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foraging for fatties  RSS feed

 
Joel Cederberg
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hi all.
so im sitting here eating a breakfast of lambsquarters and amaranth when suddenly i realize that were i put into a survival situation i would die of malnutrition. almost definitely. all i would be eating is greens. the only root vegetables i know are burdock and solomons seal (and false solomons seal).

so heres the general premise of this post, how would one go about having a wild diet where one is filled.

im not saying im not feeling full right now (but my salad has vinagrette on it which is a source of fat, and from aldi's, not the woods) .
so yea, i geuss im just looking for wild fats and starches. meat and potatoes. staple foods. wild butter.

side topic:
i know of, but have never found groundnuts, lotus, or wild rice. these all seem like things that would help me not die of malnutrition.
only problem is, if youve ever been to a river in and around muncie indiana, you would know that it is inhabited by 7 eyed fish and giant sea monsters all hyped up on nitrogen from farm runoff.
so heres a question, what are your comfort zones when it comes to foraging around waterways, how do you tell if its clean or polluted?

thanks for your time.
 
Alder Burns
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Acorns!! If you come upon a tree "in mast" you can gather and preserve months worth of starchy staple. What I do is clip each one in half with hand pruners, then into quarters if they are big enough, and then each nutmeat section should drop out easily. When freshly gathered, usually no more than 1 or 2 pieces will be wormy. Save the good ones and dry in the sun. Store this way. when ready to use, then grind, leach, and cook however. I like them as a half and half mix with cornmeal in either grits or cornbread. Then there are other nuts. Then wild critters....possum is particularly good, quite fatty, and easy to trap in a baited livetrap.....
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Many ways, to numerous to list, but in a word...bugs and worms! Don't knock them till you try them. They are the ultimate quick snack, and there are lots of them!
 
alex Keenan
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Insects can provide both fats and protein. I would plan on cooking them to reduce risk of parasites. I would also look at seeds which nuts also fall under. Many seeds are edible and there generally are high energy sources. I would also look at roots. I am currently working with ground nuts as a source of stored food for animals.
 
Joel Cederberg
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why is it that acorns are mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with other foods as have been mentioned? is it just a taste thing? i saw a picture of like an acorn tofu once that was made from just straight leached acorns, do they bring on a wierd texture?
also, i tried to farm some mealworms. that plan lasted up until my wife heard the words "farming mealworms" then it ended. (she will eat most any other wild food though) except possum.
in a true survival situation, i imagine i would just tell her it is rabbit.
what other roots are there? has anyone harvested nutsedge nutlets? are they good? i have thought i found a patch of yellow nutsedge, dug up the whole thing, couldnt find any nutlets.
thank you.
 
Alder Burns
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Blending acorn with corn or wheat is a taste and texture thing. I suspect 100% acorn stuff would be quite dense, and would need to be made into something like a chapati or tortilla to be edible, or as a boiled porridge. For me it's also a subsistence thing....I grow corn and I gather acorns, so I have the stuff in storage in roughly equal amounts at the moment. Right now the corn will run out before the acorn, so I may get a chance to try some 100% acorn stuff. But then again, my white potatoes are coming on....perhaps I can mash potatoes into the acorn!!
 
Renate Howard
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You'd need nuts to prevent "rabbit starvation" - from eating so little fat that your body cannot digest the food due to lack of fat. (Some say now that that's what the kids from "Into the Wild" really died of, they found no traces of toxin from the plant he thought poisoned him in his body).

If you're purely foraging acorns may be the best thing, tho other seeds like maple seeds are edible, at least some of them are. If you do like Native Americans, you can sow seeds of things you want in areas you frequent and hope to harvest in the future - sunflowers, chestnuts, hazelnuts, etc. could probably grow wild. Then, in addition to acorns, you may be able to find walnut relatives - either black walnuts, hickories, butternuts, etc. They have a lot of oil in them.

Grasshoppers are pretty fatty and I read they turn pink like shrimp when cooked. They take on the flavor of whatever they're cooked in, so you could cook them with your other food and they shouldn't be too bad. In Africa during the locust plagues, people would gather them and dry them for future use.
 
Joel Cederberg
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has anyone eaten robins eggs and or any random egg from a birds nest?
 
allen lumley
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Joel : the only answer anyone can post here is _ Of course not, song birds are protected ! Big AL !
 
Renate Howard
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Doves aren't, in most states, anyway.
 
Anne Rambling
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We basically did that for the summer and into the fall of 2011- about 5 months. My husband and I set up a challenge..allocated $100 per month in purchased goods for 2 adults. Yeah... wine was involved.

