Can I eat wild strawberries? If you have recently been out hiking in the woods and trails and come across some wild strawberries on your travels, you might have been very tempted to taste these succulent looking fruit, but stopped yourself out of fear that they were poisonous. So are wild strawberries safe to eat, or will they leave you writhing on the floor with the world’s worst case of food poisoning?
The good news is that wild strawberries are safe to eat! Not only are they safe for us to eat, but they are also very healthy and packed full of great nutrients. Just like other wild fruits commonly found outdoors such as blackberries, bilberries, and raspberries, wild strawberries are unbeatable when it comes to fresh, tart flavor.
As well as being full of succulent flavor, wild strawberries contain exceptionally high levels of vitamin C and folic acid. They also contain vitamin A, selenium, calcium, and polyphenols. From a medical perspective, scientific studies have shown that edible wild strawberries can help to inhibit the spread of cancerous cells and it is also thought that wild strawberries can help treat rheumatic gout and fever. In the past, the plant was commonly used by medical herbalists for treating various ailments including plaque and tartar removal from teeth.
The leaves of the wild strawberry plant also have a number of useful applications. When dried, they make a refreshing tea and when boiled they make a useful home cure for diarrhea.
For centuries wild strawberries have been considered a great find due to their sweet and delicious flavor. Wild strawberries are smaller than the cultivated strawberries you will find in the shops, but they taste far better. Just like regular strawberries, they can be eaten fresh, or used in desserts, pies, or jam making, but you will probably find that most of the fruits are eaten long before they ever find their way back to your kitchen.
Wild strawberries have quite a long growing season and depending on the amount of available sunlight and the altitude they are found at, they can be harvested over a period of a couple of months. However, if there is plenty of wildlife around, you may find you have significant competition for the sweet fruits of the wild strawberry plant!
But even though wild strawberries are safe to eat and are also very nutritious, if your kids ask: can I eat wild strawberries—you must make absolutely sure that they have found a wild strawberry plant and not a similar looking plant with poisonous berries instead. Unfortunately, there are several species of fruit bearing plant growing in the wild that strongly resemble the wild strawberry plant. These common poisonous berry bearing plants include Climbing Nightshade and Elderberries and should be treated with great care. If in doubt about whether the plant or fruit is edible, the advice is always DO NOT EAT IT!
It is also worth noting, however, that persons who are prone to allergies should avoid eating wild strawberries as they can cause a severe allergic reaction.