Fall has the biggest wild food payoff of the year. High calorie nuts, seeds, fruits and berries can be easily foraged. These foods can provide you with a valuable emergency energy supply or a tasty snack on your next hunt or hike. Here are your 10 best bets for fall foraging.
These common tree nuts are the highest calorie payout of the fall season, giving you 193 calories per ounce of nutmeat. Most hickory nuts taste like their famous relative: the pecan.
2. Black Walnut
The rough round husks of this wild walnut conceal a valuable food source. The nut meats of black walnut are rich tasting and contain 173 calories an ounce. They are high in fat, with a fair bit of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
3. Pine Nuts
The nuts of any large pine tree are a classic western survival food. Measuring 172 calories per ounce, these nuts are high fat, with some protein and carbohydrates. Pine nuts are also a good source of thiamin and manganese, with a decent array of other B vitamins and minerals.
The American hazelnut grows east of the Mississippi from Georgia to Maine. Just one ounce of the good flavored hazelnuts contains 170 calories and 4 grams of protein. The hazelnut also carries a good portion of vitamin E, thiamin, copper and manganese.
5. Beech Nuts
Look for the smooth barked beech trees in the eastern woodlands, and look for the small three-sided seed falling out of a prickly husk around early October. The nuts have 10 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein and 164 calories per ounce.
One ounce of acorn nut meat from any species of Oak (Quercus genus) contains a little over 100 calories. These are high carb nuts, with some fat and protein, giving these nuts a nutritional profile similar to bread. Just shell them and soak them in water for a few days to remove their bitterness.
7. Wild Rice
This northern marsh grass plant has long been a valuable commodity in North America. The raw, uncooked rice is 100 calories per ounce, and it contains some traces of B vitamins, 4 grams of protein, and numerous minerals.
These small shiny black seeds contain 90 calories an ounce, 3 grams of protein, and some calcium and iron. The leaves are also edible, but have very low nutritional value.
9. Rose Hips
The fire-engine red fruits of wild roses are only 20 calories an ounce, but they are a good source of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin A and manganese. One ounce will provide close to your daily allowance of vitamin C.
These sweet native fruits are not pretty, but their sweet taste makes them a very popular wild food. Persimmon fruit has 16 calories per ounce, along with vitamins A and C. Look for wrinkled fruits in late October. They are very bitter and give you a strong case of cotton mouth if they are not yet ripe.
Let us know your favorite fall wild edible plants by leaving us a comment.