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Old 09-25-2008, 05:47 PM   #1
Frame Dragger
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Default Foraging, Hunting, Gathering

A friend who is a longtime gardener and permaculture advocate had these remarks about survival nutrition:

For sprouting grains, I go with buckwheat, which should be fresh right now. Amaranth and quinoa are harder to sprout and might just go sour first. Rye is preferable to wheat although the two combined are better to eat than either separately. Get spelt or kamut rather than the regular wheat. Worse comes to worst you can pound them up in a mortar after sprouting them into a gluey mass than you can then cook. But they do well on their own without cooking. Donít bother with barley, which is often hulled and dead or oats, which are dead. Sunflower seeds just donít do much for me, but pumpkin seeds might be good to have on hand. Other seeds like the umbels (celery, dill, cumin, fennel, coriander) are good to have especially if you have a pepper grinder for them. Sesame seeds you should have in quantity, they are so high in calcium that itís worth the bit of oxalic acid in the hull. But soaked and the water tossed, they have less OA, way less.

I read yesterday a diatribe about spirulina. You were right, it can cause gout attacks in some people. The best book Iíve read on wild plants is Michael Mooreís ďMedicinal Plants of the Pacific WestĒ. Itís not totally edibles, but if he has anything else, grab it. He knows more than the average forager. Also having a book or two like this would be gold if you have to travel and forage. Those little tree and plants books are good to have if you have to travel.

If youíre starving any leaves of maples, linden, madrone, sumac, hawthorn (the only plant in the rose family I would trust) and the leaves of blackberries, grapes, and fennel. Most of the umbels are a bit hard to identify and the risk of hemlock is too high to go with them. On the road, acorns are your best bet right now, but you have to soak the kernels in running COLD water to make them edible because the tannins make them awfully bitter. Iíve been eating dogwood fruits and hawthorn fruits on our walks.

If you want roots, I would pull up anything in the sunflower family and try it first. Also go with them for leaves (dandelion, chicory, etc.) Again, an ID book or go to a web site for edible plants to get familiar with what they look like. Most of the umbel family have edible roots, but again, unless you know hemlock, stick to fennel. Itís pretty strong right now. The cattails are a good bet though for some real calories.

Another way to go about it is to know well the poisonous plants and try everything else. Most stuff thatís bitter can be soaked or cooked in several changes of water. The worst poisons there are some of the legumes (lupines, etc) hemlock (rare) oleander, rhododendron, leaves of apple trees, pears and cherries, leaves of elder, and obscure things like baneberry berries, aconite, and some other medicinals.

Her website is full of gardening information: http://www.astone.com/stonework/garden/garden.html
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Foraging, Hunting, Gathering

Thats a good post. I would suggest that you grow what grows naturally for your location. Its Harvest time in europe so seeds are everywhere right now if cant buy them collect them. In Europe many need cold stratification period before germination, stick them in the fridge for a few months and they'll be ready to use next year, if gathering seeds from nature, keep in mind that other animals will need to eat during the winter so make sure you leave some for the birds etc...

I only suggest collecting wild seeds because you can be fairly certain you will be able to harvest them for seeds next year, as many commercial seeds you can buy are sterile and you will only be able to grow one crop from them ie they wont make viable seeds for you to use next year.

Good point about learning the really poisonious plants, as opposed to the edible ones. Good ways to test for toxisity is to test on your skin first check for burning, blistering or rash, taste test most posion dont taste good, then try a little bit chew it up, leave a good 20 minutes between tests this is a fairly safe method to test stuff.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Foraging, Hunting, Gathering

For those in North America - Peterson field guides
- Tom Brown Jr. Wilderness survival guides and medicinal plants and trees.
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