Netherlands this is a notorious weed. You can find it everywhere. The plant is so strong! It survives both the hot sun and temperatures of -20.
Nettle juice tastes surprisingly good and did you know that the plant has even more minerals than wheat grass?
You can eat the very young leafs in your salad, but the older ones sting so you may not like to eat them raw. When you juice them, the stinging disappears. The fresh or dried leafs of nettle can be used to make a tea (don't heat the water above 70 C or 179 F).
If you do get stung, rub the leafs of a plantain against the sore spot to relief the pain.
This is a wild edible plant everyone knows. The clover leafs are delicious in salads or juices. Clovers are a valuable survival food, as they are high in protein, widespread, and abundant. They are not easy to digest raw, but this can be easily fixed by juicing them. Dried flower heads and seed pods can also be ground up into a nutritious flour and mixed with other foods. Dried flower heads can also be steeped in hot water for a healthy, tasty tea.
The leafs, flowers and fruit are edible as food for humans, and are best when young. They have a mild flavor of both garlic and mustard, and are used in salads and pesto. Edible parts: Flowers, leaves, roots and seeds. Leaves can be eaten in any season, when the weather gets hot, the leaves will have a taste bitter. Flowers can be chopped and tossed into salads. The roots can be collected in early spring and again in late fall, when no flower stalks are present.
You really can eat daisies! I never knew they where edible, let alone good for you. I learned all the great facts about this easy to find flower on a super fun and educational wild nature hike lead by Sergei Boutenko:
The leafs of this strong and common weed are edible and used in herbal medicine, but can be somewhat tough. The taste is that of very bitter salad greens with a lingering aftertaste like spinach. Young leafs are recommended as they are more tender. The leafs when dried make a good tea.
Other plantains are considered wild edible plants too but they don't have as much nutritional value as the greater plantain.
There are over a hundred different species of pine. Not only can the food be used as a supply of nourishment but, also can be used for medicinal purposes. Simmer a bowl of water and add some pine needles to make tea. Native americans used to ground up pine to cure skurvy, its rich in vitamin C.
Did you know that all wild grasses are edible and that there are more than 400 different kind of grasses? Grasses are super healthy and you can find this super food for free. Wheatgrass, for example, contains most of the vitamins and minerals needed for human health. It's a whole meal and complete protein with about 30 enzymes. It has up to 70% chlorophyll (which builds the blood). It's an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Wheatgrass cleanses the body (natural raw detoxer) and it eliminates body and breath odors. The natural value of wheatgrass juice is so high that many people don't feel the "cravings" that lead to overeating. It's great for the skin and first and second decree burns.
Many wild berries are not safe to eat, it’s best to stay away from them. There are safe:
These berries are rich in vitamin A, C, and K. In minerals calcium, iron, potassium, and silicon. They are good for fever, diarrhea, dysentery, liver, kidneys, and much more.
Wild blackberries are 100% safe to eat and easy to recognize. They have red branches that have long thorns similar to a rose, the green leaves are wide and jagged. They are best to find in the spring when their white flowers bloom, they are clustered all around the bush and their flowers have 5 points. The berries ripen around August to September.
An elderberry shrub can grow easily grow about 10 feet and yield tons of food, their leaf structure is usually 7 main leaves on a long stretched out stem, the leaves are long and round and the leaves themselves have jagged edges. These are easiest to identify in the spring as they blossom white clustered flowers that resembles an umbrella. Mark the spot and harvest the berries when they’re ripe around September. Elderberries are known for their flu and cold healing properties, you can make jelly from them and are very sweet and delicious.
These are also common in the woods in northern Missouri, the branches are grey and have long red thorns, and the leaves are bright green and have 5 points, they have rounded edges and look similar to the shape of a maple leaf. The flowers in the spring are very odd looking, they are bright red and hang down, the berries ripen around late May early June.
Mulberry leaves have two types, one spade shape and a 5 fingered leaf. Both have pointed edges.
The trees mature around 20-30 ft, some can grow up to 100 ft tall. The leaves are bright green and long, smooth edges and the pecans themselves are grown in green pods and when ripe the pods open and the seeds fall to the ground.
Hazelnut trees are short and tend to be around 12-20 ft tall, the leaves are bright green and have pointed edges, the hazelnuts themselves grown in long strands of pods and generally ripen by September and October.
Walnut trees are the most recognisable and the tallest nut tree in North America, they can range from 30-130 feet tall. The leaf structure is very similar to the peacan, the leaves are spear like and grow on a long stem 6-8 leaves on both sides. The leaves edges are smooth and green. The walnuts tend to grow in clusters and ripen in the fall.
Acorns can tend to be bitter, they are highly recognisable as well, they should be eaten cooked and a limited amount.
Hickory nut trees can grow about 50-60 ft tall, their green leaves are spear like and can grow very large, they have pointed edges. The hickory nut is round and ten to ripen in September or October.
A collection of useful bits & bobs: