Preppers Basic Guide To Urban Foraging
Not everybody lives in or near wilderness locations where they could forage for food if the SHTF. Many preppers are urban preppers and would need to forage from an urban environment to survive. At least until they can reach their bug out location or get themselves to a location with a more sustainable food source. To help with this we have created the following preppers basic to urban foraging.
Being an urban prepper doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps towards being self-reliant. Especially if you plan to shelter in place. There are ways to make use of space both inside and outside of your home to grow some basic foods that will help you in an emergency. But if your away from home in an urban city or town, learning about urban foraging and the wild edibles you can eat will help you to survive.
Rules Of Urban Foraging
The first rule you should obey when it comes to foraging for wild edibles is safety. We are all different and you may be allergic or have an adverse reaction to some wild edibles. Never attempt to consume wild edibles without first testing your tolerance to any wild edible you plan to eat.
Tolerance Test Step One
Take a small piece of the wild berry, plant or leaf you have identified as potentially safe to eat. Place this on your tongue and chew without swallowing to release a small amount of juice on to the surface of your tongue. Spit it out and wait 30 minutes to see if you are feeling any adverse side effects such as a headache or nausea.
Tolerance Test Step Two
If step one goes ok you can move on to step two which involves eating a small piece of the wild edible and waiting a further 30 minutes keeping an eye out for any adverse reactions. If all goes well you can start to eat larger quantities keeping an eye out for adverse signs.
The tolerance test steps above are basic steps that err on the side of caution. If you want to look into a more detailed method of tolerance testing you could carry out a UNIVERSAL EDIBILITY TEST which is based on the US Army survival manual.
Over time you will learn which wild edibles play nicely with you and those that don’t.
Foraging Do’s And Don’ts
There are a number of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to urban foraging and wild edibles. Always apply common sense and listen to your gut feeling. If your suspicious that something may not be right its best to avoid it.
- You should never attempt to eat anything you have foraged unless you are certain about its identity.
- Don’t eat wild edibles that may have been contaminated by chemicals.
- Don’t eat dead or discolored leaves.
- Avoid wild edibles that grow beside busy roads.
- Avoid Wild Edibles from areas such as factories, landfill sites, leaking sewage or contaminated water.
- Rinse your foraged wild edibles thoroughly before attempting to eat them.
- Do lots of research.
Wild Edibles And Urban Foraging Research
As stated above you should never eat anything you forage unless you are certain about its identity. In order to be ready to forage for wild edibles in an urban environment, you need to do your research. If you don’t you will be putting yourself at risk because you won’t be certain of what is and is not safe to eat. You don’t want to be playing Russian roulette with wild edibles, especially at a time when medical services may not be easily accessible.
Its important to research, learn and practice urban foraging and you can do this using one if not all the following methods.
Purchase one or more wild edible books including pocket guides which are ideal to carry with you.
There are also wild edible smartphone apps which are great because they take up zero extra space in your pocket. A pocket guide is still a good idea though in case your smartphone batteries fail.
Here are a few examples of wild edible books, smartphone apps, and pocket guides:
You could also enroll yourself on a course with a local wild edible school. These are great because you get shown how to forage by experts.
Examples Of Wild Edibles
There’s no substitution for researching the wild edibles you can forage. There are many different types and these will differ depending on your geographical location and the time of year. The following list of wild edibles is intended only as an example list of some of the common types.
Many urban areas have oak trees that produce acorns which are rich in protein. However, you must first leach out a substance they contain called tannin which if eaten will cause an upset stomach. You can remove the tannin by boiling and reboiling the acorns several times until the water remains clear. Heres an article that has some tips on how to use acorns called Survival Skills: 5 Ways To Eat Acorns
You will often find blackberries growing in urban settings like fences, hedges, ditches, and roadsides. Blackberries are a great source of nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and vitamin K. The plants themselves can be thorny so be careful not to cut yourself as you don’t want an infected wound.
Burdock leaves can be used in tea in small amounts for its medical benefits. The roots also have health benefits and can detoxify your blood, lymphatic system and skin. Burdock has potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on the human body.
Chickweed stem, leaves, and flowers are all edible and can be eaten raw once washed. The plant likes to grow in damp areas. It has been used to treat asthma, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, constipation, inflammation, and skin disorders. It can also be used externally to treat rashes and sores. The young shoots are edible and have been used as salad greens.
Dandelion Leaves and Roots
Dandelions contain vitamins and minerals, the young leaves of dandelions are less bitter and can be used in salads. The older leaves can be cooked to get rid of some of the bitterness. If possible select dandelions which flowers haven’t bloomed.
Many different types of mushrooms grow in urban areas but you need to be careful and do your research. Some mushrooms can be poisonous even though they look just like the ones you get from your local store.
When foraging stinging nettles for obvious reasons wear gloves to protect your hands. Nettle leaf has protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and beta-carotene and high amounts of the vitamins A, C, D, and B complex.
Stinging nettle leaves can be washed, dried and used for tea. They can also be used as a spinach substitute and more. Search for stinging nettle recipes online you’ll be surprised.
Raspberries are another thorny member of the berry family. They are easily identifiable and have great health benefits. They have anti-inflammatory properties and contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin, and gallic acid.
Sheep sorrel has a number of reported health benefits such as treatment for cancer, fever, generalized inflammation, and scurvy. Its rich in vitamins such as A, B complex, C, D, E, and K.
Many urban areas have sweet chestnut trees and although autumn will be the time you can benefit from them. They are easy to forage because the nuts fall from the trees. When picking them up you should protect your hands ideally wearing gloves because they are very prickly.
Urban Foraging Maps
Most of us walk around the urban areas we live in oblivious to the wild edibles that are growing around us. Once you have done your research and become familiar with edible plants, flowers, and roots. It’s a good idea to make an urban foraging map to record the locations where you have seen the edibles. You can then memorize the map and keep a copy handy in case you ever need it.
Basic Guide To Urban Foraging Conclusion
Learning to forage in general is a valuable prepper skill you can add to your skill set. Wild edible knowledge will help you to forage in an urban environment if need to in an emergency. Research, practice and learning your tolerances to wild plants will give you the best chance of survival. helping you to obtain valuable food sources that will give you the energy you need to get you home or to your bug out location.