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Wild Edibles in Ohio?

 
Jennifer Charlton-Dennis
Posts: 61
Location: North East Ohio
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Hi everyone,

Forgive me if there are previous forums here on Permies. Just looking for updated information. My Husband and I are trying to teach ourselves and more importantly our children what nature provides for us. If anyone has knowledge of what wild edible are here in Ohio we would be eternally grateful. Thank you for your help!!
 
John Elliott
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You could start with the Edible Wild Foods site.

Or how about a nice dandelion salad?

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Jennifer,

This is such a broad topic Jennifer, the only thing I could add to John good advice is a public library, and web search. Seek out local clubs or individuals that still pracitce wild harvesting and/or indigenous life skills training. Is there anything more specific you wanted?

Regards,

j
 
Jennifer Charlton-Dennis
Posts: 61
Location: North East Ohio
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Hi guys,

Sorry I should have been more specific. We live near Cleveland/ Elyria Ohio. So probably what grows around here to start. I have a couple older books about wild edibles. The thing I worry about is that the illustrations of the plants are drawn. Now I know that's how it was done since people started writing books. I just worry that I may pick/ harvest the wrong plant. I will see if I can find any groups near here that have experience. Thank you for the video John!!

Jennifer
 
Mariamne Ingalls
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: NE Ohio (Zone 6a, on the cusp of 6b) 38.7" annual precip
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Hi Jennifer-

I tripped over some of our Ohio edibles another way. I wanted to ID the "weeds" on my property, for a few reasons: 1) for those I was sure I wanted to get rid of, I wanted to know how they spread, 2) I wanted to know if the weeds could tell me anything about the conditions in the spots where they were growing, and 3) I realized I had tons of plants on my property that I could not identify, and before I did something to them, I wanted to know about them. (permaculture "observation").

I was surprised at some of the ones that were edible.
I also found that I misidentified some!
That reinforced for me, the rule "get an expert to confirm, before you eat it".

Here are some edibles that are lying around my suburban Ohio property. And importantly--we've been chemical-free in our property for well over 3 years now -- not sure exactly how long...
This list comes with the caveat to you and all, that you should do your own research and check and check again, before you eat any of this stuff!
I am not an expert.

1. Purslane (Often grows in cement and sidewalk cracks. Be sure no one is spraying poisons where you collect!)
2. Common yellow woodsorrel
3. Sweet woodruff
4. Canadian thistle (NO! I have not tried to prep and eat this one, yet! )
5. Dandelions (I did a pick-and-taste test, and quickly realized that I had waited too long. The problem is, by the time I noticed them, it was too late: didn't like the taste. Still haven't tasted young-enough ones)
6. Crab grass (150,000 seeds produced per plant; evidently can be ground into a flour)
7. Linden tree
8. Pin oak acorns (take a lot of processing)

This is one of the websites I've found helpful:
http://www.eattheweeds.com/

Notable Non-edibles
-----------------------
Deadly nightshade (green to red berries) - almost everyone knows this one; it's so common. It's the main reason all us kids got the rule of "NEVER eat anything, until you show Mommy the plant."
Poke
-- This is the first year we've had a poke plant on our property. It has colorful drop clusters of berries. References say that every part of it is toxic. And yet, one hears of "poke sallet" being et. I would think the berries would be very tempting to children. Here's the lowdown, and personally, I'm never going to bother trying to ID it as a young plant and prep it: http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2/ . I only knew I had a poke plant, after it developed berries.

One of my favorite plant ID methods:
---------------------------------------
When I think I may have narrowed down the possibilities to a few plants, I change my Google search to "images" and do a search on the plant names I suspect. Although a few of the images in the zillions returned will be incorrect, most will be correct, I'll see the pattern, and know whether I have a match or not.

'Ta for now,
Mariamne


 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 530
Location: Mid-Michigan
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bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
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IMO, the two best wild-edibles books out there are by Sam Thayer - "The Forager's Harvest" and "Nature's Garden".

FH especially is fairly Great-Lakes-centric, so I'd expect that every plant he details would be something you've got around you. He follows a deep approach rather than broad (meaning lots of information on a comparatively small number of plants), and it's all first-hand information his own experience. On top of that, photos instead of drawings.

The best.

Heck, here's the ISBN for "The Forager's Harvest", because everybody should own it: 978-0-9766266-0-2

Start there!
 
Jennifer Charlton-Dennis
Posts: 61
Location: North East Ohio
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Mike,

Thanks so much for the reference!! We're going to check on it in the morning! It great to see a book written with our region in mind. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Jennifer
 
Justin Wolfe
Posts: 11
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I know there are a lot of things that are easy to find around here... Ramps, daylilies, dandelion, wild garlic, acorns, walnuts, curly dock, burdock, lady's thumb, hickory nuts, apples, clover, jewel weed, mayapple (though I have yet to find one in the correct growing conditions to fruit. Also, take notice that the ripe fruit is the only edible part of this plant, the rest is poison), blackberries and black raspberries, elderberry, strawberries, roses, mint, milkweed, service berries, salsify (took me forever to figure out what the "giant dandelions" were, lol), thistles, wood sorrel, Solomon's seal (though my scoutmaster told me to leave it alone cause it's rare) staghorn sumac... It's a long list and I'm sure I left out a lot. Happy hunting!
 
