Ohio may not be the most rugged state, but it has many forested areas. While it is unlikely that your life will ever depend upon the knowledge of what can or cannot be eaten in the deep Ohio wilderness, knowing what can be eaten is great for supplementing a camping diet, gaining a better understanding of nature and impressing your friends.
A common sight along trails in Ohio, the blackberry is best identified by its clusters of three leaves and white flowers. Red berries will blacken as they mature. Bushes can grow to ten feet in height. Berries look like clumps of polyps and can be mashed or eaten directly.
Abundant in low-lying areas, the cattail is one of the most versatile and useful edible wild plants to be found in Ohio. The cones at the top of the plant, green when not in bloom, can be cooked like ears of corn. When in bloom the heads become long lengths of brown pollen, which can be scraped off and used as flour. Anything green on the plant can also be eaten, with the roots considered especially delicious.
A common sight in Ohio, the maple has numerous edible parts. Easiest to find are the distinctive two-winged seeds, which look like wishbones or folded helicopter blades. The leaves are coarsely serrated, with five main jagged extensions from the central leaf. Also edible is the inner bark and the sap, which must be boiled in great quantities in order to reduce to syrup.
Believe it or not, this pesky plant can be eaten, despite its toxic sting. Pick the plant with gloves and boil the leaves for ten minutes. The leaves are useful in tea, stew or salads. The plant can be identified by its tall, stalklike appearance with pointed prickly leaves emerging from the central shaft.