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Backpacker Magazine – February/March 2013

Survival Lab: Eat Out

Need to find food in a crisis? Just foraging for fun? Learn to raid nature's pantry, which is full of easily harvested, highly nutritious meals.

by: Ted Alvarez

PAGE 1 2
What's safe to eat in the backcountry?
Photo by What's safe to eat in the backcountry?
What's safe to eat in the backcountry?
A mini tacklebox including hooks and weights (Photo by A. Bydlon)
Photo by A mini tacklebox including hooks and weights (Photo by A. Bydlon)
A mini tacklebox including hooks and weights (Photo by A. Bydlon)

Pack a Tiny Tacklebox
This pocket-size fishing kit could save your life.

» Case An ultralight Altoids Smalls tin (.5 oz.). Stow it in your pants pocket, in case you lose your pack.
» Tape at least three hooks of different sizes to the inside of the lid.
» Wrap 100 feet of 12-pound line around a business card or pencil.
» Pack several weights and lures (in case live bait is scarce—or you need to eat the worms yourself). 
» Fit in a mini bobber, and tick tweezers to pull hooks. 
» Using a larger tin? Squeeze in a mini knife, and more flies, jigs, and line. 

>> Key Skill: Boiling Greens
Give your wild edibles a bath: Boiling can remove bitterness, improve texture and taste, and even remove mild toxins. Timing varies (nettles only need a minute or two), but when in doubt, boil roots, greens, and bitter nuts or seeds (like acorns) for 10 minutes, change the water, and boil for another 10 minutes. Can’t build a fire? Put your produce in a sock and soak it overnight in a stream. 

>> Wild Dining
Watch our man-in-the-field, Ted Alvarez, forage for a meal, hunt game, and down a bug or two on a walkabout with expert forager Nate Summers of Wilderness Aware School.

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Great article! I think that your readers could benefit from using our foraging app to help them identify the plants they are trying to eat as well. It's an awesome foraging app for the iphone, ipad and android phones called Wild Edibles. It's a portable little digital guidebook for use to identify edible wild plants in the woods, or the hoods, and comes chock full of recipes, gorgeous pictures, poisonous look-a-likes function, and it's own notes feature for you to record where you find them. Please check it out and share it with your friends and family to help get this very DIY project some exposure!


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