Preparing a Wild Turkey

Intro: Cleaning Your Wild Turkey

You have finally achieved a successful turkey hunt and the most difficult part is over. But, there is still a lot of work to do cleaning the bird to get it ready to be put in the freezer. One of the most common questions and concerns of new turkey hunters is how to clean a turkey after they have shot it. This article will hopefully answer most of the questions about cleaning a turkey with some of the techniques I and many other hunters utilize.

Step 1: Make a Decision


The cleaning or field dressing process begins right after you shoot your bird. The first thing you need to decide after the pictures are taken is what you are going to do with your turkey.

Make a decision immediately about whether you will have the turkey mounted. This will determine how you will proceed with the cleaning process and how much care you should take transporting your turkey. If you are planning on having the bird mounted, do not field dress the bird.

You might also consider how you plan on cooking the turkey. Roasting, smoking or whole deep frying are cooking processes that work best with the skin still on the turkey, although there are techniques for a skinless turkey as well. Frying or grilling pieces of turkey will work well with a bird that has been skinned.

At this point , you have basically three options for continuing cleaning your wild turkey.

  1. Prepare bird for the taxidermist.
  2. Field dress the bird if it’s hot or you’re a long way from home.
  3. Wait until you get home before proceeding with cleaning the bird. If it’s cool enough and you have a relatively short trip home, you can wait before taking on the task of cleaning the turkey.

Preparing Your Wild Turkey for the Taxidermist

If you are thinking about having a turkey mounted by a taxidermist, by all means, shop around by visiting professional taxidermists in your area before you go hunting and get a feeling for the quality of their work and the prices they will charge. If you don’t have a good taxidermist in your area do not get discouraged. There are many excellent taxidermists all across the country and by asking friends and fellow hunters or doing your own research, you can find a quality taxidermist. Spending a little extra money to ship your bird is well worth it to get an excellent reminder of your trophy hunt. Mounting a wild turkey is not easy and if you let an amateur mount if for you, don’t expect excellent results.

The secret to getting good taxidermy mounts of any animal is 1) Keeping the animal in as good as condition as possible before it reaches the taxidermist, and 2) Choosing a qualified taxidermist.

Before the Hunt

Finding a good taxidermist is up to you but there are some tips that will help you get your bird to the taxidermist in as good of condition as possible. These are some general ideas and your taxidermist may have specific instructions on the way he likes to receive birds.

First, make sure and take on your hunt a large plastic bag and a cooler large enough to lay the bird in without scrunching up the tail feathers. Take with you some paper towels, cotton balls, and either a large plastic bag, a section of used panty hose, or both. Many taxidermists recommend using a section of used panty hose cut from the thigh area as a covering for the bird to keep the feathers in place. Cut out a section of the hose from the thigh area and tie up one end. Then after you shoot a bird, carefully slip the bird into the bag head first, pulling the stocking over its entire body. This will help keep all of the feathers in place. You can also just use a large plastic bag and slip the bird inside it and carefully carry it out of the woods.

Shooting the Bird

When you harvest a bird, always try for a clean head and neck shot. If you want the tail feathers to look good, do not shoot the bird head-on while it is strutting. The shotgun pattern will shred through the tail feathers and that will not look good at all. In fact, it’s best not to shoot a strutting bird period. Tthe best shot to take is a side shot with the bird’s neck stretched up. This should keep all of the shotgun pellets well away from the tail and wing feathers. It is much easier for a taxidermist to replace or repair a shot-up head than to try and repair or replace tail and wing feathers.The distance should be around 25 to 30 yards which is a good distance to aim for any time you are hunting turkeys. This yardage allows for a clean kill without too dense of a shot pattern which may cause extreme damage to the head and neck. If for some reason you do need a second shot to kill the bird, try and take it at the head only and from a sufficient distance to limit more damage to the bird.

After any turkey is shot, they often thrash around on the ground before dying. There really is not a lot you can do about this since picking up a thrashing turkey is not very smart. Your best hope is that he will drop dead and lay stone still after the shot which does occasionally happen. If he does flop around, pick up all of the loose feathers you can find and send them along with the bird to your taxidermist.

After the Shot


After the bird is dead, there are three keys to getting your bird to the taxidermist in prime condition.

  1. Keep the plumage dry and clean. Stuff paper towels or cotton balls into the bird’s mouth and anus to keep any blood or body fluids from soiling the feathers. Also, if there are any large or bloody wounds, stuff them also to keep as much blood off of the feathers as possible. It may be necessary to wrap the head in paper towels if it is really bloody.
  2. Limit feather loss and damage by slipping the bird into either the pantyhose section or a large plastic bag or both. Be very conscious of the tail feathers and do not scrunch or bend them. If the bird flopped around a lot, be sure and pick up any of the loose feathers.
  3. Keep the bird cool – As soon as possible, start cooling the bird by placing it in a large cooler. If you have to wait more than several hours to get it to a taxidermist, you will probably need to freeze the bird.

Also, do not field dress the bird. Most taxidermists would much rather field dress and skin the bird themselves.

Storing and Shipping

If you do not have a taxidermist picked out or you have to store the bird for a long period of time you will have to freeze the bird. Just make sure the bird has plenty of room and do not pile other items onto the bird. If you need to ship the bird to a taxidermist, contact them and ask about the best way to do this. They will be up to date on any airline regulations and can give you the best methods for safely shipping your bird.

