Picture of Wild Nibbles
If you're ever walking along somewhere and feel a bit peckish, this instructable might help you!  You'd be surprised how many common plants are perfectly edible.

This instructable is a short guide to several plants that are good for just nibbling on as you pass them by - this isn't about foraging or cooking anything.  Just tasty stuff to keep your teeth occupied... better than chewing gum!

All of these are pretty common (some localised) where I live in NW England, I assume most are easy to find over the rest of the country and possibly much of Europe or elsewhere.

Photos are all my own except a few from Wikipedia until the right time of year comes around and I can take some myself!

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Beech

Picture of Beech
Beech 2.jpg
Beech 3.jpg
Beech can be a huge tree or made in hedging, and is easy to recognise.  It has smooth greyish bark and spiky brown buds that open into green serrated leaves (see photos).  In the autumn the trees have plenty of nuts with a taste somewhere between walnuts and chestnuts.

In spring the new leaves can be eaten while they are still bright green and floppy, but get bitter fast when they become darker and stiffer in a couple of weeks.  I find that if they're chewed too long they start to taste bitter too so just give them a couple of munches.   Loads of them around though!

The nuts come in a hard outer shell that opens up by itself when ripe, the nuts (called 'mast') are small but plentiful and drop to the ground making them easy to gather.  Looking like a steep three-sided pyramid, use your nail to crack off the thin inner shell then rub off the bitter hairs before eating it.
The trees don't seem to produce them every year, or sometimes just empty shells... Not sure whether this is just normal for beech or if it depends on the weather and seasons.

mrv92924 years ago
You can't forget sour grass. Here at least, on the west coast, me and my friends always used to love to come upon a patch of the yellow flowers.
Sparrowhawk (author)  mrv92924 years ago
Didn't know what sour grass was so looked it up... it's wood sorrel! Some types have yellow flowers, but I've only ever seen it with white which is much more common here in England. Can't remember why I didn't add normal sorrel though. Will do when I get some photos of it ;)
Yellow wood sorrel used to grow in my fromt yard... not anymore, though. I live in southern California and its so hot here that I guess they all died.
ilpug2 years ago
Miners lettuce, Redbud, Clover flowers, mint, and chickweed are all edible, although I might have gotten their names wrong.
Sparrowhawk (author)  ilpug2 years ago
Never heard of Miners lettuce or Redbud before, on looking them up it seems they're common in America but not here...

Mint I didn't include because it's not very common (but maybe I will after all) and chickweed because I've never found and tried it!

Clover's interesting... I'll have to hunt some up and try it :)
What country are you in? I am on the North Coast of California, and all the plants I listed above grow wild in my yard.
Sparrowhawk (author)  ilpug2 years ago
I'm in England (Manchester).
ikeike404 years ago
check out my instructable for another
cory.smith4 years ago
Excellent instructable! Many of those are found here in the states too, and I found this pretty helpful! -Cory
I was always told not to eat Ground Elder once it flowered, as it would become a potent laxative.
It gets too bitter for my taste weeks before it flowers though, so I doubt anyone would want to eat it then anyways.
AndyGadget4 years ago
How could you miss out wild strawberries!  Such an intense flavour in such a small berry which puts any of the cultivated varieties to shame.

Ramsons brings back memories of my wedding-day to me.  On leaving the reception we found that our 'friends' had filled the car with wild garlic.
I've just realised - I've got everything you mention here apart from the linden and bilberries (but including wild strawberries) in the garden.  Enough hemlock to take out a small village too.  It is quite a wild garden in places.
Jayefuu4 years ago
Loads of good info here! I never knew you could nibble ground elder.

Perhaps a warning/disclaimer in the first step would be useful. While your photos are clear and well referenced when not yours, it would be good to recommend people look up other pictures before trying some things so they don't get mixed up with less edible plants!
Sparrowhawk (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
I used plants that can't really be confused with anything poisonous (except ramsons, sometimes) but yes perhaps I'll put a general disclaimer about eating things...

I didn't put cow parsley for example because I don't have any decent photos and that can easily be confused with hemlock and other stuff.
Fypsigon4 years ago
Nice instructable!!

In Germany all of these can be found, too.

Jayefuu is right, especialy  the leaves of Lily-of-the-Valley are easily mistaken for ramsons....and they grow in the same places, extremely poisonous!! So check carefully before you eat them!

Wood Sorrel

Here in the states, we have this as well. But I've never seen it with a white flower. Ours have yellow flowers. Same great taste. In my back yard it grows in abundance.

Also, if you can find it, check some books by Euell Gibbons. Here's a start: