Before I get to the meat (or vegetable, as it were) of this post, I wanted to update those of you who are interested in the LK-35 Swedish army rucksack (if you’re not, you might want to skip this paragraph). Being curious as to why I have been able to fit more gear inside this supposedly 35 L pack in comparison to other 35 L packs, I emptied it and took some measurements. I was happy to find that the maximum capacity is actually about 40.5 L. The reason for the discrepancy is the pack’s top flap, which has a range of positions to accommodate different amounts of gear inside. When the flap is at its lowest position, the volume is about 30 L, whereas at its highest position, the volume is about 40.5 L (2,470 cubic inches). Since I attach my bulky sleeping gear to the outside of the pack, 40+ L is plenty of room for my gear, food, extra clothes etc., so I plan to continue using and trialing it. While the pack was empty, I also weighed it using a bathroom scale, and it weighed in at 2.3 kg/5 pounds. Not lightweight, but I still think it’s a winner thanks to its extreme ruggedness.
My favorite of the leafy wild edibles growing here in Finland is the broadleaf plantain (plantago major).
It’s one of about 200 species of plaintain (not to be confused with the fruit of the same name) growing around the world. Native to most of Europe and Northern/Central Asia, broadleaf plantain is commonly considered a weed, as it is often found growing in grassy areas in populated places.
When I see this plant, I don’t see a weed at all. I see a nutritious leafy vegetable high in vitamins A, C and K and in calcium which can be picked and eaten raw or cooked. I see a plant that can be made into a poultice which aids in healing wounds and insect bites thanks to its anti-toxic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties (the leaves contain aucubin, allantoin and several soothing agents). Fever and respiratory infections were traditionally treated with the plant’s root. Tea made from the leaves is said to be good for treating diarrhea due to the inherent astringent properties.
So the next time you’re getting rid of “weeds” around your house, check to see if any of them are broadleaf plantain. You might have a nutritious snack and mini-pharmacy right nearby without knowing it!
Disclaimer: Consuming wild edible plants and/or using them for medical purposes is done at your own risk. Always be 100% certain of what you are eating/doing. If unsure, contact an expert.