March 25, 2014 at 11:58 am #2489
Although cooking outdoors is often a great way to prepare food, the chances are that, in a survival situation, you’re not going to have the right types of food or cooking utensils to make it much of a pleasurable experience….or, so you might think!
Your skills and knowledge of how to gather food and water using natural means and to prepare it correctly will often give you an even greater sense of achievement and will boost your morale even further which is important, in addition to providing you with the nutrients which will help you to survive.
Unless you’re an expert in foods in the wild which can be eaten raw, you need to ensure that you cook all the food which you’ve harvested thoroughly to make sure it’s free from parasites and you should check that there are no visible signs of disease or abnormalities.
This goes for plants too, some of which are safe to eat when cooked but highly toxic if eaten raw.
Different Methods of Cooking
This technique comes in handy when you’ve not got a container which can be placed upon or over an open fire. You need to gather some small rocks or stones which won’t shatter or crumble and heat them in the fire for about 2 hours.
In a survival situation, make sure you have a backup set of rocks in the fire when the others have been removed to help with the continual cooking.
Once the rocks are hot enough, you can remove them from the fire and put them into your container of water which will then begin to boil.
At that point, you can start adding your food to the container to cook it. You need to ensure that you’ve got more rocks to add if you want the pot (or whatever your container is made from) to keep boiling.
You can make a spit out of a sapling and simply skewer a gutted, skinned and cleaned small animal or fish which you can then suspend over the heat turning it regularly. To ensure its cooked through, it’s better to do this over coals or some other type of low intensity burning material as opposed to over open flame.
This is great if you want to steam your food. Basically, you need to dig a pit or hole in the ground and line the bottom of it with rocks. Then, build a fire on top of the rocks and let that burn for a couple of hours until the rocks beneath are red hot. Then scrape out the remainder of the fire and place some non-poisonous grasses about 7 or 8 inches deep on top of the rocks.
You then place the food you’re cooking on top of the grasses. Wrapping the food in large leaves first is often a good idea if you want to seal in the juices from your food.
Then place some more grasses and seal the pit with some bark or similar material and some earth. After a couple of hours, just remove the earth, bark and grasses, not forgetting they’ll be hot and your food will taste delicious and it’s a method that also helps to retain the food’s natural juices.
Following a similar process to the rock boiling technique, once again heat the rocks in the fire and, once removed, you can use them almost like a frying pan.
Other alternative methods include building a rock oven for baking but for a quicker solution to cooking things more slowly, use a rock or slab of wood as a reflector by propping it at about a 45 degree angle from the fire.
As it heats up, you can then use it like a grill remembering to turn the food over to ensure its evenly cooked.
Enjoying a meal when faced with a survival situation is going to be a fantastic morale booster and the gathering of the food and its preparation is all part of that. Not only will it help pass the time of day and keep your mind occupied, it will sustain you and give you energy for the days ahead, should a rescue or escape not be immediate.
Many people believe that they will never find themselves in a survival situation, but it can happen to anyone and the importance of knowing the plants and berries that you can safely eat to sustain you, cannot be emphasised enough.
Whilst there is an abundance of food to be found in the natural environment, there are also plants and berries which if eaten, can cause you severe stomach upsets at best and at worst, can kill you.
The ‘look’ of a particular plant or berry is simply not enough and if you can’t identify it, then the advice is to leave it alone and not to risk eating it. Therefore, if you’re out in the woods, it’s useful to have a basic knowledge of the vegetation that grows in a specific area you’re visiting and know how to identify which plants are safe and which are toxic.
Hunger pangs are highly likely to ‘kick in’ if you are stranded for some time without food but it’s important to remember that you can actually survive for a few weeks without food as long as you have enough water to sustain you.
Therefore, no matter how abundant and tempting plants and berries might be, you should never eat any wild vegetation unless you are 100% sure you can identify it.April 5, 2014 at 1:01 am #6921
Good post. Just a hint: As you said, always positively identify your food before you eat it. Some people assume that plants/berries that animals eat are good for humans. NOT SO. Many things relished by birds and animals are highly toxic to humans. We had goats that ate poison ivy regularly without ill effects…July 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm #20216
Great information. Thank you for sharing it.
Respect the elders, Teach the young, Cooperate with the pack
Play when you can, Hunt when you must, Rest in between
Share your affections, Voice your feelings, Leave your mark.
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