Can you eat grass?

Discussion in 'Plant and Tree Identification' started by designer, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I have always wondered. It must have nutriants since so many animals eat it. And if you had no food could you eat grass to survive? I remember this story of a man stranded in the snow who starved to death in his truck. I think if in that situation I would be digging in the snow for something to eat. Would grass keep you alive?
     
  2. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't see why it wouldn't - at least longer than eating nothing would.

    I just finished reading an amazing book, "skeletons on the zahara" about some sailors who were shipwrecked on the coast of the Sahara desert in the 1800's. They survived incredible conditions eating things like shoe leather and drinking their own urine.
     

  3. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    There are other examples of people eating unusual things to survive like the soldiers under benedict Arnold on the way to montreal thru the Maine wilderness eating shoes, belts, soap and anything else they could. The one thing about the idea of digging thru snow is that the stress your body goes thru in searching, digging, and freezing all take their toll on the body as well. Which is why eating snow to hydrate yourself isn't a good idea.
    The name Adirondack is a Mohawk word that means bark eater. It is a derrogatory term used to describe Algonquin natives. If you are starving then by all means eat what you can find. The reason that grass isn't consumed by humans has more to do with our inability to digest the grass properly. Some animals like ruminants have bacteria in their stomachs that can. But they also re-chew the food to adequately digest.
     
  4. Dave in Ohio

    Dave in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Hey anything is edible----ONCE
     
  5. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    Grass has too much cellulose and silica for us to digest much of it. I know of a man who was very short on food an ddecided to cook up soem of the alfalfa hay that he had. He said that he "found out why it was for horses and not people". Apparently it wreaked havoc with his innards...
     
  6. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    When I was in grade 4 I had a thing for eating grass. Did horrors to all of my friends, but I could ingest unlimited amounts and be just fine and dandy. Haven't tried grass lately... well... sometimes I nibble on hay, or if I'm on the lawn with the rabbits, I nibble... but not tons like before.
     
  7. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I know wheatgrass JUICE can be drunk, although I fail to see why. I also know that people eat sprouted wheat, rye, and alfalfa, so that is eating very young grass seedlings. As other people have said, anything can be eaten, but whether or not it is digestable is a different story. Rumanents have two stomachs, which probably helps them digest grass.
     
  8. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    well.. try it.

    you wont find it very balanced. Cows have extra stomachs, one to turn the grass mash into carbs, and another to use the carbs.

    you could eat grass, but I think the calories required to process it would be greater than the calories you got from it.

    let us know how it goes tho...
     
  9. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

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    Yes almost all of the grasses are edible, the former posters are right about it though, it is very difficult to digest.

    Mostly the reason that grasses are considered edible is because we are eating the seeds of the grasses. Most of our grains come from grass. Wheat, rye, corn, barley etc. Many of our native grasses have seeds that are worth eating as well. Foxtail grass is not bad, better when roasted and made into a gruel.

    If you are going to eat grasses as a survival food (meaning the leaves and stems)... the best way is just to chew the grasses, swallow the juices, spit out the roughage. That way you get most all of the nutrient without making your body try to process the fibrous parts. I'd venture to say that you couldn't live on them long term. (not that you would want to)

    To my knowledge all of the grasses in N. America are considered edible. (because of the seeds) The only warning is don't eat seeds that are deformed, black, or of a different color than other seeds from the same grass. Sometimes grass seeds are infected by rusts. (fungal diseases)
    The " mysteries of Elusia" in ancient rome were introduced by the priests of the temple of Demeter. they would harvest barley that had been infected by rust. This would be made into a gruel... (barley rust contains lysergic acid diethylamide) Most could not explain the mysteries of elusia, just that they were very ... hmm... mysterious. :p
     
  10. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    Wildcrafthollow got it. I never understood how people could be so dumb and starve to death when there was grass, leaves and roots to eat.
    Snaring a bunny should be the treat, not the meal.
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I've read that many Irish people died with their mouths full of grass in the great potato famine. You just can't get enough nutrients from it by chewing and there is way too much indigestable fiber. I have taken sweet grass and run it thru the food processor with some water, strained it and drunk the juice. Really good source of vitamins and minerals and chlorophyl.
     
