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Posted: 7/1/2012 6:55:11 AM EDT
My kids and a friend wanted to see how well we could eat from the wild, so we a used a three-day canoeing trip as a fun experiment.

Things we ate:
Salmon and Rainbow trout caught on rod and reel.
Crawfish caught in a trap using the fish heads and guts as bait.
Chipmunks caught with Paiute deadfalls.
Wild Strawberries
Greens: Purslane, Sheep Sorrel, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Lamb's Quarters
Mushrooms: Chanterelles
Tea: Mint, St. John's wort and Black currants

Things we could have harvested if we had chosen to:
A variety of birds
Squirrels
Bullfrogs
Sunfish
Ant eggs
Bee larvae
Cattail roots

We used rice, salt and coconut oil from our storage, eggs from our henhouse, and a frame of honey from one of our hives, and ate quite well. We also made bannock one night.

At least in the summer, protein and greens are easy to gather, especially if you're willing to eat things that most people don't think of as food.                                          


Chipmunk hams ready for the frying pan. Mmm Mmm, Aunt Bea, Aunt Bea:

Link Posted: 7/1/2012 8:10:43 AM EDT
Quoted:





Looks like they should have buffalo sauce on them.

Bet your kids enjoyed the experiment.
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 9:35:53 AM EDT
Very nice.

Why'd ya pass on the cattails?

Don't forget stinging nettle if it's in your area. One of the better greens I've tasted.

I do back up from fungi. I love the taste but nutritionally they're just not worth it. I know the morels, hickory jacks and puffballls, just not willing to take any chance on messing up just once. Call me a chicken.

Once you get used to the idea, several bugs are actually pretty tasty. Should have seen the scout troop when my 8yo daughter showed them about cleaning and eating fried grasshoppers.

Good on you for teaching digger deadfalls. Simpler and easier than fig 4s.  Do you know the Ojibwa bird snare?
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 10:53:58 AM EDT
Cattail roots are way too much work, and they taste like mud.

Didn't even think of nettles, we've eaten them before, and there are plenty around. We had as much of the other stuff as we could use, and stopped looking for greens.

Also meant to try freshwater mussels. Tried boiling them once and they were awful. Someone told me they're pretty good if you just lay them directly on coals until they open, so I've been meaning to try that.

Just Googled the Ojibwa bird snare, I may have to experiment with that.

Never had much luck with figure fours, it's hard to set them well, and they tend to fall on your hands when you're trying. The Paiute deadfall is much easier to set, much more sensitive, and you can do it (mostly) without putting your hands underneath. The secret is to use a forked stick for the upright. I'll take a pic and post it.
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 1:36:54 PM EDT
Agree on the cattail roots, if you just boil them. I've had decent results after washing well, parboiling and then roasting. Yes, it's a hassel. I like the little center part at the base (above the roots)better.

I've had mixed results with the mussels. I usually wash them in clean (boiled) water and the roast them on the coals till the open.

I'm with ya on the "man can only eat so many greens" thing. From what I've read, nettle has the highest content of nutrition of most wild greens so I tend to snag that first.

When it comes down to it, it's tough to get that "hardy, stick to your ribs" sort of meal when foraging. Starch and fat are tough to come by this time of year. It's one reason I'm big on the bug thing.  Protien is a decent substitute

Figure fours take some "getting the hang of" and require a nice, flat, square edged rock or split log to keep it stable. My cub scout den got their whitlin' chip badge by making the figure four. They had great fun walking the little stuffed rabbit into the trap while making terrible sounds of distress. I learned the paiute deadfal from McPherson's books. I actually got good enough to catch mice with a figure four.

Another thing my scouts enjoyed learning was "no utensil cooking". They did fish by packing it in clay and burying it in coals. It works well. Bannock on the stick is another favorite of theirs.

One of the activities that brings the most pride and confidence is friction fire (bow drill). Get 'em the right stuff and help them set it up well and it's not hard for a kid to get a fire in under a minute.

Most important thing is to get them out there. I get more reward out of teaching the kids than I do actually doing it myself.
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 4:10:27 PM EDT
Dinner pic looks raw, no gun, napkin, drink etc.
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 4:46:51 PM EDT
Good to see some one out teaching there kids. not just sitting on a computer seeing what colar gun is best for shtf. kids learn a lot from theses and might just save there lives some day. When we go on hikes the kids are always pointing out good places for a shelter or things that would help them if lost in the woods.

Good on u for getting them out and teaching them


stuck
Link Posted: 7/1/2012 5:11:26 PM EDT
Quoted:
Dinner pic looks raw over cooked, no gun, napkin, drink etc.


Sounds like a fun trip.  

Link Posted: 7/1/2012 9:19:28 PM EDT

Holy cow!

I was "my side of the mountain" for real!

I wish i new all that stuff.  

Link Posted: 7/1/2012 9:53:01 PM EDT
Are you willing to teach enthusiastic rookies Rodent?

I wouldn't know an edible wild plant from a summer squash. When I was a kid I could bake a pretty decent pie from the rhubarb growing in the back yard-but that is the sum of my "wild" plant knowledge

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 12:26:50 AM EDT
Tag
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 2:10:12 AM EDT
Quoted:
Are you willing to teach enthusiastic rookies Rodent?

