That May be Helpful in Surviving the Post-Apocalyptic Midwest

Plaintain (Plantago major), or Ubiquitous Salad.

The landscape in which the future apocalypse survivor will struggle will most likely be similar to the one in which he or she now lives (albeit looted, deserted, partially destroyed and/or infested with disease, radiation or zombies, of course).Nevertheless, the remains of our suburban sprawls, urban jungles, and semi-rural farmland will still be enticingly full of hidden resources, and survivors will gravitate towards them.

Even after all of the food pantries, garages and tool sheds have been looted and emptied by competing survivors, there will still be valuable resources hidden in these human environments. In fact, even now, you are surrounded by a versatile and almost universally helpful plant every time you step in most backyards or parks!

Plantago major growing in the cracks of a sidewalk.

Image from Wikipedia.

Plaintain (Plantago major being the most common species) is considered a weed, but is edible and packed with medicinal qualities. Extremely ubiquitous, plantains are common in most parts of the United States and Europe. Seriously: just look in the grass at the park or the lines of green in the cracks of the sidewalk, and you’ll see plantains. I always think it is exciting (and will be so much more so for the Survivor) to realize that I am walking through a field of food.

I would only eat the plant (either raw in a salad or cooked) when it is very young and tender–once it gets tough and rigid, it’s much less tasty. Actually, if you’re looking for the tastiest plant, plantain really isn’t the best choice–Samuel Thayer, author of Nature’s Garden, bemoans the fact that so many foragers talk about plantain when there are so many better options out there. But it is everywhere!

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