Cleaning Food from the Wilderness
Understanding how to provide food under any number of trying conditions can help to save your life and the lives of those dear to you. Knowing how to find food can be important when you find yourself lost in the wilderness, or even when some major disturbance has severed the normal food supply to the area in which you live. Our ancestors had, of necessity, become familiar with ways of finding food wherever they were, they had no backup whatsoever. Modern society has given us supermarkets to make our lives much easier, but if the unthinkable does occur, knowing how to find food, how to identify plants that are safe to eat, and simple hunting skills could easily make the difference between life and death.
While some people will survive on nothing but plant material, most of us will want some protein for our bodily maintenance. Protein is necessary to our well-being as it helps to repair cellular damage as well as forming new cells, which in turn keep the organs of our body functioning. Complete proteins are the best for our health and are found in meat, eggs, fish, and milk products. Nuts and beans will provide only incomplete proteins.
If it comes to pass that your regular source of protein is unavailable, it will be necessary to provide it yourself. As you may not have the usual tools for securing animal protein, bows or guns, you may have to rely on more basic measures to catch prey. A very good book for teaching you how to set snares and other traps with the most basic materials is “The Trapper’s Bible” by Dale Martin. This book will teach you how to set snares for small animals such as rabbits and also for larger game.
Fishing is another way to get protein if you live near a body of water. You do not necessarily need a rod, either, you can make fish traps relatively easily, or it is also possible to catch fish with your bare hands. This last technique involves placing your hands in the water and waiting for a fish to swim between them.
Finding Safe Plants To Eat
Most places have plenty of plants growing in them, but you should be aware that some of them can be poisonous. The first thing you should put out of your mind as a food source is mushrooms – there are simply too many variables for these to ever be considered to be a safe food unless you are an expert mycologist.
A very good book to use if you are going to be gleaning plants from the wilderness is “A Field Guide To Edible Wild Plants” by Lee Allen Peterson (this is a Peterson Field Guide). Nearly 400 different wild edible plants are described in the book, along with any poisonous plants that have a similar appearance. There are plenty of photographs and illustrations to help you identify plants reliably, and there are even instructions on how best to prepare these plants for consumption.
“Edible Wild Plants” by John Kallas is another valuable book that can help you safely browse from the wilderness.
Keep in mind, if all else fails, a great backup of emergency food supply is always good to keep handy. Also, it is important to have a first aid kit in case while hunting for your food supply an injury occurs.