Getting lost in the wilderness with no emergency food supply and no way to ask for help could sound frightening, but your chances of surviving are high. The wilderness has an abundant amount of everything edible if you know where to find them. But this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever it is that you can lay your hands on!
The wild is as dangerous as it is abundant. If you’re out there in the wild feeling famished, start looking for these ten edibles to ease your hunger:
Wild Berries and Fruits
These might be the first things that you should consider eating if you’re left alone in the wild. Wild berries and fruits thrive in different climates, and they are mostly always easy to find. However, you have to know which berries and fruits to eat and avoid. Here are some edible berries that you can munch on while finding your way back to civilization:
- Wild strawberries
- Bramble berries
- Fox grape
- Wild plums
Meanwhile, avoid these berries listed below as they have toxic compounds that are poisonous and could even prove fatal.
- Holly berries
- Jerusalem cherries
- Pokeweed berries
- Ivy berries
- Yew berries
- Virginia creeper berries
Vegetables and All Other Grasses
If you’re lucky, you can stumble upon a garden of asparagus or lettuce in the wild, providing that no animals had seen them first before you arrived. However, you may not have noticed some vegetables since the undomesticated ones usually don’t look like those that we serve on the dining table. But no need to stress yourself over finding veggies in the wild since all grasses are edible. But don’t forget to spit out the tough fibers.
Aside from the leaves, you can also feed on the corm, a small, white part located in the base of the leaves where it meets the root. It can be roasted or boiled and can be eaten like potatoes.
Flowers and Plants
Most plants are edible. However, some plants are poisonous that it would be too great of a risk to eat them without prior knowledge about them. So, as a rule of thumb, never eat a plant that you can’t identify. Identifying flora, however, can be tricky since two different plants can sometimes look similar. Here are some plants that are safe to feed on:
- Prickly Pear Cactus
- White Mustard
Meanwhile, here are tell-tale signs that a plant should not be ingested:
- Steer away from plants that have spines, fine hairs, and thorns, as well as milky or discolored sap.
- Avoid beans, bulbs, or seeds found in pods, as well as plants that parsley-like foliage.
- Smell the plant and steer clear from those that have “almond” scent.
Dig Up Some Roots and Look for Mushrooms
Roots are a good source of vitamins and are pretty common in the wild. You can find some roots and boil them to get a much-needed vitamin and nutrition boost to keep you alert and provide you with energy.
However, foraging for roots takes up time and effort since they are hidden underneath the soil. You also have to clean them to ensure that all debris and pests that may be attached to the roots are removed.
Here are common plants and flowers whose roots are also edible:
- Burdock root
- Licorice root
- Agave root
Meanwhile, some mushrooms are edible, but some can be poisonous. Telling the difference between the two, however, can be tricky and are not advisable.
There is no sure sign that a mushroom is edible, but there are various red flags that could tell you that it is poisonous.
- Mushrooms that have white gills, a skirt or ring on their stems belong to the Amanita family of mushrooms, which are very poisonous.
- Mushrooms with red on the cap or stem are also dangerous if ingested.
- Animals can consume poisonous fungi and suffer no consequences. So, if you think that a mushroom is edible since a wild animal just took a bite of it, then you’re wrong.
- Not all mushrooms growing on the wood are safe, unlike what people usually say.
To be safe, if you are not knowledgeable about the various types of mushroom, avoid them at all costs.
Birds – If You Can Catch One
You can eat most kinds of birds, including pigeons, crows, and seagulls. However, catching them can be difficult. But, if you have a gun or a net, then wait for a target. You might also find live chickens and ducks in the wilderness. Make sure to pluck their feathers and clean the bird before you cook it over a fire, and voila! You have food for the rest of the day.
Aside from birds, you can also feed on some bird’s nest. Some areas in the world hold one of the most ancient and rarest delicacies called Edible Bird’s Nest. If you’re lucky, you can even chance upon this expensive nest made from the saliva of a bird called swiftlet. The nest, according to experts, have various health benefits.
Frogs and Snakes
You might find it odd, but frogs and snakes can be good food – especially if you have no other choice. Frogs taste like chicken, while snakes, also taste good, but are a little chewy since they are one long muscle, according to Alan Kay, a survival instructor.
However, catching a frog or a snake can be quite challenging. Frogs are slimy and slippery, add to it, quick while snakes are venomous. So, before you go and hunt for these poisonous reptiles, you should have at least a little knowledge about which are toxic and which are edible.
Some snakes that are safe to eat are:
- Coral snakes
Insects, Bugs, Cockroaches?
Insects, bugs, ants, and cockroaches are usually safe food options, too. This should not come as a surprise since some countries serve them as delicacies. Also, in the wild, you don’t have to wonder whether these insects have undergone bug or cockroach control with non-toxic killer products, and almost everything is up for grabs! Those who have tried them can also attest that they taste delicious. Some are almost nutty, while others have a lemony taste. But beware of the red flags! Most insects, bugs, and even plants or marine life that have bright colors are highly poisonous.
Here’s a list of edible insects:
- Most types of ants
- Some bugs, except for spiders, millipedes, and other types of arachnids
- Water Bug
- Walking Stick
- Midge Fly
On the other hand, here are the deadliest insects in the world:
- Bullet ant
- Bot fly
- Kissing bug
Mollusks and Worms
Slimy slugs, snails, and worms may look strange but can be pretty delicious, too, given that you take their guts out and hold them over a fire to take away the slime.
Here are some worms that you can find widely scattered in the wild:
- Mopane worm
- Bamboo worm
If you are near a body of water, you can also be sure that mollusks and snails are hiding somewhere. Take advantage of these fresh edibles if you ever find yourself alone in the wild:
There’s a Lot of Fishes in the Sea or the River
If you happen to be lost in the wilderness that is situated near the waters, then you have an abundant source of food. There are plenty of small fish, eels, and other forms of marine life that can be found both in the sea or in the river. During low tide, you can also find marine snails attached to rocks and even isopods, crustaceans that live in freshwater.
You can find common warm water fish like catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill in freshwater. Catch one or two and cook them over a fire and you got a dish.
Some fish and marine life can be poisonous, too. So stick to the ones that look familiar to you.
Practically, All the Animals Out There
You can almost hunt all the animals in the wilderness, assuming that you have the skills and the equipment needed to put them down and eat them like your regular meat. However, there is some danger that comes with hunting. The wilderness is a mammal kingdom, and you can be sure that some of them can turn violent once they feel threatened.
Take extra caution if you ever decide to go hunting for food. And if it’s going to take a lot of your time and energy before you could kill these animals, maybe it’s wiser to preserve your energy and look for other food sources. After all, your energy is much essential to survive.
Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere sounds like a scene that we only see in the movies, but it happens in real life. And knowing what to do is your key to survival.