Knowing how to forage for both food and water throughout the year as well as during various catastrophic events is a very important skill to maintain. What used to be common knowledge has now become virtually unknown to the majority of the world’s population as centralized agriculture, economics, and government take hold. However, to guarantee survival in any situation specific mushrooms, plants, and even bugs and small animals can be gathered and eaten in order to maintain proper protein biosynthesis and amino acid synthesis. As well as certain natural tools and elements can be constructed together in order to purify drinking water in case a natural supply of fresh water is not around. Keep in mind though that foraging for some plants and animals may differ depending upon the season in which outdoor primitive survival skills are being practiced.
Wild Mushrooms and Edible Plants
In early spring and summer wild mushrooms can be picked, gathered, and eaten to compliment other foods that are being gathered and stored. Even as late as early fall can most mushrooms be eaten. However, foraging for mushrooms in the winter time may be difficult as most that are growing at that time of the year may not be edible. Some common mushrooms that can be eaten with certainty are known as morels, chanterelles, puffballs, and polypores.
For the most part edible plants are available year round. However, in the spring and summer time fruits and vegetables are plenty in harvest and produce the most beneficial nutrients the body needs as it is nature’s flowering time. Some edible plants that are disguised as weeds can be eaten throughout the cold harsh winter months and include Japanese Knotweed, Dandelions, Bull Thistle, and Burdock.
Bugs and Small/Wild Game
Like plants, bugs too are plentiful in both the spring and summer time. Some great facts about most bugs are they provide the human body with essential nutrients such as protein sustenance. The only catch is that bugs must be consumed in large quantities in order to create an adequate meal. Fortunately though bugs are usually easy to find and can be easily gathered in large numbers for a quick meal while foraging for other food. Some bugs that are high in sustenance that can be easily found are earthworms, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and termites. Most of these bugs can be found year round including the harsh winter months. However, rolling logs and rocks over as well as digging beneath the earth will be necessary in order to find these types of bugs while snow is on the ground or other forms of harsh weather are occurring. If hunting tools are not available than traps can be set for small and wild game. Traps however are much more difficult to construct and will take quite a bit of time to assemble.
Fresh and Purified Water
When foraging for water it is important to be mindful of any nearby streams, rivers, or even land locked lakes. These three natural formations are usually the first sources of fresh water. Also, in the late spring through late summer glaciers tend to melt near mountain tops due to increasing temperatures which in turn provide an abundance of fresh water. In case a fresh water supply is not nearby than collect rain water with containers that can be easily carried. If emergency water is needed than mildew and precipitation build-up on leaves and various shrubbery may be drank but quantity may be limited.
If there is no supply of fresh water around than stagnant or even salty water will need to be filtered. This can be done organically using natural elements such as sand, gravel, charcoal, and even moss. The first method is to filter water through moss. The water may still be foggy and have a soil like taste afterwards but should be clean enough to consume for the most part. The second method is to pile gravel into the bottom of a container filling it 1/3 the way. Be sure to have holes punctured through the bottom of the container for water-flow. Next, fill charcoal 1/3 of the way in the container on top of the gravel. If charcoal cannot be found than use gravel inside the container as a replacement. Finally, pile sand on top of the charcoal, or gravel, topping off the last of the space within the container. Pour the water over the sand allowing it to soak downwards through the charcoal and/or gravel. Have another container ready to collect the filtered water that falls through the drain holes at the bottom. These steps may need to be repeated multiple times before the water may begin to be filtered enough to consume.
“Foraging for Wild Edible Mushrooms in North Carolina.” By Paul Inserra
“Foraging for Wild Mushrooms.” By Gardening with Ciscoe. King 5 News
“Foraging in the Wild – Mushrooms and Plants for Free.” By Simone Van Den Berg
“Foraging for Wild Plants and Mushrooms.” Writing and Photos by “Wildman” Steve Brill
“Survival Skills – 5 Bugs You Want to Eat.” By Tim MacWelch
“Eating Bugs to Survive: 30 Bugs You Can Eat When SHTF.” By Alec Deacon