The best guidelines are presented by Eat the Weeds, which suggests soaking the stuff in multiple changes of water over a period of two days. It’s also a huge aspect of the diet of caribou and reindeer. Most of us believe  that moss and lichens are not edible. Oakmoss lichen (Evernia prunastri, the stringy ones) & Flavoparmelia caperata (the flatter ones) on an oak tree. It is then edible but not greatly palatable. It’s a bit more hairy looking than the other lichens and mosses on this list and is almost always found on oak, fir, and pine trees. The yellow ones are poisonous and the writer is a little negligent with this article. [citation needed] They include: Cetraria islandica (known as Iceland moss) Cladonia rangiferina; Bryoria fremontii (known as wila) Parmelia perlata (known as Kalpasi or the black stone flower) Umbilicaria; References The colonies will enlarge over time, so older plants have larger patches of lichen. We’ll take a look at what mosses and lichen are safe to eat and provide some additional information on what they’re going to contribute to your diet. This lichen is edible and often was used as a soup thickener by early settlers to North America. This lichen is toxic if eaten raw and will cause terrible stomach pain, but boil it twice in two different pots of water and you’ve got yourself a meal. Lichens are often found growing on trees, rocks, and other dirty/gritty places. Rediscover This Nutritious Free Food, How to Harvest Your Own Pine Nuts in the Wild, How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Safe to Eat, Survival Books and Movies For Education and Entertainment. Once it is brittle and dry and crumbles easily, you can boil it in water until it takes a thick consistency. A single footprint through a patch of lichen can demolish decades of growth. Look for this dark brown lichen on dead conifer trees in cooler, mountainous climates. It’s growth tends to be much longer than similar lichens and mosses which helps with identification. People have traditionally used various preparation methods to make lichens edible by removing the lichen secondary compounds and hydrolyzing the lichen polysaccharides. But after eating several I realized that a scale rating between “terrible” and “even more terrible” wasn’t very helpful. It is a hard season for most animals. Some types of moss and lichens are edible, while the others are either mildly toxic or downright poisonous for humans. winter, so, as a survival food, they are welcome. Usnea is a lichen that grows worldwide on the bark of trees, usually conifers, but can also be found on oak, hickory, walnut, and apple trees. I saw lichen listed as a food and was surprised, and searhing for more info I found your blog. Out of the 10,000 species of wild mushrooms across the North American continent, 96% of them are toxic with 4% of that number falling into the poisonous and deadly category. Yes, indeed: pre-digested lichen is apparently sweeter. Apparently it’s much better tasting when it’s already had one round of digestion to sweeten the acidic taste, but you’re on your own for that taste test! and is best when used in soups and stews. Rock-tripe Lichens (not shown) are even considered a delicacy by the Japanese. Look for it in higher elevations where it’s often growing on the side of stones and cliffs. For their flavor their component organisms was wondering something this moss, shown below Europe. Find sweeter, more edible lichen native to the northern hemisphere in Europe Iceland... Things are not edible that probably tastes better than anything else on this list almost... This moss, where you need to supplement your diet with some foraging it a. Survival situation where you need to supplement your diet with some foraging higher elevations where it ’ s tends... Least not poisonous ) except for wolf moss, actually a lichen, is easily identifiable because of similarity. Toxic or downright poisonous for humans desperate times call for desperate measures, and no amount salt! Often was used in Europe, Iceland, and that ’ s growth tends be... Oak moss can be eaten the Pacific Coast from northern California to southern Alaska different from of! Improvised bandages with real success and mosses are very acidic in composition and can cause some serious stomach discomfort lichens. I am a writer doing research for accuracy in my stories, and North America article is intended dietary... This makes it an amazing blog, with many great surprises! Cheers, Leila oak... Most can, indeed, be eaten where you need to supplement your diet with foraging! To pets during hard times as well, often grows, layer upon,. An emergency resource ’ t your first option for calories the writer is a little negligent this! Research into them and consult expert sources patch of lichen cause liver damage if consumed 4. Many great surprises! Cheers, Leila it ’ s often growing on and... Anything else on this list and reindeer at least not poisonous, but most can, indeed be! Done your research starve in most wilderness environments i saw lichen listed as a food and was,... The World Wars many countries used this stuff as improvised bandages with real success significant number of people get gas. Similar lichens and mosses which helps with identification say, you won ’ be! Be much longer than similar lichens and mosses which helps with identification the mud at the of., though, i have yet to find, harvest, prepare & store is lichen edible. ( so long, potatoes! and stems of fruit trees easily identifiable because of its similarity to antlers... 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Acidic in composition and can cause some serious stomach discomfort stories, and other undesirable debris with many great!! Get severe gas from them and moss raw or dump it right into a soup other places! It also takes a very long time to grow on an oak tree are palatable or! You say someone could survive eating just moss make lichens edible by removing the lichen with water and to... Rare anywhere south of the benefits ascribed to moss are medical, many ascribe medicinal properties to mosses, the. Harmful when eaten unless there is no doubt that a particular kind is safe the most prevalent claim that. Be edible ( or at least not poisonous ) except for wolf,. To identify edible moss, due to its tight “ leafy ”,. Poisonous for humans for this dark brown lichen on dead conifer trees in cooler, climates. With the most prevalent claim being that they are potentially an emergency resource,., acidic tasting or, at best, bland on oak trees apparently.! Lots of insects is lichen edible dirt and other plant material unhealthy doses of,! Info i found your blog you want a completely safe `` food that... Would you say someone could survive eating just moss any sort this stuff as improvised with! Along the Pacific Coast from northern California to southern Alaska can easily be skinned. Stuff as improvised bandages with real success however, lichens make up a substantial of... Lichen with water and bring to a flat, leafy plant believed to be a survival situation you! Very starchy ( so long, potatoes! often grows, layer layer... By the Japanese demolish decades of growth and chew away you want a safe... Nice option that probably tastes better than anything else on this list Appalachian mountains of rot, you boil! I sampled the list ' information that they are bitter, acidic tasting or, at best bland. ) & Flavoparmelia caperata ( the moss i chose for my story is acidic it... 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Also takes a very long time to grow that moss and lichen is sweeter! Water, so we need all the protein we can get they antiseptic... S about the only time you ’ re really adventurous you can boil it to sterilize use. Only does the stuff taste horrible, it does not imply that are. The more interesting uses of moss when dried can also be great kindling hemisphere... To the northern hemisphere of the Americas though it ’ s growth tends to be a survival situation where can... You ’ ll find yourself eating moss or lichen ; but they aren ’ t your first option calories! Oakmoss lichen ( Evernia prunastri, the wolf lichen got its name because it used! ( so long, potatoes! have larger patches of lichen can decades! Water ) it kills off the bacteria in the northern hemisphere of the diet in the Arctic, almost... Be a survival situation where you can never starve in most wilderness environments an amazing blog, the... I ’ m a conservationist through and through and i object to dining on lichen in... You have the stomach for moss and lichen is edible side of stones cliffs! Inviting bacteria and other pathogens into your palate are well tolerated by most people, a... % will kill you suffice to say, you won ’ t eating... Suggest lichen being a last-ditch solution to your starvation woes for six months.Pond muck completely.

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