The longer summer days and warm nights have arrived and everything is thriving (both you and nature). I’m sure some of you have summer plans—maybe a weekend getaway is in the works, maybe you're spending your summer abroad, or maybe even grinding your summer away at your internship. Either way, I’m sure this summer has some killer plans.

Maybe your summer plans include spending some one-on-one time in the outdoors? Don’t get me wrong, Mother Nature has some awesome views.

Some of you may be thinking, “Me in the outdoors with no indoor plumbing and no service? Good one.”

However, that just may be the type of fix that you need right now. Let’s face it, our lives are constantly moving like hyper speed, and detoxing from social media and the pressures around us might just be necessary. Detoxing from social media by putting yourself in the outdoors with no service can be a relaxing vacation, and maybe even an enlightening excursion for yourself.

Since you may be in an area with no service and may come across some wild plants, you won't have the pleasures of Google to see if the wild plants are edible. However, there is no need to fret! Here is a handy list of edible wild plants you can familiarize yourself with that was put together by a Plant Biology major at UC Davis.

Dandelions (Taxacum spp.)

grass, pasture, herb, vegetable
Kaitlin Owyang

Remember those yellow flowers in the grass that you used to pick as a child? Turns out those wild plants are edible and are high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. You can eat the leaves and roots of the flower, and they can be tossed in with salads or other greens.

Blackberries (Rubus spp.)

Find the wild blackberries in thorny, three-leafed bushes and eat them for a refreshing snack. Only pick them when they are black; if you see them green, they aren’t ready to be eaten (hence the term blackberries). Sometimes they may even form into shrubs or bushes of vines.

Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)

Miner's lettuce is the edible wild plant most representative to lettuce. It is a green, leafy plant loaded with enough vitamins that it was used to cure scurvy back in the day. Miner's lettuce has peltate leaves, which basically means it is a rounded leaf in the shape of a lily pad with the stem attached at the base of the leaf. Keep your eyes peeled for clusters of small white flowers to increase your chance of finding these leaves. 

Cattail (Typha latifolia)

Cattails may remind you of hot dogs on a stick or you might actually think of a cat’s tail. Cattails grow in wetlands and are abundant in large marshes and along the edge of ponds. The roots and lower stems are the edible part and can be cooked and eaten like potatoes, as they are high in starch. The flower heads are edible and are eaten like sweetcorn, but only after they're boiled.

Pickleweed (Salicornia spp.)

This plant resembles all the salty people and salt lovers out there. Pickleweed has a high salt tolerance, where instead of secreting salt like many other plants, it has a special storage for salt so that it can thrive in salty environments. Pickleweed can be identified by their lack of leaves and stems that resemble Tic-Tacs glued together.

In the summer, pickleweed, aka. sea asparagus, is harvested for its green tips that can be eaten as a fresh salad or steamed and served as a vegetable. Its high salt content makes it a great and refreshing source of electrolytes.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

pasture, grass, herb, vegetable
Kaitlin Owyang

Milk thistles come in clutch in terms of having multiple health benefits, both as a food source and as a medicinal plant. It increases appetite, aids in digestion, and is a great tonic that can be consumed raw as seeds or cooked. All parts of the plant, including the stems, flower buds, and leaves, can be cooked or eaten raw.

However, the best use for milk thistles is to peel and soak the plant before consuming it to reduce the bitter taste. If you are outdoors without your cup of joe and are in dire need of one, this serves as a great substitute to satisfy your craving.

If you find yourself stranded on a camping trip or outdoor excursion, now you've increased your chances of survival and won't starve to death. Preparation is key, and who knows what may happen out there in the wild. But hey, at least you can identify the edible wild plants.