We can all agree that life in the concrete jungle is not easy. However, it will become almost impossible during a prolonged crisis. Once the cities become cannibalized of resources, your chances of survival will get thinner. One of you choices besides scavenging will be to look for edibles in the city. Weeds are your primary choices and here is what you should be looking for.
Urban preppers will have to deal with a lot of completion when SHTF. They may hunker down and wait for everything to get back to normal. However, if the city won’t be able to recover, they will have to figure out ways to extend the life of their supplies and look for alternative sources of food.
The annoying weeds you find everywhere in the city are the most durable survivors. Even more, many of them are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. If you know where to look for this edibles, you can bring back home, a healthy snack.
Every city is loaded with cracks, curbs, nooks and green spaces in which these edibles thrive. Empty lots, construction sites, sidewalk cracks, landscaping and cemeteries are filled with edibles. When foraging in the urban landscape, the first rule would be to avoid areas exposed to direct traffic or areas treated with chemicals. The second rule is to be able to properly identify the plants you plan on eating.
The best part about this edibles is that you can stretch a meal with them. All these weeds can be added to stews, soups and salads. Even more, having green, vegetable-like foods during a crisis will help you maintain a well-balanced diet. Not to mention that you will be able to fight appetite fatigue if you diversify your diet.
Five edibles every urban forager should know
This is one of my favorite edibles due to its many uses. It’s a perennial plant that grows in a basal rosette. The leaves are narrow, deeply toothed and typically point back toward the center of the plant. The dandelion flower makes it probably the most recognizable weed in the world.
Okay, the dandelion is believed to be an annoying weed. However, at the same time, it has a long history of acting as a therapeutic herb for healing swelling, upset stomach, skin issues, eye issues, diarrhea, and heartburn. It is also a richer source of Vitamins A and C than spinach and tomatoes, respectively. Moreover, they are full of Vitamins B and D, potassium, calcium, and iron.
This is perhaps why it got an esteemed place in the Great Depression diet. The dandelion salad was the favorite of preppers and wild experts. It was a nutritious option that includes simple greens sought from any neighborhood, vinegar if available for taste, pepper, and salt. It was also a tasty dish to add to the daily menu without spending any money.
2. Lamb’s Quarter
The leaves of lamb’s quarters are coated by a white powder. This wild edible tends to always look dusty from afar. It produces tiny green flowers that form in clusters on top of spikes, and the leaves resemble the shape of a goosefoot.
The leaves are light green on the top and whitish underneath and are goosefoot or diamond shaped. The growing tips of leafy stems, leaves, bud clusters and seeds are all edible parts. Lamb’s quarters is best eaten either steamed or boiled. They can be prepared just like spinach by sautéing, steaming or boiling in a little water. They are one of the mildest-tasting wild greens and are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals.
3. Curly Dock
The curly dock grows all across the United States and it is considered an invasive species, being native to Europe and Western Asia. This plant can be found all across North America and it is best to forage it while the plant is still young. It’s a perennial plant and you can forage it during late spring to early summer.
It has ovate and elliptical smooth leaves shooting off from a large basal rosette. The leaf margin can be waved or curled. These edibles produce inflorescence or flower stalk that grows to about 1 foot high.
The edible parts are the leaf blades, growing tips of leafy stems and the seeds. Cut off the curly dock leaf stems before cooking the leaves as they are tough and stringy. Leaves can be used as salad ingredients, in sandwiches and anywhere you would use lettuce. Leaves must be boiled for a few minutes to get rid of the astringent flavor. The leaves can also be sautéed or stir-fried. Seeds can be used as grain.
4. Garlic Mustard
Garlic mustard is one of the biennial edibles, this means it has a two-year life cycle. During the first year, it produces a low-growing rosette of leaves that are heart-shaped and have scalloped edges. In the second year, garlic mustard shots up as a tall flower stark in the early spring. During this growth stage, the leaves along the flower stalk are more triangular and have toothed edges. It grows flowers in clusters and each flower has four white petals.
The edible parts are the leaves and they have a strong garlic smell. You can add them to stews, soups or any kind of stir-fry for flavor.
Related article: 6 Wild Plants You Could Turn Into Flour
5. Common Chickweed
This plant is also known as tongue grass or satin flower and it can be found all over North America. This is seen by many as a common weed and only a few people know that the plant is actually edible. It can grow like a small bush, especially the younger plants. You can forage it in the spring and it grows in both urban and rural environments.
It’s life duration varies and it can be annual, winter annual or perennial. Common chickweed has oval leaves 1/8 to 4/5 inch long with entire leaf margins. It produces small white petalled flowers and the edible parts are the stems and leaves.
This plant is used raw by many survivalists, but it is better if you cook it. The plant contains chemicals known as saponins and if you eat large quantities of raw chickweed the chemicals will not be absorbed by the body and it can create digestive issues. It’s better to cook it as you would cook spinach because the taste is quite similar.
An urban prepper needs to learn how to survive when the provision runs out. Before turning to cannibalism like in apocalyptic movies, one should learn to scavenge and forage for edibles. All the edibles listed here are seen by many as weeds and few people know they can be quite useful during a crisis. You’ve probably seen many of them during your daily walks, but like most people, you didn’t pay too much attention or considered them a possible meal. Learn how to identify these plants and how to put them to good use when the time calls for it.
Other Useful Resources:
How to build a water generator – Converting air to water
The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us
The most comprehensive knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation
EMP survival and preparedness guide