Edible Plants?

3:06 p.m. on March 6, 2011 (EST)
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I would like to learn more about finding natural edible plants in the wild. I know only a few,mainly Dandilions, puffball Mushrooms and some other grass greens and some edible flowers.

Do any of you recommend a edible plant book? Are most books by country like North America, or are the books broke up into areas like the Rocky Mountain, deserst or what? I am looking mainly for plants in Northern Arizona and southern Utah.

Do the books show real images or just descriptive drawings?

I would like to get more into hunting for small game and fishing for small wild fish, but that is something else Iwill look into later. Are there books that describe hunting small game like rabbits,squirrels,game birds, etc and how to properly prepare them for eating safely?

I grew up with parents who hunted and foraged to supplment meals, but didn't pay enough attention to know now 40 years later what to really look for.

I love the outdoors and would like to spend the next 20-40 years of my life living off the land like our ancestors did, so I can spend more time outdoors and less time having to go back to towns working for money to buy what others have processed into food.

Seems like the work needed to learn to hunt,fish and forage would be better as I am already more willing to be outdoors 90% of the year than to have to continue working for the money to buy the food.

7:13 p.m. on March 6, 2011 (EST)
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Gary the only book I have is about plants of the Southeast, it is mostly color photos (which I highly recommend) but to be perfectly honest I haven't studied it as much as I wanted to.

What little bit of trying to live off the land I have experienced explains to me why primitive peoples always seem to be fit and trim. Even with fishing gear and supplies of rice, pasta, beans, etc, I have found it difficult at best. I often supplement my backpacking trips with fresh caught fish, clams, crayfish, or blue crab. If I were going to be out in a big wilderness area for extended periods I would definitely hunt for food as well.

Believe it or not I just got done trying some deer jerky my brothers  friend made and let me sample, it was very good, but as with anything you have to learn how to do it.

As you already know Gary, you can't just head out and then learn how to live off the land, and even though it is an interest of mine it has been a slow journey for me to start learning all there is to learn.

I have been fishing mountain streams for 20 years so I have that pretty well figured out, although I am not the best tactician I know, and my casting is a little unorthodox due to a shoulder injury, I catch plenty of fish if I'm hungry.

I have been working on my primitive and bushcraft skills, not really for backpacking, but because I would like to live out for longer periods at some point in my life.

The plants... I need to study a lot more Gary! I wouldn't trust my judgment right now. I know berries when I see them, and cattails and such, but a lot more study is needed.

I hope you succeed in your plans Gary.

10:17 p.m. on March 6, 2011 (EST)
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Read anything by Euell Gibbons. That should surfice.

12:32 a.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
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I have but can't currently locate my small handbook titled "Edible Wild Plants" applicable to the USA. If you input the title into a computer internet search as I did prior to this writing, a number of results will show. Regarding animal hunting,you might consider searching the internet for survival wire, dead-fall and other related animal traps. If you have a decent bookstore in your area, look in the hiking and hunting section of the store. You should find primitive survival, the SAS survival handbook and other related books on traps, unless you intend to use a rifle. Fishing is obviously dependent on fish habitat availability.

1:44 p.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
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Not saying whether or not this will help but if ya carry a smartphone(I have a droid 2) there are apps you can download into your phone. I downloaded the US Army survival guide. It has alot of useful info in it. A good bit about plants. There is also alot of other useful info contained in it. Guess that means there is an app for that huh?

12:08 a.m. on March 18, 2011 (EDT)
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OUTDOOR SURVIVAL SKILLS by Larry Dean Olsen available at Amazon.com.

Includes a generous section on edible plants with many color pictures. (at least my 1977 printing does). 

You may also be intersted in THE ART OF KEEPING YOUR ASS ALIVE by Cody Lundin. Also at Amazon.com

12:10 a.m. on May 14, 2011 (EDT)
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You should be able to find plenty of books on Field dressing and preparing wild game.  Make sure the books cover small game, alot mostly cover larger game.

 You could get a good Wrist Rocket slingshot with powerbands and steel shot. They're cheap to buy, compact and dont wieght much. With practice you can get pretty accurate. If you can hit a soda can, you can take small game and fish on the surface.

Be sure you get whatever license or permits needed for small game and fishing. They're generally not to expensive, but if G&F catches you with out em it can be real expensive.

8:39 a.m. on May 14, 2011 (EDT)
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There are just two guide books to buy and can be used in combination.  The first must-have is A FIELD GUIDE TO WILDFLOWERS by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny.  This is a flower-color based guide and will help in spring season identification.  After you get good with this book, you can use the second:  A FIELD GUIDE TO EDIBLE WILD PLANTS of Eastern and Central North America, by Lee Allen Peterson.

When I started living outdoors in the 1970's, I had the wildflower book and just went from there.  Over the years I've eaten May-apple, large-flowered trillium, wood sorrel and sheep's sorrel, brambles for tea, stinging nettle, all the different chickweeds, the awesome wintergreen---both leaves and berries, baby pokeweed, plaintain, cleavers, ramps, both solomon's seals, most square-stemmed mints, clover, most mustards like winter cress or yellow wild mustards, comfrey, cinquefoil, mullein for tea, indian cucumber root(good!), coltsfoot(leaves burned for salt substitute), dandelion root, pineapple weed tea, fireweed leaves, rose hips, milkweed, lady's thumb(a type of smartweed), bee-balm tea, burdock root, thistle, all the different types of violets---both leaves and roots, ground ivy tea, lamb's quarters(the best cooked green every), curled dock, rock tripe, common morel.