We're better situated now if we were to do that again. (Read-I've hid my husband's "back to basics" book and made sure to hide coffee & chocolate in the freezer.)

Food prep/ storage/ usage/rationing gets more scrutinized. It is just as important as finding a food source. When we did it.. we had horrid weather that year. Record breaking flood, derechos.. we were gardening in more than 1 location and that was lucky. The loudest lamenting about the weather.. often were those that as well love to garden & forage. A crop swap came about. That network was a huge bonus. (Not just in variety, but sharing information.)

Squirrel, coons, opossum, turkey, deer, common snapping turtle (not alligator snappers- endangered), fish, frogs, assorted fish, crayfish,etc.. for some around here who are avid hunters, these all make it into their pans. (snapping turtles.. around here they put them in clean fresh water for a few days. Alive. They taste better.) Scavenging eggs- you'd need to keep an eye on timing unless you like balut (embryo).

Garden additions- soybeans (various stages & types. Sprouts, immature bean, mature bean).. squash seeds.. parsnips (they're wild around here- having escaped cultivation and spread).. jerusalem artichokes (sun chokes).. while mustard has escaped cultivation in many areas- the oil from the seeds is harsh to many. Wild grapes.. the natives are often slip skin type- the seeds can be pressed for oil- but it is a lot of work.

Pinenuts would be something to ponder. Chestnuts, butternuts (or rather Buarts), hickory nuts... several of these juglans can be tapped for syrup.

In our temperate zone.. it's seeds, nuts, and meats.. (if only olives and avocados would handle our climate!)

Are chickens a possible option for you? (Japanese beetles that have invaded are a bane & a boon.. unfortunately most of my chicks were roosters- but fantastic foragers. Crickets, earthworms, grubs, Japanese beetles.. the beetles ... sooo many they leave some trees looking like bad lace. They're flying crunchy bits of protein and lipids. Even though my boys were always on the run.. they got quite chunky. Dual purpose breeds- not broilers.. they were sent to freezer camp at 6 months old. A local was processing their birds & some friends' birds.. and ours. Could not miss which ones ours were.. the meat & especially the fat was a rich gold color.) A lure over a large shallow container of cold water.. pest control and poultry feed.







 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Read up on the California and Mojave indian tribes, quite a bit about their diets from the Cal college system out there.

They did mostly acorns on the coast, and pine nuts inland.

Mushrooms will add a lot of amino's and i think enzymes too.
 
Rebekah Moore
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Alder Burns that is a real good idea. But the thing that stinks is some years the oaks just don't produce many acorns and the worms and squirrels get to them fast.
One time we collected tons of acorns for bread. But when we opened them their was almost nothing in them some years their are so many. But I see were you are getting, acorns are a great
food source. But I just think they aren't reliable.
 
John Elliott
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Rebekah Moore wrote:Alder Burns that is a real good idea. But the thing that stinks is some years the oaks just don't produce many acorns and the worms and squirrels get to them fast.
One time we collected tons of acorns when we opened them their was almost nothing in them some years their are so many. But I see were you are getting, acorns are a great
food source. But I just think they aren't reliable.


That's kind of why agriculture was developed, to make up for the inherent unreliability of foraging. When you find a good plant and propagate lots of it around where you want to live, your food security goes WAY up. Edible tubers that regenerate pretty much on their own with no help are great places to settle down, especially compared to a nomadic lifestyle where you are always looking for the next big food stash. That's why people settle near rivers, streams, and lakes, because besides not having to go far to get water, there are things like cattails and sedges that have long harvest seasons (sometimes all year long).

If things don't have a long harvest season -- like oak trees which are good for maybe a couple months, then you have to have some sort of plan as to how to string together the good foragings to last through the whole year. Or how to preserve what you collect when foraging.
 
Rebekah Moore
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Thanks John That makes sense.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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I think the CA ecosystems are unique in the abundance and comparative reliability of acorns. I remember trying to gather them in GA, too, when I lived there and yes, there, only every several years are there enough to be used in any significant way. I hear there are some oak hybrids being bred that might change that. But alternate, or longer, bearing, is also a strategy against insects. On our 1 1/2 acre in CA, there are maybe 20 oak trees....mostly blue oak and a couple of valley oak. Every year so far, one or other of them has produced.....enough to supply a significant part of my diet.
CA native peoples knew about corn, beans, etc. The tribes in the SW grew these, and there was trade going on. I think they didn't mess with them because they didn't need to.
 
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