I wouldn't know an edible wild plant from a summer squash. When I was a kid I could bake a pretty decent pie from the rhubarb growing in the back yard-but that is the sum of my "wild" plant knowledge

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


I don't really know very much, but we could take a hike and find some greens and mushrooms at least.

Link Posted: 7/2/2012 5:40:21 AM EDT
I sure can't knock you Rodent, you are doing better than 99% of humans could do in your situation.  I am willing to bet that there are insufficient calories to maintain your weight in the items listed.
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 9:26:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 10:32:50 AM EDT
Quoted:
I sure can't knock you Rodent, you are doing better than 99% of humans could do in your situation.  I am willing to bet that there are insufficient calories to maintain your weight in the items listed.


It's real dang hard to get the amount of calories you need while living off the land. It's an all encompassing endeavour.

Some times of the year it's easier than others. You need large quantities that are easy to harvest and dense in calories. Nuts, berries, tubers, stuff like that. Before I had a family, one of my hobbies was to go to the family "farm" (200 acres of woods in central KY) and live minimally for 3-7 days at a time. Spring and fall, I ate fairly well. Summer was ok and winter SUCKED. There was a creek with chubs, minnows and crawdads but no real fish. Plenty of squirrel and groundhogs. Deer (I would have only taken one in season) were hunted out by the locals who never heard of a hunting season or liscense.
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 11:11:48 AM EDT
good one.
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 1:21:24 PM EDT
Always look forward to Rodent's write ups and photos...
Link Posted: 7/2/2012 5:50:34 PM EDT
Quoted:
It's real dang hard to get the amount of calories you need while living off the land....


Greens are easy most of the year. Protein is relatively easy. Carbohydrates and fats are the hard parts. That's why we concentrate on storing store rice, wheat, oats and coconut oil.

That's also why, for most of human history over most of the globe, humans got the majority of their calories from acorns. Grain that grows on trees. It might pay some day to know how to process and prepare them in quantity.

Link Posted: 7/2/2012 6:04:43 PM EDT
I'm definitely in agreement regarding acorns.  It pays to take the time to identify the various Oaks.  Red oaks are prolific but the suck.  The tannin content is incredible andd I've never bothered to take the time to leach the tannins out.  It would take some doing.  White oaks are  better but far from being "good to eat".  Less work leaching I suppose.  But if bur oaks grow in your areas, its is really worth the time to learn what they look like, and where they are growing.  they are occasional bearers, with fairly weak crops most years.  Every once in five or six years an individual tree will havve a bumper crop.  If you can beat the deer, turkeys and porcupines these are definitely worth looking for.  Edible as is, right out of the hull, with no processing. They remind me of coconut.  

As a side not, I've got a bunch of bur oaks, and I've used quality deer management principles to "release" them, cutting competing trees and fertilizing.  We'll see if I can coax better crops...  Ive also planted Ashworth bur oaks, a variety selected to very low tannins.  There are also other oaks, selected and bred for acorn production and cropp size used primarily for deer management.  Of course this is hardly foraging, but could be a decent low profile 'insurance' food crop most people will not recognize.

Some hickories drop a pretty decent nut too.  And keep a good eye out for black walnut and butternuts.  Lots of fats that are hard to come by when foraging.
Some of the best natural sources of fats are mast crops.
Fro

Link Posted: 7/2/2012 9:13:06 PM EDT
Sounds like fun and a good experience for the kids, well done sir!
Link Posted: 7/3/2012 5:11:50 AM EDT
Quoted:
I'm definitely in agreement regarding acorns.  It pays to take the time to identify the various Oaks.  Red oaks are prolific but the suck.  The tannin content is incredible andd I've never bothered to take the time to leach the tannins out.  It would take some doing.  White oaks are  better but far from being "good to eat".  Less work leaching I suppose.  But if bur oaks grow in your areas, its is really worth the time to learn what they look like, and where they are growing.  they are occasional bearers, with fairly weak crops most years.  Every once in five or six years an individual tree will havve a bumper crop.  If you can beat the deer, turkeys and porcupines these are definitely worth looking for.  Edible as is, right out of the hull, with no processing. They remind me of coconut.  

As a side not, I've got a bunch of bur oaks, and I've used quality deer management principles to "release" them, cutting competing trees and fertilizing.  We'll see if I can coax better crops...  Ive also planted Ashworth bur oaks, a variety selected to very low tannins.  There are also other oaks, selected and bred for acorn production and cropp size used primarily for deer management.  Of course this is hardly foraging, but could be a decent low profile 'insurance' food crop most people will not recognize.

Some hickories drop a pretty decent nut too.  And keep a good eye out for black walnut and butternuts.  Lots of fats that are hard to come by when foraging.
Some of the best natural sources of fats are mast crops.
Fro



Nuts are definitely where it's at. Hickory nuts, ime, are very good. Walnuts are a given but tough to get out of the shell. We've got beech and birch that are tasty but small.

Acorns are great. I've not tried the burr oak ones but will look into it. I've used white oak acorns many times and they're usually gtg with only one leaching, if you have them pounded small enough. Went to the trouble, one year, to boil down some maple sap to go with some finely ground acorn meal. I had found a cache of them in a dry spot in February. One of the most satisfying meals I've ever made in the woods, off the land.

The acorns and bark from high tannin trees are far from usless, though. Boil it down (and down and down) and the tannin is a great tool against poison ivy (which I can look at and get). It will help prevent infection in a burn and will help relieve the squirts.
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