I think it’s safe to say that all of us would rather hunker down than bug out following a disaster.
Our homes are our shelters and our neighborhoods are our comfort zones. They are also where we keep a vast majority of our supplies.
If at all possible, we’re going to put up with the problems – loss of power, contaminated water, etc. – and stay put to ride out all but the worst emergencies.
But if a crisis results in needing to leave our homes and deal with the wilderness, we should be prepared for it. We may need to be able to take care of ourselves and our families in the wilderness until we can re-establish our home base.
Eating berries in the wild
Foraging for food will be an activity that many people will be involved in if they have to bug out in an emergency.
And a wild food that comes to mind immediately is berries. There may be a wide variety of berries in your neck of the woods. Including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.
There are also a variety of things you can do with those berries, depending on what kind of supplies you’ve taken with you.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways we’ll be able to use berries in a survival situation.
Eating them as is. This is the simplest and most convenient use of berries. They taste great when they’re fresh. Just wash them off first and have at them.
Making dried fruit. Do like the Native Americans did and dry out your berries in the sun. Once fully dried, you can eat them out of a bag or combine them with other foods you enjoy.
Making juice. After you’ve collected, washed and drained your berries, mash them up in a pan and boil them if possible to remove any pathogens. If you have a cooler, chill the resulting juice and enjoy. You could also add water and sugar, if you have them, for an even sweeter beverage.
Making syrup. After mixing your berries with an equal amount of sugar, mash them up and bring the liquid to a boil. (You can use any flavor berry you prefer – from strawberry to blueberry.) Strain the syrup that results and use it on pancakes. To add a medicinal component to your syrup, add tinctured or powdered medicinals. Powdered slippery elm bark, for example, can be used as a remedy for coughs and sore throats. A dandelion root tincture can serve as a liver tonic.
Making jam. Perhaps you have a family recipe for jam that you could use. Mixing berries together for this is tasty, but have some pectin in your bug-out bag for a thicker consistency.
Dyes. Some berries — like blackberries — can be used to dye colors into fabrics and even hair. Depending on the amount of ingredients you use and how long you leave a garment in the dye, the color you get can vary.
One of the issues with eating berries in the wild is knowing which ones are safe to eat. This is a comprehensive topic for another day. But here are a few berries you can be confident are safe:
• Chokeberries. Mostly found in swampy areas. They are typically red, purple or black.
• Barberries. Long, thin and red, they grow on thorny shrubs near the Canadian border. They’re ideal for jams and jellies.
• Salmonberries. Usually red or orange, they look like raspberries. They’re found on trees in damp, coastal forests.
5 fun facts about berries
Maybe you already know a lot about berries. But did you know these five fun facts?
• Unripe blackberries are red.
• Strawberries contain an element found in aspirin, so they might help relieve a headache.
• Unlike most other fruits, raspberries don’t continue to ripen after they’re picked.
• Raspberries come in a wide variety of colors, including purple, gold, black and yellow.
• Because they protect brain cells from free radicals and increase neuroplasticity, berries can boost your brainpower.
What’s your favorite berry? Any harvesting tips or recipe ideas? Let me know in the comments section below!