Jennifer Charlton-Dennis
Posts: 61
Location: North East Ohio
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Justin,

Thank you for the info!! It's funny how many obvious edibles one forgets just because they can be purchased from the store!! I see you wrote Ramps first!! My family loves them! We're originally from West Virginia so they were a pretty big part of my families diet. Anyways we pick enough of them every spring/ summer right here near Oberlin to last the year. We love us some Ramps an taters'!!

I'm very interested in the wild garlic! I'm going to look that up as soon as I post this. I must admit that I have not heard of some of the others you mentioned. But, we are new to this. ( Why I have so many questions haha!!) Thank you again,

Jennifer
 
Justin Wolfe
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Anytime, happy to help. I'm no expert, I just paid attention in Boy Scouts and read some foraging books. I recommend Steve Brill. His stuff seemed the most relevant for this area.

The wild garlic is kinda halfway between an onion flavor and a garlic flavor; I like them.
 
Dale Hodgins
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After you've consulted every manual and looked at the pictures, it still would be wise to search YouTube with the specific plant names. Video lets you look at it from many angles and to see the plants in a natural context rather than as isolated specimens.

Remember this - Mother nature is a serial killer, and poisonous plants abound. Be careful. Even when you are pretty sure about a plant, try only a little, to see if there is any ill effect. We don't want - More dead in Ohio
More dead in Ohio
More dead in Ohio It's a song that old guys remember.
 
Jennifer Charlton-Dennis
Posts: 61
Location: North East Ohio
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Dale,

Thanks for the advice! It's funny you mention Four dead in Ohio. My mother in law actually owns a music venue in Kent where the shootings happened. (Well not funny, you know what I mean) They try to get Neil Young to come every year in May but he never will

Anyways, you're correct. That's my biggest fear, misidentifying a plant. There is so much that Mother nature provides for us that is healthful, but also harmful. I just want to gain as much knowledge as I can before I share anything with my family. Thanks again,

Jennifer
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1130
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I love knowing I can eat something growing wild in my yard, even if I never do. I live in Cincinnati, and my favorite wild plant is the Jerusalem Artichoke.
Bought two from a nouvo hippy, plopped them in a container made from an old dishwasher and forgot about them.
Two years later and the container was full to bursting. My wife takes an interest and makes the best "mashed potatoes" ever!
Next day I used a spudbar to spread these tubers throughout the yard!
Good hunting!
 
Chris Badgett
pollinator
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Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Here's a video we shot with Michael Pilarski on a wild edibles plant walk in northwest Montana. Many of the plants in the video are also in Ohio.



Best wishes teaching yourself and family about wild edibles.
 
Roger Lewicki
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Jennifer,
I live in NE ohio also and I have taken wild edible classes at Midwest Native skills institute. It is located if seven hills, ohio (just outside of cleveland). Here is the website http://www.survivalschool.com/. I have found these classes to be a big help in identifying wild edibles. The owner/lead instructor is also a great guy. Hope this helps.


Roger
 
Elissa Teal
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Hi! I'm Elissa in NW Ohio and I'm an avid wildcrafter. I, too, HIGHLY recommend the two Sam Thayer books as well as John Kallas' Edible Wild Plants. Be sure to read the ENTIRETY of the books because you will gain so much knowledge and wisdom from the authors. These authors are AMAZING teachers and communicators -- and their books are incredible with lots of color photos of the plants in different stages.

I've written some educational blog posts on my wild food adventures. Here is a link with the 6 posts that I wrote last spring and summer. You may want to scroll down and read the bottom post first so that it will be in chronological order.
http://crunchymamasurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/category/wild-edibles/

Also, check out these pages on my blog:
http://crunchymamasurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/homesteading-and-plant-resources-that-i-use-and-recommend/
http://crunchymamasurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/plant-identifier-websites/

Cheers! Elissa

 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Roger Lewicki wrote:Jennifer,
I live in NE ohio also and I have taken wild edible classes at Midwest Native skills institute. It is located if seven hills, ohio (just outside of cleveland). Here is the website http://www.survivalschool.com/. I have found these classes to be a big help in identifying wild edibles. The owner/lead instructor is also a great guy. Hope this helps.


Roger


Thanks, Roger! I have been wanting to go to a fire making class and was considering The Pathfinder School in S. Ohio or Willowhaven in S. Indiana. NMSI is much closer to me and I'm glad that you've found the instructor helpful. I just went and subscribed to the school's FB feed.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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