Creek’s Top 2 Wild Edible Plant Reference Books: Thoughts & Review

If you’re into survival, then you need a few good Wild Edible Plant titles in your survival library.  Finding the right ones can be a little overwhelming – trust me, I’ve bought about every wild edible plant guide there is over the past 15 years.  Some of them are completely worthless, some are vague and some contain downright wrong information.  There are 2, though, that stand out in the crowd and have become integral references in my study of Wild Edible Plants over the years.  These 2 guides are:

  • Peterson Field Guide of Wild Edible Plants by Lee Allen Peterson (I use the Eastern/Central North America Guide but they make guides specific to other parts of the country)  We sell these in the WHO Store HERE.
  • The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer (or any other book by this author – they are ALL good)

I like these 2 guides for completely different reasons and they complement each other well.  Below is my 2 cents on each one along with PROS & CONS.   At the end of this post I’ll also list a few great web-sites for referencing wild edible plants.

Peterson Field Guide of Wild Edible Plants

As far as Wild Edible Plant reference guides go, this one is the most detailed and complete of any manual I’ve ever seen.  Not only does it list pretty much every edible plant in this region but it also lists poisonous look-a-likes as well.  Each plant is illustrated by a black and white line art drawing – which is a huge frustration for me.  However, the illustrations are really well done and the color photo supplement in the middle does show some of the most popular edibles but it certainly doesn’t list them all.

The Peterson guide includes the following information in each plant description:

  • Names – common and scientific
  • Description with Line Art Illustration
  • Where found
  • Parts Used
  • Season of Availability
  • Use and preparation

However, all of this information is listed in one small paragraph for each plant.  Thus, the information is limited to just the absolute basics and necessities to be accurate.  After reading the very factual and to-the-point descriptions you are left wanting something more substantive and personal.  This guide almost feels like a science book instead of a real world experience with the plants.

PROS:

  • Includes a lot of plants – a very comprehensive listing
  • Includes poisonous plants as well
  • Lists all edible parts and also the ideal season of harvest
  • Small Color Photo Supplement in middle of book

CONS:

  • Black and White Line Art Drawings versus color photos
  • Includes only the facts and nothing more
  • No photos about harvesting or preparation

 

The Foragers Harvest

As far as reading goes, this is by far one of my favorite books on wild edibles.  It is clear that the author, Samuel Thayer, is passionate about this subject.  There is no doubt he has a personal experience with every plant he discusses.  Many wild edible books are just regurgitated information from other sources and you can tell the author hasn’t really harvested and prepared the plants they are discussing.  Thayer is the complete opposite.  His very detailed accounts of harvesting and preparing various wild edibles are evidence of years of experimentation, study, trial and error.  This guy knows what he’s talking about and can back it up with very personal relationships with each plant.  Unlike the Peterson Guide which just lists what parts are edible, Thayer details exactly how to harvest the plants and gives very specific advice, tips and tricks that can only be learned from experience in the field.  He has a deep appreciation and reverence for wild edibles which comes through in his writing.

And, this book contains color photos of the plants in a variety of stages and harvest.  Thayer also talks about exactly how he eats many of the edibles.  For example, he writes ” I most often consume butternuts in hot cereal.  A simple recipe, fit for the gods, is cooked wild rice with uncooked butternuts, served hot, sweetened with maple syrup.”  And he does this with every plant he talks about.  After reading his book(s) there are no mysteries how to eat the plants that he lists.  He tells you exactly how he does it and it doesn’t get any easier than that.

PROS:

  • Incredibly detailed information in all respects
  • Color photos of the plants in the wild, during harvest and during preparation
  • Very personal accounts of harvesting and preparing each plant

CONS:

  • I’d love to see him list MORE plants.  This book, for example, lists 32 plants and I was left wanting more…  The book is 350 pages so you get an idea about how thorough he is when discussing the wild edibles

 

How I use the Guides

By now, I am very familiar with nearly every wild edible in this region and consume them on a regular basis – some more often than others.  With that said, it’s still wise practice to cross reference harvesting with a couple of solid field guides.  As you can see in the photos below, I study my wild edible guides and make my own personal notes in the margins.

