Food In The Wilderness

Wilderness food

Imagine you find yourself lost in the wilderness with no means to fill your empty stomach. Hungry and scared, you begin to panic, contemplating how long it will take before you slowly begin to waste away. However, you shouldn’t be too alarmed. So long as you maintain your hydration, it is said that you can generally survive anywhere between 30 – 40 days without food before severe starvation sets in. However, the longer you neglect your body sustenance and do not eat, the more uncomfortable you will become.

While in a survival situation, you may become very hungry and put all your energy and focus into getting food. However, dehydration will set in significantly sooner than starvation would. While you may not particularly enjoy being hungry, it would be more beneficial if one were to seek out a means of drinkable water BEFORE they set out to search for food. It is also important to limit yourself in this situation, think things through, and to not waste your energy unless it would be advantageous to your survival.


It is vital one understands one’s own body and how it spends stored calories. Calories provide us with the strength and energy to push forward in a survival situation. We, however, are constantly burning them throughout the day to keep our body maintained. For example, simply things like shivering or even breathing can burn calories to warm our bodies up in cold weather.

 For this reason and many others, we should do our best to try and conserve as many calories as possible by limiting the amount of physical labor you do. In other terms, try to not overwork yourself at the end of the day, you will no doubt be losing calories. If you are putting a lot of energy into something, make sure you can replace the calories you burn off.

A good way to prepare beforehand would be to take some survival rations with you on your journey. These can be things like wilderness calorie bars, trail mix, dehydrated fruit, peanut butter, etc…


Here we will look at some of the edible things you can find growing in the wilderness. In a survival situation, you should always take caution when it comes to eating wild plants as eating the wrong plants can put you in danger. Under no circumstances should one assume that any plant safe to eat without prior knowledge or experience.


edible plant: cattails

First on our list of edible plants found in the wilderness is Cattail. You can find cattails near the edge of ponds or lakes, throughout wetlands or in marshes. This plant is very easy to identify in its mature stage, as it develops a brown head similar in shape to a cigar. However, during very early stages of growth, cattail can get confused for a different toxic species that may look alike. Though,you can diminish this risk if you find easy to identify grown cattail. The most common way of eating cattail involves pulling the plant from the base and consuming the bottom white shoot of the plant. This can be eaten raw or boiled. Cattails can be found throughout the year, given the right conditions, but seem to thrive during summer and autumn months.


edible plant: clovers

Another wonderful edible that most people can recognize is clover. Clovers can usually be found growing in patches out in open fields or almost any grassy area. This plant is easy to identify due to its iconic symbolism and its distinct three-leaf pattern. The leaves and weeds of clover, while a bit stale and flavorless, are edible. Though if you find yourself with clover blossom, these too are edible. They also may be different colors depending on the species of clover.  Most people generally prefer white clover blossoms when it comes to taste. One important thing to note is to make sure you are eating clover fresh or completely because it will go bad.


edible plant: lambs quarters

One common edible plant people don’t take any special notice to would be Lambs quarters. Lambs quarters is a hardy weed that seems to do very well in most environments. You can find this edible plant all throughout the wilderness and maybe even in your own garden! One can identify lambs quarters by its green leaves that have a white tone underneath. This plant also has a powdery white coating. This can make it look like it’s covered in dust, especially if you spot it from a distance. The flowers of a Lambs quarters will form in tiny bunches of green/white flowers that grow upon a forked or spiked tip. When this plant gets wet, water tends to form tiny droplets that bead right off the leaves due to it being naturally water resistant.

Edible parts include the leaves, the stem, and even the flowers! You can eat lambs quarters raw, but we recommend that you not eat this in excess unless it has been boiled or cooked. When you cook this plant, oxalic acid is removed from the plants, which isn’t typically harmful in the first place if eaten in moderation.


edible plant: dandelion

You’ve probably seen or picked a dandelion before, but did you know that these too are edible? Dandelions can grow in almost any environment, making them easy to come by.  You can identify a dandelion by the yellow flowers that stem off the base of the plant. One dandelion base may have several dandelion flowers protruding from it. Edible parts of this plant include the yellow flowers, leaves, and roots. You can even eat this plant raw!


edible plant: chicory

Chicory, also found in the wilderness, is an agreeable edible option. You can find these edible wild flowers growing among other weedy plants in wide open arenas and near trails and roads. You can identify chicory by its often sky blue like flowers that blossom in the summer and autumn months. These flowers grow along the stems that jut out of the plants base. Leaves of this plant look and grow like that of the dandelions in the fact that both have their leaves growing at the bottom part, or base, of the plant and that they have similar shape. Edible part of this plant includes the root, leaves, and flowers. Although, you should know that the flowers are very bitter. You can eat this plant raw; however, boiling may remove some of the bitter taste.