food foraging

Food Foraging
The art of foraging for foods in the wild (off grid food sources)

After food storaging and farming for food at home, the next area
of study for a Happy Prepper is food foraging. As a supplement to
the food supply food foraging can help provide essential
phytonutrients, which are natural plant compounds of great
beneficial health value. Even a small amount of herbs, such as
chives, will provide an edge to survival edge. Food is energy!

The course of study on food foraging should be personal and
based on local vegetation. While books provide the resources for
proper identification and harvesting, Happy Preppers should
include a few afternoons of hunting to identify specific edible
plants. From these findings, Happy Preppers include actual
pictures and general locations of these plans for inclusion in the
Personal Survival Manual, along with a map.

The library of a Happy Prepper should include a variety books on
the topic of food, including small plot gardening or apartment
gardening in addition to foraging for edible wild plants for food,
herbal antibiotics and medicinal values.

Foraging for foods in the wild
Preppers who live in more rural areas, can take advantage of a
more vast supply of food found in nature. The hardest thing
about foraging for foods in the wild is recognizing edible plants
at their various stages. An excellent guide is
Edible Wild Plants,
by John Kallas, PhD. While an excellent resource, this book isn't
for the feint of heart -- on the cover is a wild salad garnished
with dandelion. The book will lead you on wonderful hunt for wild
spinach, wintercress, turnip greens, and field mustard, and soon
you'll be dreaming of stalking wild asparagus or stumbling on  
patch of western blue elderberry. You'll discover edible greens
from the tart, the pungent and the bitter. As with any book on
the topic, the author offers a lesson on safety in consuming wild
plants.

Foraging for foods in the neighborhood
Mother nature can provide you with a supplement to your freeze
dried pantry canned food storage, and homegrown vegetation.
After the masses have looted all food sources and have raided
every yard for vegetable gardens, and scavenge trees for lemons,
apples, plums and figs, there will be dearth of edible garden
plants. That's when a little knowledge will go a long way.

A fun activity Happy Preppers do with their family is to walk the
neighborhood to spy edible vegetation: rosemary, chives, and
even dandelions may lurk in unsuspecting places. What will you
find? Below are some ideas:

  • Acorns. The earliest Native Americans of California ate
    acorns for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Acorns are plentiful in
    many parts of California. They are not easy to eat however,
    because they contain bitter tasting tannins. If you're handy
    and can forage enough of them, you can boil them for two
    hours and make a paste, dry them, and finally grind them
    into flour. Yum! Beware however that an abundance of
    tannic acid can lead to kidney failure.

  • Birch trees. you may find an edible sweet sap in your birch
    trees. Just hammer a hole and collect the sap by nailing a
    container to the tree.

  • Cattails. High in carbohydrates, which is important for
    energy, you can safely eat cattails (not the cat kind of tail,
    silly, but the plant kind of cat tail).

  • Chives: Look carefully in the grasses. Chives might be
    lurking there. The great thing about chives is that they'll
    grow in the same spot for years to come. Consider growing
    chives in containers. Again, consult the Apartment Gardener
    book above for details on where and when to plant, pot size
    and more. Here's an article on foraging for chives.

  • Dandelions: Did you know dandelions are edible? This is
    dandy to know, isn't it? In addition to vitamin A, vitamin C,
    and potassium, they pack a healthy dose of iron. Who knew?
    Add them to your salad, but only after you've washed them
    correctly identified them. Beware that dandelions soak up
    toxins! So don't eat dandelions near roads or in public parks
    where pesticides, herbicides and other contaminants may
    make them unhealthy or dangerous to eat. Consider planting
    them yourself! They're nearly impossible to keep out of your
    garden anyway.

  • Maple trees: You don't have to live in Vermont to own a
    maple tree. The edible sweet sap of maple trees. Again,  
    just hammer a hole and collect the sap by nailing a
    container to the tree. Here's more about maple.

  • Pine and spruce needles: Pine needles will provide vitamin
    C!

  • Rosemary: Rosemary provides a wonderful smell for the
    senses and can evoke memories of a bountiful table set with
    a lovely roasted chicken dinner. The addition of this herb,
    can provide a hint of fresh greens to a diet in Winter.

