wow. I read/skimmed through this whole threadie and fish is only mentioned a few times...erica and the others that mention it YES.
ive gone on extended back country granola free hikes. just me and salt and my knife and creel.
berries are important. in season delicious. natives everywhere berries grew dried and saved them in fat. fish fat primarily, but also bear. you wont find much fat on a deer, and little more on an elk, even at the end of summer.
bear stack it in the summer and fall- from fish. but I dont kill brother bear. cultural taboo. My people are salmon people.
and thats what I ate on my extended hikes- loads of fish. 6" things I caught with just a hook on 20' long 8# test line, and sometimes when I was lucky, with my bare hands. i tried spear fishing from made spears and never had any luck. wounded a few. not good. hooks and sometimnes nets when i thought to bring one. nets are nasty. bulky. need mending. too much work for a traveler. maybe the deer mesh sold today would work. I had a nylon thing that just got snaggedin the backwaters I played in. I prefered hook and line.
crayfish/crawfish/crawdads. by the gallon sometimes. fat little buggers keep you going. best way was traps, as below. and frogs. and grasshoppers on one trip- at first it was wierd, and just a one at at time, but later i learned how to beat the brush with jacket and knock them out in droves. sure they get mashed up and so on, but when I can get a mouthful in two thwacks, and meal in 20 minutes, rather than a half ass bite in 2-3 hours, no worries. I had a pan, fried them dry, no oil, just some wild sorrel and salt for flavor. stir em or they stick. plump when you cook'em.
and grubs. rotten logs. I ate many at first, just to see. not bad baked. edible, not choice. used them for crawfish bait later. used to go turn rocks for crawfish. then I got smart. one mans empty drink jug is anothers crawfish trap. some twine made from bark (cedar here is great) and a empty 2liter bottle, cut a hole 2" in the side, position it in the stream weighted with a stone, a few dead grubs smooshed in piece of cloth inside, hole at stream gravel level so they can crawl in. take a walk, come bak. caught up to 10 a shot that way. after a day in the stream 30-40. good grubins! no work! make sure the stream has them in it first or your gonna waste your walk....
frogs. at night with a flashlight or a fire bowl floating on water. . they get stuck in the headlights and are easily speared. I used a salad fork tied to a stick. filed a barb on the outside tines. you can get professional gigs. 20-30 in an hour in some places. some fish in stillwater come to the firebowl. I used hooks again. skilled people would use a spear. when the fish bites the hook it thrashes terribly as you pull it in, scares others away. spear is better, but my skill was poor. missed too many times. wasnt hungry enough to get better skills.
as far as plants, emerson is correct. Dont think cause a bird or critter can it it that we can. but the closer the relative is to us, the more likely we can- bear eats mice. I can eat mice. never liked it, but tried it. better mouse trap? mice love fat. a crawdad under a bigrock with a twig. in the dark. lay next to it. half asleep. listen. when you hear the mouse, knock the rock of the stick. dead mouse. use the crawdad over and over. snooze next to the rock. youll have mouse soup. not so good though. hair/skin is nasty. hard to skin the lil buggers well, inless you really cut it apart, and its not quick considering each is just a bite. definite starvation diet. but you can catch them in your sleep. and they keep you alive. Thing about mice: they are creatures of habit and not very adventurous, very territorial. 20" from thier nest is about as far as they go. small world. so if you look to them for food, you have to go to them. each warren has 6 to 12 mice in it i'd guess once you get half a dozen, you might be done with that warren and need to move along. I only did this once, and it worked, but it wasnt yummy or exciting. perrty dull reward, but if it keeps you alive...
seeds of any grass are generally ok, and like erica says, got the goods. I dont know species, but if its got a big seed head, its less work.
I grew up in sw washington there are few poisonous plants and animals here. Im very fortunate to have such a bounty of foods in the summer just falling from the hillsides. I would go out for 2-3 weeks every summer with just the knife and creel, and some salt. I was never hungry.
I cant speak to other areas much. not my home.
I mention the above foods because Others were already discussed. i ate camas, cattails, wildgreens of all sorts. tried poplar bark and such for kicks. not much there. alder buds are delicious. the above are the ones that are less thought of, and less well thought of. still, we dont need as much as we have. we can live well on very little. it is a good thing to live close to the soil.
For me fish is the best source of wild calories. Trout, perch, bluegill etc. are very abundant here. Rabbits, deer, crawdads etc. are also available.
As far as plant sources. I have more book knowledge than practical experience which needs to change. Serviceberries are very abundant here and would be a good source of calories. The bears around here rely on them a great deal. There is a type of bulrush that grows around here that is pretty abundant in some areas that produces a tuber that can be eaten like cattail tubers. I have never eaten them but have a friend who has. He said they were okay, fairly bland.
My go to for calories in the 'wild' has to be sunchokes. Jerusalem artichokes are incredibly generous and they taste truly good. They can be eaten raw, boiled, creamed, you name it. With just a dab of mayonnaise to bring up the inulin/ artichoke flavor... Yum.
There is a lot of work being done now for more uniform tubers and tubers that will not spread to Timbuktu! So don't think it is absolutely an invasive. Deer will come after it hard in the spring, [they like it as much as I like asparagus!] so I keep them in a raised bed in the garden: this makes it easier to keep them in bounds and be able to harvest the very last morsel, although if you miss a small piece, you will get a full sized plant next year. I would say it is not exactly 'wild', since I have to plant them. If you want to eradicate them in an area, bring in pigs! They will root for them like crazy. Chickens will eat them as well, although they prefer it cooked, so any extra goes to them.
As far as truly 'foraging' though I'm going for aronias planted a short hedge, wild cherries [truly wild], mulberries [planted 26 from seed], nuts [small hazelnuts mostly, if I fight the squirrels for them.
And then, of course oyster mushrooms, which grow wild in our woods.
Truly foraging, though, for something I have not planted? only cherries, hazelnuts, rampscallions, mushroom... list is growing...
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Chestnuts would be my favourite staple food. Ours are not strictly wild since we planted them...they're not native to New Zealand anyway. However there are enough of them planted in public places that they could be a significant food source if only people knew how to use them. I was booked in to run a workshop on how to prepare, store and cook with them when lockdown happened and the harvest will be over by the time we're out and about again.
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