Monday, November 25, 2013

Foraging in the Bush

One of the prime considerations for human existence is the procurement of the food necessary for survival, as well as for everyday living. We all eat, butit surprises me as to how many people out there will go to great lengths to overload their packs with foodstuffs when heading out into the woods for an adventure. This probably is not such a big deal for a day hike, or even for an overnighter, but what if you are planning to go out for a week or more.

Food means poundage, and poundage can be ones worst enemy after toting a heavy pack through the woods. When I go out, I try to carry the least amount of equipment with me. Since I go out with the intent of making videos, poundage means a lot. My camera equipment alone weighs about twenty pounds, so you can see why I like to economize as much as possible when it comes to weight. I can go for several days with just a forty pound pack, not including water.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to learn about the plants that are in the area you are going to, and learn which ones can be used to provide needed nourishment along the way. There are a lot of good books on the market that can help you to learn what is and is not edible. Some of them even have recipes along with the descriptions to give you an idea of how to prepare them. If you have never foraged for food before, I suggest you get a couple and study them thoroughly. Then pack them along so you can make positive identifications. Some edible plants closely resemble poisonous plants, so you need to be 100% certain of what you are picking. Remember, if you get sick from eating poisonous plants, you likely will not recover, especially if you are alone on your journey.

You’ll want to make sure you have a small knife, such as a pocket folder with a very sharp edge and a bag to collect your find in. I use a commonly available shopping bag that I fitted an adjustable strap to the handles. It is made of soft nylon. And folds into a bundle small enough to easily carry in a cargo pocket on my shorts, or stows easily in my pack. These bags will hold several days worth of food, although I never pick more than enough for a meal or two. The way it is made also means it won’t have a tendency to crush whatever is inside it as well.

Come springtime, when the foliage starts to grow, I’ll be doing some posts and videos on harvesting your meals on the go, but until then, pick up some books and study for next season.

1 comment:

  1. I have interest in improving my ability to understand what is available, edible, and safe in my area this spring. Each year brings a new woodland challenge, and this skill is high on my list!