I am in the process of building an on-line photo reference library of wild edibles in different stages/seasons for free reference here on the web-site.  This has been a work in progress for 3 years and I’m hoping to have it on-line by next fall.  I have taken meticulous photos of many wild edibles in all seasons, during harvest and during preparation.  I think it will be a very useful reference guide for those of you interested in incorporating more wild edibles into your daily diets.  For now, though, below are a couple of great web-sites that have some good free wild edible references:

Harvesting wild edibles is one of the most rewarding survival skills I practice and for those of you who have been looking for a couple of good field guides I hope this post has been helpful.

How about you – what are your favorite Wild Edible Field Guides?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Wild Grape Jelly: Practicing an important homesteading survival skill

When it comes to Practicing Survival Skills – I’d much rather be out in the field making a sling shot or shooting my 10/22 or chopping fire wood, actually probably doing anything else besides inside at the kitchen counter trying to figure out how to make jelly.  But, that’s what learning is all about – sometimes you need to take the time to learn skills that might not be your favorites yet are still important.  I believe that canning is an important survival skill.  When it comes to getting started in canning, it doesn’t get much easier than making jelly.

Wild Grape Harvest

At least here in Indiana, Wild Grapes are in season.  They like the sun and thrive along tree lines and old fence rows.  I found these along a southward facing treeline near an old grown up field.

Don’t confuse Wild Grapes with the huge super sweet ones you buy at the grocery.  They are small and can sometimes be pretty acidic rather than sweet.  However, the flavor is very raw and rich – like most wild things.  There are many berries (some poisonous) in season at the same time as Wild Grapes.  Be sure to to 100% positive ID the grape vine.  Wild grapes should have leaves that look like the one below and the vines will also have grabby winding tendrils like below as well.  If in DOUBT, leave it OUT.  There are several grape vine look-a-likes – like MOONSEED – which has a similar leaf and similar looking berries.  Here is a very well written article that out-lines several differences.  Take a minute to read it if you are going to go Wild Grape Hunting: http://www.nativeorchid.org/news201012.htm

Check out the photo below of 3 berries in the same spot when I was harvesting grapes (1 is wild grape and the other 2 are unknown).  This just shows that you need to be careful.

I only spent about 30 mins. gathering these grapes and brought home quite the bounty.

Now for this Wild Grape Jelly Thing

Below is the simplest recipe/instructions I could find:

3 lbs wild grapes, stemmed

3 cups water

4 1/2 cups sugar

1 (85 ml) package liquid pectin

Directions:

  1. In large saucepan, crush grapes with potato masher; pour in water and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until fruit is very soft.
  3. Transfer to jelly bag or colander lined with a double thickness of fine cheesecloth and let drip overnight.
  4. Measure juice (you should have 3 cups/750 ml) into a large heavy saucepan; stir in sugar.
  5. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in pectin.
  7. Return to full boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon.
  9. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace.

Recipe compliments of http://www.food.com/recipe/wild-grape-jelly-72585

I’m not a very patient (or detail oriented) person, so I made a few modifications.  Here’s exactly what I did.

First, I put 3 cups of water in a large pot.  It didn’t seem like much water so I added a little more 🙂  Then, I filled the rest of the pot with grapes – stem and all.  I have no idea if this was 3 pounds.

I turned the stove on HIGH until the water started boiling and then I cut the heat down and let it simmer for the suggested 10 minutes.  The whole time, though, I used a big spoon to crush the grapes.  I skipped the pre-crushing stage and decided to combine it with this one.

The water quickly turned a deep purple.  After the 10 minutes I dumped the mixture into a colander over another large pot.  There was no way I was going to let this drip overnight so I helped it out by smashing it with the spoon some more.

This process yielded about 6 cups of deep purple grape stock.  The recipe calls for 3 cups for I measured out 3 cups and poured them back into the original pot and added the 4 1/2 cups of sugar and brought it to a rolling boil.  WARNING:  This stuff really froths up and wants to boil over so watch it closely.  I turned away for just a few seconds and it started boiling over – a big mess.

