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
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.
Apartment gardening or hobby farming
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.
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.
Growing at Home
- 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!
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
- The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Edible Wild Plants, by Samuel Thayer, immediate
- 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
- 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
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------------------------------------------------- Revised 7/29/14
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