Survival Wild Foods in the Ozarks

Survival Wild Foods in the OzarksThe Ozark Mountains cover a broad stretch of territory in both Arkansas and Missouri. As a popular wilderness destination, the rough Ozarks make a great place for foragers to collect wild edible foodstuffs to bring back for the camp or home dinner table. Having a little knowledge of edible plants is a good idea for backcountry trekkers, who might need to extend their supplies in the event of an accident or getting lost.



The classic wild edible food is the berry. In the Ozarks, there are serviceberries, elderberries and the ever-popular blackberries and black raspberries. However, while the blackberries and raspberries are well-known and easily identified, great care should be taken in making a proper identification of elderberries and serviceberries. There are other plants with a similar appearance that yield poisonous berries.


While nettles are stinging, leafy plants that will require gloves to collect, and they can be used either to make soup or stewed in a similar fashion to collard greens. Cooking eliminates the problems with the stinging poisons. They should be collected between April and May. Other wild vegetables include wild onions and milkweed. However, like nettles, milkweed requires some boiling before its seedpod and leaves can be eaten. Taken raw, they are mildly poisonous.


The oxalis, or wood sorrel (pictured top), can be found in the Ozarks. The tubers of this plant are basically little potatoes, and make for a great wild food source. The leaves can also be used to make tea.


Trees are a great source of nuts, and there are plenty of species with an edible bounty in the forests of the Ozarks. The red and white oaks both provide acorns, while there are both walnuts and black walnuts present as well. Finally, pecan trees can be found in the mountainous Ozarks, especially in the well-watered areas near rivers and streams.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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