Once this started boiling I added in the PECTIN and boiled like the recipe says for 1 minute.  PECTIN can be found in the CANNING section at the grocery store.

I then took the pot off the heat and let it set for a few seconds.  A frothy skim formed on the top of the mixture so I skimmed that off with a spoon and then just poured the stuff into my canning jars.  It was very easy.  I put the jars into the fridge and the next morning the jelly had set up absolutely perfect.

So, I fixed breakfast and relished in the fruits (or jelly rather) of my labor.

Do you want to try some?  No problem!  Register for a Survival Class at Willow Haven this fall and I’ll save some for you.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Turn Your Stainless Nalgene Water Bottle Into a Hunting Tool

As many of you know, I’m a huge proponent of packing at least 1 metal water bottle in your Bug Out Bag.  I switched out my aluminum military style canteen a couple months ago for this Nalgene Stainless Steel Water Bottle.  My only complaint is that is comes with a fabric rope tether between the bottle and the lid.

I’ll often use this bottle to boil water or cook meals and I’m always keeping an eye on that rope tether when it’s near the fire and I’m tired of taking it on and off.  Long story short, I was making a few snares for a mini-kit the other day and it hit me!

Remember the post I wrote about how to make your own homemade small game snares with picture hanging wire?  If not, here’s the link: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/featured-wilderness-survival-blog-entries/how-to-make-a-wire-small-game-snare-for-your-survival-kit/

Using a cable ferrule I was able to make a noose in BOTH ends of an 18″ snare.  The photo below just shows 1 noose.  Make the same noose on the other side.

Now, you have a SMALL GAME SNARE that you can use as your lid tether to your Stainless Nalgene Bottle – or maybe even similar bottle brands.

This wire tether is not only FIRE-PROOF, but it also doubles as a multi-functional small game snare – making better use of space in your kit.  You can quickly remove the noose from the lid and double it up on the bottle and easily hang the bottle from a tripod over a camp fire to boil water or use as a hanging stew pot.  NOTE: Never boil with the lid on.  I actually keep my bottle tethered this way all the time.

So for those of you who use this bottle, consider changing out the rope tether for a more functional and useful wire snare tether.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Poke : Pokeweed : Poke Salet : Survival Wild Edible

It’s interesting to me how a plant can be edible and poisonous at the same time. Pokeweed is one of those wild plants.  Normally, I stay away from wild edibles that have a poisonous element but Poke is one of those rare exceptions.  It’s just too dang good.

Poke is normally an early riser – popping up in early Spring.  I’ve been finding tons of new plants lately, though.  Before we get into this post very far I need to tell you a few important facts about Poke:

  1. The ROOTS are ALWAYS poisonous.
  2. The BERRIES are ALWAYS poisonous.
  3. The Mature Leaves, Stems and Stalk are ALWAYS poisonous.

So what is considered MATURE?  My rule of thumb is that any plant over 18″ tall is mature OR if the plant has any hint of purple turning in the main stalk OR if the berry clusters have started to form.  I know this seems like a lot of rules but POKE is worth it.  I consider the poke in the photo below a NO GO.

Poke is prepared like any potherb – like spinach for example.  Just boil a pot full of leaves in a few inches of water and then salt and season to taste.  I’ve read in multiple field guides (including my favorite field guide – Peterson’s Guide to Wild Edibles for Eastern/Central North America) that it needs to be boiled in multiple changes of water but I’ve never done that and haven’t found it necessary.

Poke is a large leafy plant.  The veins on the underside of the leaves are very noticeable and I use these to help identify the plant.

It can get to be 8+ feet tall.  Here is a photo of a mature poke plant and also poke berries that haven’t turned purple yet.  Everything about the plant in this stage is poisonous.

My new favorite way of eating POKE is with scrambled eggs.  It is very easy to prepare and the POKE gives a really unique flavor to the dish.  Until poke is out of season I’ll probably eat this dish 2-3 times per week.  To make it I start by melting down some POKE leaves in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

After the leaves are nice and wilted I add in the eggs.

