Edible wild plants and parts of trees when surviving in emergency and extreme situations.

In our country, there are over two thousand plants and trees that are fully or partially edible. Their total weight is hundreds of thousands of tons. And all over the world there are more than 120,000 varieties of such edible plants. Almost any geographical area, with the exception of the floating ice of the Arctic Ocean and the glaciers of the highlands, can provide a person with a vegetarian lunch, where there will be a salad, first, second, third dishes, and possibly an exotic dessert. 

Edible wild plants and parts of trees when surviving in emergency and extreme situations.

Plants are edible: rhizomes, bulbs, stems, shoots, buds, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, nuts, cones, etc. Some parts of the plants can be eaten raw, others after thorough boiling, frying or other thermal processing, as well as drying, soaking and other methods. Nuts, fruits and tubers have the highest nutritional value..

, revered for a treat by the ancient Egyptians. From the rhizomes of many aquatic plants that have been previously dried and ground into flour, you can bake bread cakes and cook pusher cereals.

Edible parts of trees.

Not only herbaceous plants, but even trees are suitable for food. No, this does not mean that a little-known sausage tree grows in the depths of the taiga, which, chopped down, can be cut into circles, like an ordinary doctor’s sausage. Of course not. It is not the trees themselves that are edible, but the individual components of the trees, and even then not at any time of the year. For example, cones, acorns or sapwood – a thin, young bark adjacent to the trunk. A pine can offer five edible parts to the table. Unblown flower buds, young shoots, sapwood, cones and, c. as a vitamin drink, needles.

Birch trees, in addition to sapwood and juice, you can eat buds and young leaves, which contain up to 23% protein substances and 12% fat. Dwarf polar willow is almost completely edible. This shrub with a height of not more than 60 cm is often found in the tundra. It grows in groups, sometimes completely covering the ground. In early spring willow of the polar willow, the inner parts of young shoots of trees freed from the bark are eaten. They can even be eaten raw. In addition, young leaves of trees are edible, which are 7-10 times richer in vitamin C than oranges. Blooming “earrings”. Young roots cleaned from the ground. And even freed from the bark, well boiled and ground trunks.

Edible trees include oak. Since ancient times, the inhabitants of Europe have been rescued from hunger since ancient times. Acorns were harvested in late September or immediately after the first frost. Raw acorns are not suitable for food due to the abundance of tannins in them. Therefore, they were peeled, cut into four parts and poured with water, soaking for two days, changing the water three times a day to eliminate the bitter aftertaste. Then again, two parts of water were poured in proportion to one part of acorns and brought to a boil..

The boiled acorns were scattered in a thin layer in the open air on a wooden baking sheet for preliminary drying, and then dried in an oven or on a stove until the acorns began to crunch like crackers. After that, they were crushed or ground. At the same time, coarse grits went to porridge, and flour – for baking cakes. To quote a few old recipes made from trees.

“Next, dried fish caviar is prepared, which is intended mainly for men traveling to the forest to hunt wild animals. Carrying a single pound of this dried caviar, Kamchadal was provided with food for a whole month, because when he wants to eat, he cuts off the birch bark (and they grow here everywhere in abundance), removes the upper soft bark, and its hard part, adjacent closer everything to the trunk of the tree, spreads with a small amount of fish roe taken with it, and then eats it like a cracker or like a sandwich, which makes up all its food ”.

“Peel (birch) is in great use, because residents, scraping a peel from a raw tree, chop it with hatchets, like noodles, finely and eat it with dried caviar with such pleasure that in winter you won’t find a Kamchatka prison in which women would not sit by the raw birch ridge and they didn’t crumble the declared noodles with their own stone or bone hatchets ”.

“The dried sapwood of larch or spruce, rolled up in a tube and dried, is eaten not only in Siberia, but also in Russia before Khlynov and Vyatka”.

“Chukchi from leaves and young shoots of willow prepared one of their favorite dishes, stockpiled for future use. Bags of seal skins were stuffed with willow, and this semblance of silage was left to sour throughout the summer. In late autumn, such an acidic mass froze and in the following months they cut it into slices and ate like bread. ”.

I hope the above lines convinced skeptics that parts of trees can be used not only as firewood or building material, but also be served. The sapwood (sometimes incorrectly called bast) is the most nutritious and delicious in spring, during the period of saping and intensive growth of the tree. Although, in principle, it can be used for gastronomic purposes both in summer and autumn. Some sources claim that the northern peoples in severe hunger consumed food as an additive to other products and winter sapwood. Although, probably, at this time of the year it is already not much different from the upper crust, but as they say, hunger is not an aunt, it’s not up to gourmet.

Moreover, I read historical chronicles, which talked about eating bark in general, although it is generally believed that the upper bark of trees, due to too abundant tannins, is not suitable for food. It’s hard to figure it out. Probably, it all depends on the degree of hunger. In my life I have also eaten a lot of things, which I thought was impossible to eat in principle. In one interview, Academician Likhachev said that in the besieged Leningrad, people dying of hunger ate sawdust (!), For which they threw them into the water, where the tree, being for a long time, began to roam. They ate this fermented, smelly, but protein-giving porridge.

When harvesting sapwood, it is best to remove it at the base of the trunk or even from thick roots that have climbed out onto the surface of the earth, where it is most nutritious and juicy. The methods for extracting sapwood are different. The easiest way is to make with a knife or an ax on the trunk two deep circular horizontal cuts and two vertical ones connecting them. Remove the upper bark by prying it on one side with a knife. If it lends itself poorly, you can use small wooden wedges driven in between the trunk and bark.

In principle, sapwood can be eaten raw – its taste is sweetish, of course, not without a “wooden” flavor. Significantly improves its palatability long cooking. Sapwood, dipped in boiling water, gradually softens, swells and turns into a uniform gelatinous mass, which, having slightly cooled, should be eaten. If this “porridge” is dried on stones heated on a fire, or another improvised frying pan, then the obtained flour can be used for baking bread cakes.

The secondary bark of birch, willow, maple, pine, aspen, larch, spruce, and poplar is considered the most nutritious. By the way, all the listed trees, except for larch, have edible buds and young shoots in raw, but better in boiled form. Nutritious natki of evaporated and thickened on the trunks of juice, reminiscent of chewing gum. Nature generously provides many edible herbs, roots, tubers, berries, mushrooms. When preparing for a trip, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the flora of the latitudes where you are going, and add a number of others to the edible plants you already know. It is very important to know not only what you can eat, but also what plants are categorically impossible.

Deadly poisonous plants are much smaller than edible, and, therefore, easier to remember. Because, knowing the poisonous plants “in the face”, it is possible with less risk to health to taste the unknown, but seemingly edible plants encountered on the way. In general, because knowing poisonous plants is even more important than being able to find suitable ones in writing.

Based on materials from the School of Survival in Natural Conditions.
Andrey Ilyichev.

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