  • Wild berries: Yum! Foraging for edible wild berries is a
    lucrative endeavor for the Happy Prepper! There are wild
    blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dewberries,
    juneberries, elderberries, huckleberries, raspberries, and
    wineberries, for example, but you've got to be careful. The
    pokeweed berry looks similar in appearance to a blueberry,
    but it's highly toxic!Here's a field guide to foraging for wild
    berries.

  • NOTE: If find a bounty of wild berries, then get to canning
    your berries! Your Preppers Pantry should include pectin,
    sugar and plenty of jars, and the equipment necessary to
    sterlize.

    Before you eat any vegetation in the wild or in the
    neighborhood...
    Happy Preppers study and consult a book on edible food
    sources before trying any food sources! Oleanders, for
    example, are deadly flowers: do not eat them. You should
    also avoid all wild mushrooms. And finally, you must be
    aware that greens can contain parasites or even deadly
    cyanide. An apple cider vinegar solution can help you avoid
    parasites on greens, while knowing what to avoid is the best
    prevention against cyanide poisoning.

Apartment gardening or hobby farming
Even city dwellers can participate in community gardens to
harvest vegetation. And Preppers who live in an apartment or
condominium can start an apartment garden to harvest
windowsill squash, wine barrel arugula or asparagus in a milk
crate.  Happy Preppers start small and gain confidence in
gardening whether it's a sprouted seed project in the kitchen or
growing corn in a large planter box, anyone can learn to grow.

Apartment growers are among the a happiest of Happy Preppers
because these gardeners can harvest an array of fruits,
vegetables and herbs without much nuisance from pests, such as
aphids or slugs!

You don't have to live in an apartment to appreciate Apartment
Gardening
, by Amy Pennington, top left.  Growing food an in
urban home is a delight thanks to this helpful guide. Learn to
grow arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce, sugar
snap peas, squash, strawberries, and zucchini.

  • NOTE: Another good book by the same author is Urban
    Pantry. Filled with recipes for the thrifty that even gourmet
    cooks will love, this is not a survival book, and yet you'll
    appreciate the practical tips for stocking a pantry and
    everyday cooking. It won't be long before you realize the
    value of glass jars in many sizes. Buy both books and love
    the food you grow and make!

Growing at Home
Happy Preppers know how to forage for food and even grow their
own. Even apartment dwellers can have a garden on the balcony
or in their home harvesting herbs, sprouts and even vegetables
or fruit.

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about what you
can grow at home:

Sprouting your own food
Get a food Sprouting kit and start enjoying sprouts year round.
There are mung beans, peas, alfalfa and so many more ways to
enjoy a crunchy addition to your diet. The only caveat is that
people with a weakened or sensitive immune system should
avoid eating sprouts, including the elderly, children and pregnant
women. Visiting foodsafty.gov for more information on
food
safety of sprouts. Sprouted beans and seeds are subject to
bacteria and there are reasons to be concerned for Salmonella, E-
coli or Listeria, even on home grown produce.
  • The four-tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter, pictured left, is an
    easy way to produce fresh, high-quality organic sprouts
    in your own kitchen.

Random tips for food foraging.
  • A wine barrel is perfect container for lettuces. Try a medium
    barrel to grow arugula. Ordinarily arugula grows to two feet,
    but in a barrel it grows the size perfect for a Happy Prepper
    salad. The Apartment Garden book, above, tells you where
    and when to plant, how to harvest, and even the best size
    pot for growing.

  • Fishing Bug Out Bag: Check out the fishing kit, immediate
    left, ideal for a bug out scenario.

Suggested reading:
  • The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Edible Wild Plants, by
    Samuel Thayer.
  • Apartment Gardening, by Amy Pennington, right

  • Edible Wild Plants, by John Kallas, PhD., top right.

Supplements to any food systems:
Finally, be sure to supplement your food storage with crystalized
foods and powders, dry herbs,and alongside also stock your
family's calcium, iron and vitamin needs:
  • True Lemon, True Lime and True Orange are crystalized
    versions of the real thing. One packet is equivalent to a
    slice of these citrus fruits.
  • Wheat grass comes in a powder!
  • Dried herbs
  • Calcium, iron and vitamin supplements.

Happy endings...
Plan to supplement your diet with edible food sources found
locally in nature. Learn how to forage for food in the wild and live
happily ever after.

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