Finally, salt and pepper to taste and you’re good to go.  Poke and Eggs fit for a king.

If you came across a bird’s nest in the wild this dish could theoretically be made in a primitive survival situation using a flat rock.

So how about you?  Do you eat Pokeweed?  If so, what’s your favorite way to prepare it?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Is that 253 Maple Seeds in your mouth or are you just happy to see me?

Maple Syrup is a DIVA and get all the glory and fame!  The humble Maple Seed sits quietly in the shadows and gets absolutely no credit for the fruit of its labor.  Not only are the helicopter wings an aviation and architectural wonder, but the seeds they strategically transport inside the built-in cockpit are an under-rated and often overlooked Wild Edible.

Different Maple Tree varieties drop their seeds at different times – and it can range from Spring to Fall.  They all pretty much look the same, though.  Some call them Helicopters, some call them Whirly-Gigs.

A recent wind storm here in Indiana left my yard littered with thousands on these little pods of goodness.  I quickly gathered them up before all the critters and had a bowl full in about 30 seconds.

How to harvest the inner morsels, you ask?

Maple seeds remind me of peas.  If you are following me, just think of the helicopter as the pea pod and the seed as the pea.  Below you can see how I’ve ‘hulled’ the seed from the pod.

 

 30 Minutes Later…

 

You can eat them raw, but they are slightly bitter.  Boiling them for a few minutes in water just as you would peas or carrots improves the flavor.

After 5 minutes or so in boiling water, these will make a perfect side dish to any main entree.  A little Sea Salt and they are good to go…  They actually taste like peas too but have an after taste that is specific to Maple Seeds.

I wonder how they would taste with a little Maple Syrup drizzled on top?  Hmmmm…

 

Conclusion

So the Maple Tree isn’t just for breakfast.  Put it on the dinner menu as well.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

How To Make a Wire Small Game Snare For Your Survival Kit

As you may already know, Artofmanliness.com just published an article that I wrote titled HOW TO BUILD A SMALL GAME SURVIVAL SNARE. This is a very thorough article about my favorite small game snare set – the Trigger Spring Snare.  If you haven’t already read it, click on the link below to see it.  It has many excellent photos that detail a variety of ways to make an incredibly effective Survival Snare.

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/03/29/how-to-build-a-small-game-survival-snare/

I conclude the fore-mentioned article by suggesting that it’s a good idea to keep a handful of pre-made wire snares in your survival pack or Bug Out Bag just in case you may ever be faced with a need to trap wild game for food.  You just never know…

In this article I will show you how I make my pre-made wire noose snare sets.  Many people make these different ways but at the end of the day, all designs are pretty similar.  For just a few $$$ you can buy enough supplies to make 10 + pre-made wire snares to stow away in your survival packs and kits.

You only need 2 items to start making snares.  Both can be picked up at pretty much any local hardware store.  The first item is wire.  I prefer #2 picture hanging wire.  It consists of 12ish small wires twisted into 1 thin cable.

You will also need some little fasteners called “Cable Ferrules”.  They will be located in the Small Parts bins in most hardware stores with all the random little nuts, bolts, etc…  I think these I purchased for just .29 cents each.

Make sure they are sized appropriately for the #2 wire – not too big and not too small.  These are to clamp and secure the loop holes at each end of your snare wire.

 

 Now, let’s make some snares.

 

The first step is to cut a few lengths of wire.  I normally cut 36″ pieces but it’s a good idea to cut a variety of different snare lengths ranging from 24″ to 36″.  I use the wire cutters on my Leatherman MUT.

The next step is to create a loop a little larger than the diameter of a pencil by feeding one end of a piece of wire in and back through the cable ferrule.

Now, crimp it down using the wire cutters – not too hard – you don’t want to cut through it – you just want to crimp it tight on the wire inside.

Then, wrap the little tail around the main leg to finish it off cleanly.

Do the same thing to the other end of your piece of wire.