And I've experimented with the dried corms or roots of jack-in-the-pulpit and skunk cabbage.  But here's the warning:  they must be thoroughly dried as they contain oxalic acid---I learned the hard way.

And my list leaves out the tree products and nuts and fruit like persimmons, black walnuts, birch tea, and a wide variety of others.  There's even a spongy gall growth on the azalea bush which I have tested.

2:45 p.m. on May 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a good CD called Edible Wild Plants III by Jim Meuninck and Jim Duke. Its a two hour DVD.

3:36 p.m. on May 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I have been using a few here where I live, a couple words of advice.. when looking for manuals, first color photos, close up photos are priceless, there are a lot of close look a likes to a great many plants, some are really bad or can even kill you, especially if you are by yourself.. second, avoid all books that use drawings, avoid all books where you can not clearly see the leaf and stem structures of the plants being referenced .. and last but not least look for the regions that are applicable to the areas you will be in, some books just list the no brainer plant's that are all over the U.S., taking a look at the feedback on books over at Amazon is always helpful as well.. all these I learned the hard way.. lol..

I have found that reading the stuff written about how the natives lived here are really helpful and have some good insight to things you will never find in other books.. see what tribes where in the areas you are using and then look for factual books on them..

Hope it helps.. and if you are not sure about a plant.. wait till you are.. some plants are really bad, or are double boil plants and some books fail at making any reference to silly lil facts like that.

4:30 p.m. on May 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I agree with Schlockmyr, anything by Euell Gibbons. Have not looked at his works in many years but I believe his classic was "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" There was a lot of good information.

8:31 p.m. on May 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Nagalfar said:

I have been using a few here where I live, a couple words of advice.. when looking for manuals, first color photos, close up photos are priceless, there are a lot of close look a likes to a great many plants, some are really bad or can even kill you, especially if you are by yourself.. second, avoid all books that use drawings, avoid all books where you can not clearly see the leaf and stem structures of the plants being referenced .. and last but not least look for the regions that are applicable to the areas you will be in, some books just list the no brainer plant's that are all over the U.S., taking a look at the feedback on books over at Amazon is always helpful as well.. all these I learned the hard way.. lol..

 What's neat about the second book I mentioned, the Field Guide To Edible Plants, is that it includes drawings of a poisonous plant which looks like the edible plant, such as dogbane next to the milkweed.  For beginners, there are some old tried and tested and true edibles, like violets, dandelion of course, rock tripe, Solomon Seal, and a few others.  The main thing is to identify a plant correctly from the start without eating it, and then do further study on that one plant to verify ID and then whether it's edible.  Over time, most weeds and forest plants can be learned, or at least enough to have a meal. 

Two excellent ones to start with are Lamb's Quarters---which grows in disturbed gardens and is considered a useless weed, but is one of the best potherbs ever---and stinging nettle, which makes great tea and is also edible. (Just wear gloves when harvesting).  Both of these plants are considered pest plants but can be quickly learned and used. 

A good edibles book will mention double boiling or soaking rock tripe in cold water for two hours and rinsing, then cooking. 

12:10 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi GaryPalmer,

I am fairly new to this site, although I have been camping for a long time.  I use a small book called Nature Bound Pocket Field Guide It has all color pictures, is very small, 3" x 4" x 3/4" has both Edible and Poisonous plants, along with some other small section on survival type items. (Fire, shelter, small game hunting, etc.)

The ISBN is 0-9609776-7-8 

I don't know if it is still in print, but that should be easy to find out.  I would doubt that a library would have it, but a used book store may.  Or you may be able to order it on line some place.  Cooking and eating instructions are limited, but their is some.   I think it would be a good starting reference.  It is also interesting that some of the editable plants are also in the poisonous section.  Be sure to read everything before you start eating! :)

As for hunting and fishing, as azrhino said, sling shots are a great small game hunting tool, Slings are great too, but take a LOT of practice to master.  Although you can go after bigger game with a sling,  A 1-2" rock will take down a medium size animal, it may not kill it but it will knock it out it hit correctly. 

As for snares and the like, I would try some good small survival manuals, and then Practice, practice and more practice,  It's all about the set and the action on snares.  Several good pieces of stainless steel wire or stainless steel cable (less then 1/16" is best) will work great for snares and will last a lot longer the twine or string.  Also they are easy to boil to get the sent of man off the wire.  That is one of the biggest problems with setting snares, the sent left by the person setting the snare.

Nets or fish traps work great for fishing, but most of the time they are not legal.  Line and a few setup is a much safer option.  As a kid I would pack fishing line wound a round something like a soda bottle, and use a small piece of wood as the float and then a fly or worm, or a grub for bate, it usually worked great. 

Good luck

Wolfman

1:15 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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good luck with that GP

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