  12. Vere My Sone

    Vere My Sone Well-Known Member

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    When my dd was doing an eatable plant honor,
    she read about a Chinese doctor who kept his family alive for 2 or 3 years, I can't remember the time frame, during a famine on grass

    I've read all grass is eatable, but must be cooked first
     
  13. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i have heard of folks eating boiled grass to survive.
     
  14. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Just don't eat the yellow grass. Or is that snow?
     
  15. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    In my experience the best way to eat grass is to chew on the sweet tasting bits and swallow the juice and spit the rest out. Always be looking for something sweet. Still it would be difficult to get more than 100 calories a day doing this, but it will give you some carbs to keep you going as you trudge along on body fat. If you must travel with little food you should travel slowly but efficiently so that you conserve carbohydrates and protien. All of you body cells can metabolize fatty acids except the brain, which needs glycogen. It can get these from either carbohydrates or protien. When you work hard you burn carbs. When you brain runs out of carbs you fall over. So go slow and don't burn carbs unless you are eating carbs.

    Besides grass you can eat bugs, bark tea, roots, and of course anything that is real food. Dandelions and Nasturtium and Clover and Wood Sorrel are real food. Wood Sorrel might make you sick in quantity, but I have eaten alot of wood sorrel. Even with a good supply of greens and bugs you might have would have trouble getting 200 calories a day, but 200 calories is a lot when you are starving. Dandelions and other such greens have about 35 calories per cup cooked and about 45 calories per 100g. Crickets and other bugs have about 120 calories per 100g, but mostly fat and protien and hardly any carbs. It also takes about 400 crickets to make up 100g. Go for a variety of stuff that you know. Don't try anything new unless you have too and it is in abundance and worth the risk. There is a protocol where you test it gradually. Research and experiment when you are healthy before you are in need, but don't make yourself sick either.
     
  16. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I wonder where the Inuit got all their carbs. They probably converted a lot of protien to glycogen but I didn't think you could do that indefinitely. Of course they ate liver and that has glycogen, but there are only so many livers to go around. Lichen is a source of carbs. I think they also ate the contents of caribou stomachs.

    Not sure where the Inuit got all their carbs in the old days. Most other folks had access to berries and stuff, even in the North, just not the extreme far North.
     
  17. SherryR

    SherryR Well-Known Member

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    Years ago while stationed in Korea, my tai kwan do instructor told me that he and his generation had to eat grass. With all the destruction of the korean war (fields of cabbage, rice, etc destroyed, along with everything else) a whole generation grew up to be stunted adults. He told me that's why the Koreans were so small. (the only big ones I ever saw were guards on northern side of north/south border)
    sherry
     
  18. mihal

    mihal Peterfi Mihal

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    As Wildcrafthollow and JAK point out, you can eat it, swallow juice, and spit out the roughage. I have done this often on long hikes as a trail edible. You could not survive for any period of time on just the grass; it takes too much work to chew for what you get. I have also used some shredded grass and grass seeds to fill out camp stews. The seeds from all but one grass species in NA are edible raw--- safer to cook unless you can identify.

    There are a lot of better foods almost anywhere at almost any time of year though. Sorrel is one of my favorite (don't eat too much) high energy trail side snacks. Partridge berry is another. They both are edible almost any time of year. I have dead nettle, sorrel (yellow) and wild onions out there right now. If desperate, inner bark of trees can be stewed or ground (very damaging to trees). Tea can be made from evergreens (vitamin C). Bugs and other less savory critters can go into the stew pot. Try to forget they are there. There is just no reason (other than inexperience) to not find food. Safe water on the other hand ... :shrug:

    I have used wild rye and oats to make bread. Cut stalks with a jacknife, threshed with a flail, ground, baked. Very dense, but good with honey butter.
     
  19. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm pretty sure this aspect of thier diet was fulfilled by the consumption of massive amounts of animal fat.
     
  20. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Humans are the most adaptable life forms on the planet (with the possible exception of skeeters :cute: ). If the human body could be sustained on a grass diet, somewhere, sometime, a culture of grass eaters would have arisen.