NOTE:  Make sure you can thread one loop end through the other loop end to make a noose.  Don’t make your little loops on the ends so small that you can’t feed the other end through it to create a snare noose.

When you are finished, your pre-made snares should look something like this.

The noose can then be set across a well traveled game trail and the other end can be tied off using different cordage such as paracord to a stake or tree.

Here is a photo of the paracord tied to a nearby sapling.

Snares like this can also be placed across burrow entrances.

You can easily store several snares like these in a small tobacco dip can or other little container.  I prefer aluminum or metal because they are multi-functional.  See how I use an aluminum can to make CHAR CLOTH in THIS POST.  These snares take up hardly any space and weigh virtually nothing but can be an incredibly effective hunting party when you need them to be.  It’s amazing how something so small and light-weight can be so useful and effective.

To learn about how to further use and set snares like these, be sure to read my article about Survival Snares on Artofmanliness.com here:

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/03/29/how-to-build-a-small-game-survival-snare/

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN

Creek

That Wild Flower Is So Cute I Could Just Eat It – The Spring Beauty Wild Edible

The best season for Wild Edibles is fast approaching – SPRING.  For many of us, Spring is coming early this year and many wild edibles are already popping up all over the place.  One of the first wild flowers to show up is The Spring Beauty.  I’ve been around this little flower my whole life and never knew it was a Wild Edible until a few years ago.  I can remember the forest floor on my parents farm being covered with thousands of these little flowers.

To my knowledge there isn’t a spring wild flower that looks like this one.  It’s pretty easy to identify.  It has 5 petals with noticable pinkish-purple veins.  Each stem typically has 2 leaves that are opposite each other.

They are small – only getting about 6 or so inches tall.  The edible parts are the leaves and the tubers.  The leaves don’t have much of a flavor – very mild.  The tubers (root) has a earthy radish like flavor.  The tuber size can vary from the size of a pea to the size of a quarter.  Often, several flower stems will lead to 1 tuber.

 

How to Harvest the Tuber

I use a digging stick – actually an elk tine – to dig up the tubers.  I just follow the delicate the stems down in the ground a few inches and then thrust the elk tine nearby and pry upwards.  You want to make sure to follow the stems all the way and make sure they are connected to the tuber.  These things grow around all kinds of other plants and you want to make sure you are collecting the right root.

You can see in the photo above how the skin on the tuber has come off.  This is exactly how you prep them for eating.  Just wash and peel off the skin.  I just rub them vigorously between my fingers and it comes off pretty easy.

You can boil these for a few minutes or cook them in soups and stews.  Or, you can just eat them raw.  In this instance, I decided to make a fresh spring green salad with Spring Beauty Tubers.  In the mix below I have dandelion leaves, garlic mustard, wild onion tops, dandelion buds, spring beauty leaves, mint leaves, clover and sorrel – all from right off the back step in my yard.

I sliced the Spring Beauty tubers and tossed them on top with a little olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

Later in the summer and fall, many of these salad greens get a little bitter but in the spring when they first pop out they make a perfect salad before any meal.  It took me about 5 minutes to gather the ingredients – including the SB tubers and another 5 minutes to wash and prepare everything.  And, it was all FREE.

Now I’ll admit, the SB tubers are a little work for their size.  And, the plant does die after you collect them.  However, it’s a fun edible to mix in every spring.  And, your harvest window is only a few weeks while you can identify the plants with the flowers.

Let me know if you have any questions at all.  As always with Wild Edibles – don’t eat it unless you are 150% sure you know exactly what it is.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

How to Make a Quick Bushcraft Trail Fork

When I go on an overnight camp/hike I enjoy the ‘camping’ more than the ‘hiking’.  I always look forward to picking a site, setting up camp, and getting a fire going so I can relax.  I hate pushing a hike up until dusk looking for a site.  I prefer to choose a site well before dark so that I can get everything in order and work on what I call ‘camp-craft’.  I always work on little projects once I’ve set up camp.  Whether it’s building a tri-pod to hang a cook pot or carving a spear, I like a good camp-site project.  I like to improvise when it comes to some camp tools as well – source from nature what I can when it makes sense.  Not only does this give me something to do, but it also allows me to carry in less gear – which is always a plus.

