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.

  • Pine needles: Pine needles and 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.

  • Spruce needles: Spruce needles can provide vitamin C!

  • 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, also above left.
    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,
    immediate left.
  • Apartment Gardening, by Amy Pennington, top left.
  • 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.

To supplement and sustain food storage, Happy Preppers plan to supplement their
diets with edible food sources found locally in nature. Learn how to forage for food
in the wild!

We're happy to hear your prepping ideas and link to your site. Please drop us a note on
Twitter at HappyPreppers.

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