Surviving in the wilderness isn’t exactly rocket science, but it does take a certain amount of know-how. Not everything that grows in the wild is good for you – some of it can even kill you. Not everything should be considered wilderness survival food. So, how do you tell the difference?
Obviously, the best way to survive in the wild during a disaster is to have previous knowledge of what plants, animals and insects in your area are safe to eat. Buying a foraging guide and familiarizing you with the edible wild items in your geographical area is where you should start first. Know what to eat and what not to eat.
If you haven’t had that kind of time, though, here are a few tips.
Most fish are okay to eat, as are small game and even birds. Though you may not find some of them to be very tasty, the nutrients that the meat will provide can save your life.
Wild berries are the easiest route to take, especially mid-summer to early fall in most areas. Wild strawberries, raspberries and even blueberries may grow wild and are easily spotted. Beware of any berry that you do not recognize.
Some green plants can also provide emergency sustenance. Some are edible, some others are not. The simple rule is to stay away from plants whose leaves grow in threes, have spiny or hairy stalks, plants with milky sap or those with bulbs containing seeds.
If you find a profusion of plants that do not fall into any of those categories but aren’t quite sure what they are, you should test them before eating them. Tear a leaf or other part of the plant and rub it on the inside of your elbow and wait fifteen minutes. If you have no adverse reaction, place a piece of the plant inside your mouth between your teeth and lips for at least three minutes. If you feel no adverse effects, place more on your tongue for fifteen minutes. If there is still no reaction, swallow the plant and wait eight hours. If you’re still okay, eat about a quarter cup of the stuff and wait another eight hours. If you’re still fine, the plant is likely okay to eat.
If at any time during the test you start to feel sick or have any burning sensation or numbness, flush yourself liberally with water and try to induce vomiting. You haven’t ingested enough of it at this point to have any serious, lingering effects.
With a little trial and error and a whole lot of care, you will be able to survive in the wilderness. Just pay attention and be careful and you will be fine!