One such little project is what I call the Trail Fork and it can be made in less than 1 minute.

 

I rarely eat Ramen Noodles at home but when it comes to a camping trip they are one of the first things I grab.  They are cheap, easy to prepare and delicious.  And, they are best eaten with a fork.  To improvise a quick fork from nature, look to the trees.  Typically, I look for Pine or Maple.   Pine and Maple branches consistently grow in the fork-shaped pattern we are looking for and both trees are non-poisonous.  In this post example, I am using White Pine.  I prefer Pine because of the aroma and slight flavor in the finished fork.  It adds a very natural element to any camp meal.  Below are 2 branches with about 6-8 nice forks hidden in-side.  Instead of Where’s Waldo, let’s play Where’s the Fork?

I know that you already see where I’m headed with this.  You are looking for the areas where the branch splits off into 2-4 branches.

Often, you will find this useful arrangement multiple times on just one branch if you need forks for a group.

Just a few quick slices with your knife and the forks begin to take shape.

Cut at 45 degree angles so the ends are already nice and sharp.

You can use them ‘AS IS’ or spend another 15 seconds and trim off the outer bark.

These trail forks are prefect for Ramen Noodles and also work great for stirring small pots of soups and stews.

Next time you’re eating a meal at camp take a moment and give it a try.  Do you have any camp-craft projects that are simple and easy to do?  If so, share one with a comment below.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

12 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Bug Out Bag: Series Post 2 of 12: Food and Food Preparation

Series Introduction

This post series is for anyone who has an interest or curiosity in building their own Bug Out Bag.  In the next 3-4 months leading up to the release of my book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit, my publisher has authorized me to write a series of 12 posts outlining the 12 Supply Categories needed to build the perfect Bug Out Bag and WHY they are important and necessary.  Each post in this 12 Step Series will highlight a separate Bug Out Bag Supply Category.

In my book I elaborate on each of these supply categories in great detail with 100s of detailed photos, instructions, practice exercises, recommended gear and specific supply check-lists.  The purpose of this 12 Step Series is to identify, define and explain why each of the 12 Supply Categories I outline in my book are critical elements of a well-thought out Bug Out Bag.  I will not get into recommended gear, survival instruction or specific check-lists – I have to save something for the book!  This blog series isn’t as much about pitching my book as it is about selling the idea of building a bug out bag.  I truly believe that every person should have their own 72 hour disaster survival kit – especially in the uncertain times we live in today.  You can almost look at this post series as 12 Reasons Why People Need a Bug Out Bag.  It is my hope that this series motivates people to begin building their own kit that may very well serves as their survival life-line one day.

Supply Category # 2: Food and Food Preparation

Though Food and Food Preparation is the 2nd Bug Out Bag Supply Category detailed in my book, it certainly is not the 2nd most important.  ‘Important’, though, is a relative term when it comes to a Bug Out Bag.  EVERY category is important.  It’s just that some are more important than others.  When it comes to a 72-Hour Survival Bug Out situation, FOOD and FOOD PREP would be fairly close to the bottom when it comes to survival necessities.  We can survive for up to 3-weeks (or longer) without any food at all.  Notice my emphasis on the word SURVIVE.  You CAN survive but it would get progressively more and more uncomfortable and difficult as your body slowly suffers the debilitating consequences of starvation.

BOTTOM LINE: The longer you go without replenishing the calories you burn the less efficient you will become.

 

Food, and by food I mean CALORIES, is to the human body as gasoline is to an engine.  You need to put calories in the human engine to run at peak condition.  Without them, your body will putter out and eventually stop working all together.

So far, this is pretty much common sense.

 

However, when it comes to packing food in your Bug Out Bag, it is anything but common.  It has to be easy to prepare, light-weight, have a long shelf-life and be PACKED with calories.  Some food products make better candidates than others and these must be carefully and strategically selected – every OUNCE of WEIGHT and every CALORIE counts.  With that said, this isn’t 5-Star dining – it’s survival food to get you through an uncertain time and place.

