Nature is overflowing with an abundance of vitamins and minerals that you can use to sustain yourself and your loved ones if needed during an emergency. In fact, a mere 100 grams of dock leaf will provide you with 80% of the daily recommended doses of vitamin A and vitamin C. However, to understand what that plant even looks like, you’ll need to prepare yourself beforehand. Foraging for food while on a simple, leisurely hike will look a little different than what foraging for food during a doomsday situation might. When it comes to the food you’ll eat in order to survive, you’ll want to ensure you’re equipped with the right set of skills and knowledge needed,including the ability to understand what’s safe to eat and what’s not.
Don’t Eat Anything Without Knowing What It is
The first rule of thumb in survival foraging is: don’t eat anything you can’t identify.This particularly applies to plants and berries. To ensure you know how to identify what’s safe and edible, it’s recommended to have a handy book in your arsenal of doomsday preparation materials that will help you identify these plants. If you plan of prepping to live in a certain area, it’s also helpful to take a natural course to understand the plant life and vegetation in your area. Regarding animal life, you are usually pretty safe with any type of insects. As a reminder, these have an exoskeleton, a three-part body, six legs, and one pair of antennae. You’ll want to avoid eating anything hairy as they have a higher risk of being poisonous.
Cooking with Foraged Food
While this might be one of the least of your worries in a survival situation, if you find yourself safe and well enough to cook the food you forage, you can actually substitute a lot of natural plants for well-known cooking ingredients. Dried and ground clover blossoms, for example, can actually be substituted for up to 50% of the wheat flour in most recipes.Dandelions, if picked before the root turns bitter, can be boiled and eaten like carrots or made into fried treats. And, if you find that you’re lacking on Vitamin C, you can eat the petals and hips of roses for a healthy dose of flower vitamins.For a better taste, you can bake or cook them into food for additional flavor or climb to the higher places in trees and shrubbery to reach the less ripe fruits and flowers before they fall to the ground. Climbing while foraging,especially in a disaster situation, should be done with the utmost care and safety techniques as you are risking injury in a situation where it would be less than ideal to be injured. However, climbing to the higher spots often yields fruits, flower and other edible foods that haven’t been damaged by other animals.
Stay Away From Bright Colors
Mother Nature is incredibly smart and made brightly colored plants and animals look the way they do for a reason. It’s the same reason why stop signs are bright red and danger signs often have a bright yellow color incorporated somewhere in them. Stay away from plants and animals that are incredibly bright in color as they are often highly toxic, poisonous and dangerous to even touch.This goes for plants as well as amphibians, marine life and even cute little caterpillars that might seem harmless. This is where the handy plant and animal identification book mentioned above will come in handy. Nature is so vast and miraculous that, although something might look harmless, it can easily be mistaken for something else that might be incredibly dangerous or downright delicious and nutritious.
As with any doomsday scenario, it is most important to consider your safety first. If you find that foraging your own food presents more of a danger than relying on what you have stockpiled, then wait it out until it feels safe to do so. As part of an emergency kit, ensure you’ve invested in a plant and animal identification book that will allow you to safely and effectively forage for the right type of food that will be safe to eat while providing you with the nutrients you need to survive and continue to thrive.
Written by Jennifer Dooley