Take a step into the wild and become one with nature. To survive, you will need to brush up on some vital knowledge and learn what food is good to eat in the wilderness.
Sure, you will load up your knapsack with a sandwich and a banana, maybe an energy bar for a light trek. But what about when fully immersing yourself into the wilderness? Are you going to cart a coolbox with you into the woods? Run the risk of attracting unwanted attention from some bears? We didn’t think so.
Read on to explore essential information that will aid you in surviving on good food in the wilderness.
Firstly, you need to determine your level of expertise. Are you a complete beginner to nature foraging? Or maybe you are more experienced in constructing snares.
Let us talk you through on how to become a decent hunter-gatherer. Wow, your friends with your new-found knowledge and never go hungry while on the trails.
5 essentials to eating good food in the wilderness
As we go through the various options available, bear in mind some experience and in-depth knowledge are required.
We will begin with the beginner steps and move through to more advanced possibilities that can be found in the wild.
Make sure you prepare yourself before any trip with decent field guides, so you know the details of your surroundings and equip all the necessary gear.
Foraging for berries, greens, and more
Foraging is the simplest and safest way to eat good food in the wild. There are plenty of wild greens, berries, flowers, nuts, and seeds up for grabs when you know what to look out for.
With a basic preparation of a decent field guide of the area, you will know what to pick for a mid-trek snack.
Even before jumping into the deep end, you can practice in the local region identifying the edible plants.
Some great examples for Northern America wilderness include,
- Wild strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- Stinging nettles
- Thistle root
- Water lily roots
- Bamboo shoots
Nuts and seeds can be a little harder to source as they aren’t always so easy to access. You may need to implore some squirrel skills and climb branches to reach a supply.
Also, it is important to note that some nuts must be soaked to drain out toxins before human consumption, like tannins inside acorns.
From wild rice and wild rye to walnuts, hickory and pine nuts. The wilderness is our oyster.
Grubs and bugs, Timon and Pumba style
Embrace the problem-free philosophy of Timon and Pumba and dive right into bugs and grubs under a tree trunk.
This feast is not as gross as popular opinion leads us to believe.
This slimy yet satisfying meal is hyped up to be super crazy and the last resort, all thanks to survival TV shows like Bear Grylls or Survivor.
We are not telling you to grab the grub and bite the head straight off while it’s alive. It’s vital you cook these insects, just like any meat, beforehand to kill any parasites that may be residing inside.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a stick and roast some grasshoppers before moving onto the marshmallows!
And why stop there? You can try a whole assortment like ants, ant larvae, maggots, beetles, earwigs, or even termites.
Because after all, Hakuna Matata may just save you out in the wilderness. So don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Fishing with a twist, and a side of eggs
A more skilled explorer could tackle the rivers to serve up a meal.
Believe us when we tell you catching a fish with your bare hands or a spear is a lot harder than it looks. It takes members of indigenous tribes several years of practicing before mastering the skill.
If you are hell-bent on using your hands, perhaps try catching snakes or other reptiles and amphibians. Cook up those frog legs Shrek style over a fire, delicious!
For fish, we recommend an easier option of making a trap. Check out Primal Survivor’s guide on how to make a fish trap here. Choose between two main types:
- Stationary fish traps that act as a funnel into a net using simple items such as plastic bottles
- Moving fish traps which is proactively dragging fishing nets
- Seine Fishing is effective as a team by corralling fish in a group with the net as a ‘C’ shape
- Cast Net utilizes weights on the edges of a circular net that trap fish as it sinks and can be hauled in as solo use
When you are exploring the wilderness closer to the ocean you will have more of a variety available, such as clams, oysters, shrimp, crabs, squid, and kelp.
Eggs can also be collected using nets and scoops, or just as simple as you would gather the nuts by climbing.
Fungi require yet another level of expertise and knowledge. There are many poisonous varieties out there waiting to cause death or diarrhea, which can be almost as bad when in the wild with the risk of dehydration.
It is helpful to learn from an experienced guide when starting your mushroom foraging adventures.
You must only ever use credible and reputable sources to identify mushrooms. Never rely on social media or online forums, as this is life or death in some cases.
Some safe varieties to locate when beginning is, Morels, Oyster Mushrooms, Western Giant Puffball, and Chicken of the Woods.
Hunting small game with snares and traps
Taking it up another notch again, hunting small game.
Using simple snares and traps can serve up a feast and meets expectations of when you are going into the wilderness.
This in-depth guide of simple animal traps and snares will show you the basics that can easily be taken into the woods, including,
- The simple snare of a loop and noose outside a den
- The twitch-up snare that incorporates a trigger bar to lift the prey away from the ground and other predators
- The deadfall trap that makes use of heavy rocks to crush the small game
To begin with, just focus on small game and birds like geese, ducks, quail, rabbits, mice, or pigeon for the more urban wilderness adventure.
Spit roast your catch over the fire for a barky-smoked finish. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The next stage is taking on large game like deer or moose, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish requiring more skill and tools than what the average explorer has.
Takeaway thoughts before you get going
So there you have it. Now you know what food is good to eat in the wilderness. What have you checked off the wilderness survival bucket list menu?
From leafy greens to trapping fish or mice, you never need to go hungry in the wild again.
Do you have the skills to successfully forage mushrooms or snare a rabbit? Let us know in the comments!