Your Bug Out Bag food doesn’t need to break the bank, either.  You’d be surprised how many items fit into the Bug Out Bag food requirements mentioned above.  I don’t have more than $12 worth of food in my personal Bug Out Bag and it all easily fits into a 1-gallon resealable bag with room to spare.

Food Preparation & Related Tools

In my opinion, every Bug Out Bag should also include items for FOOD PREP and COOKING.  At the top of the list is a small, portable and efficient stove with fuel.  Your stove can be used for heating foods or boiling water.  My Bug Out Bag food items are all OPEN AND EAT – meaning I do not need a stove or fire to prepare them.  However, I still carry a small Esbit stove with solid fuel tablets just in case.  There are many factors to consider when selecting a stove.

A metal cook pot and cup are 2 other essential Bug Out Bag Food Prep items for a variety of reasons.  In my book,  I discuss how a Bug Out Bag is designed for a 72 Hour time period.  However, I also stress the importance of including some items that can be instrumental in getting you through a longer period if necessary.  FOOD PREP ITEMS are definitely in this list.  You can burn through a few meals in your BOB pretty quick – especially if you don’t ration them properly.  Packing some key FOOD PREP ITEMS and TOOLS gives you the option to gather, scavenge, hunt and  prepare food along your journey if necessary.

 

AMERICA is 9 meals away from chaos.

I don’t remember where I heard or read that phrase but it’s always stuck with me.  What this means is that your average American household has around 9 meals worth of food in their pantry.  When people run out of food, things get ugly quick.  Hence – 9 meals away from chaos.  While I’ve never personally been through a Full-Scale Bug Out, I’ve experienced several small scale emergencies such as 2-3 day power outages, ice storms, flooding, severe winter storms and the like.  I’m sure most of you have experienced events like these – OR EVEN LARGER.  Have you ever tried to go to the grocery store to get a few last minute items right as the 5 o-clock news announces the eminent arrival of a huge winter storm?  PEOPLE GET CRAZY!  They will clear the shelves over a few inches of snow – imagine what they will do in the wake of a large scale disaster.  If you don’t already have your BUG OUT food supply, you’re screwed – plain and simple.   I can remember when 9-11 happened years ago.  Even in the middle of Indiana where there were no attacks, I could not get gas and the grocery stores were insane.  People who have been through large scale disasters such as Katrina will attest to the fact that immediate supplies are quickly depleted and people get down right dangerous when it comes to finding more.

 

Remember, while we are preparing for 72 Hours, this is certainly not a guarantee.

The only guarantee we have is that an actual Bug Out will be much different than we can even imagine.  Preparing for the unexpected is crucial.  In this particular chapter in the book, I discuss many of the items that help you prepare for the unexpected.  You might be surprised what’s included.

So as you begin your ‘build’, don’t forget the importance of FOOD and FOOD PREP RELATED ITEMS.

Build YOUR perfect Bug Out Bag with the help of my no nonsense book: Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag – available on AMAZON and everywhere books are sold.

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Creek

How To Field Dress a Squirrel – an article by Creek Stewart on ArtofManliness.com

Today, ArtofManliness.com published an article I wrote titled How To Field Dress a Squirrel.  In this article, I walk readers through a step-by-step way to field dress a squirrel.  If you are interested in knowing how to do this or would just like to see how I like to do it you can read the article by clicking on the link below:

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/01/16/how-to-field-dress-a-squirrel/

Here is also a link to a related article I wrote titled 2 Tricks to Spit-Roasting Small Game Over an Open Fire that you may find interesting.

This squirrel had a beautiful thick hide.  I took it to a local taxidermist to be tanned so that I can use it as well.  As soon as he gets it back to me I will post some photos of it here for you to see.  As you will see in the instructional photos I skinned the squirrel in what is called a TUBE and the hide is almost fully intact.  I can readily use it to make a pouch or container.  I haven’t yet decided exactly how I will use it but it will not go to waste.

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Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on Amazon.com!