In conclusion, try and choose a bird in great condition to be mounted and find a good, quality taxidermist. It’s worth paying a little more up front to have a long-lasting, beautiful memory of a trophy hunt.

Field Dressing Your Wild Turkey

Field dressing is essentially gutting the bird in the field while leaving the feathers on. Removing the guts or entrails is important to help allow the bird to cool faster and to keep the “juices” inside the bird from spoiling any meat. If it is a cool day and you aren’t far from home, you can skip the field dressing step and wait until you are home before cleaning the bird.

Here are the steps for gutting or field dressing a wild turkey:

  1. Lay the turkey on its back.
  2. Follow the breast down to the rear of the bird until it narrows to a point between the legs.
  3. Pull up on the tip and cut the bird open by making a shallow horizontal incision (through the skin only) between the tip of the breast and the vent (anus). It helps to pull out a few of the feathers in this spot so you can cut more easily.
  4. Make the incision large enough to insert your hand and pull out the entrails, making sure to pull out the heart and lungs.
  5. Cut around the vent (anus) by carefully following the intestine back and then cutting around its exterior. This is where you need to be careful since you don’t want any of the intestine’s contents getting on the turkey.
  6. Remove the crop (sac-like thing filled with what the turkey’s been eating) by making a cut on the neck of the turkey and reaching down and removing the crop located at the top of the breast.
  7. Rinse out with water and wipe with paper towels if you have these available.

Plucking Your Wild Turkey

The traditional way to clean a wild turkey is to pluck the feathers off and then gut the bird. This will keep the skin on the turkey which will give it more moisture and flavor after you cook it. You can also save the “giblets” (heart, liver, gizzard) from the bird and make a traditional turkey gravy later when you cook it.

It is preferable to pluck the turkey before removing the entrails. This keeps feathers from getting inside the bird cavity and in general keeps things cleaner. If you’ve already field-dressed the bird, don’t worry about it but be sure and rinse out the cavity good to remove any feathers when you are done plucking.

Turkeys have over 5,000 feathers on them and it is easier to remove them if the bird is dipped in hot water. Some people use boiling water but many people swear that water at 140 degrees is the optimal temperature for plucking a bird. Once a bird has been dipped in hot water, the feathers will come off much easier and they also are easier to handle since they are damp and they won’t fly around the room. A large washtub is best for dipping the bird but you may have to improvise if one’s not available. The large primary wing feathers can also be a problem and it’s easier to just remove the wing at the first joint past the shoulder so those very large primary feathers don’t have to be pulled out.

If you have left the legs on to help you dip the bird, you now need to cut them off. Then it is time to go ahead and remove the entrails by gutting the bird. This process is basically the same as Field Dressing with the exception of needing to remove the head with a large knife, cleaver or hatchet. Some people also like to use the neck to toss in the stock pot. That is your choice. You can also save the turkey giblets (heart, liver, gizzard) and use them to make a traditional turkey gravy. The gizzard is what allows the bird to grind up its food. Be sure and cut the gizzard open and to thoroughly clean it.

You should now have a cleaned bird that is ready to be cooked or frozen.

Skinning and Fileting Your Wild Turkey

Another option to the plucking and gutting method is to skin and then filet the bird’s breast meat off and remove the legs and thighs. This method is quick and easy and allows you to remove the meat from the bird without even opening up the body cavity. If you plan on roasting, smoking or whole deep frying your turkey, you might stick with plucking and gutting the bird since this method does not save the skin. I generally cook my turkey by frying or grilling pieces of turkey; using methods that make up for not having the skin on.

Generally, the areas I hunt are only about a half hour or less from my home so I never worry about field dressing the turkey. I just take it home and clean it immediately. I also hunt in Kansas and the weather is typically very cool during most of the spring and fall turkey seasons. On one hunt during the spring, the weather changed from sunny, to rain. to hail, to sleet and finally snow. If it is warm where you are hunting and it takes you awhile to get to a place to finish dressing the turkey, by all means field dress it first.

  1. If you are saving the tail fan or cape from the turkey, remove them first. I also always remove the beard before starting to clean the bird. If you are not saving the bird’s cape or tail you can leave them on and start by laying the turkey on it’s back.
  2. To begin removing the breast filets, pluck some feathers from the middle of the breast and make a small cut through the skin. Then work your fingers underneath the skin and pull the skin back from the breast down to the sides of the turkey.
  3. Find the breast bone and start by cutting down one side of the breast bone to loosen the breast filet from the bone. This cut will run from the lower tip of the breast all of the way along the breast bone and eventually up along the wishbone and to the shoulder / wing joint..
  4. Start at the bottom tip of the breast and work your way from the rear of the breast forward, fileting off the breast by pulling the filet and using the knife to help separate the breast where needed. Be careful of the crop when you get to the top of the breast. (The crop is the balloon-like sac up between the two halves of the breast by the neck). It is full of some nasty stuff and you don’t want to puncture it.
  5. Repeat this for the other side of the breast.
  6. Remove the thigh/leg by flipping the turkey over on it’s breastbone and skinning the thigh and leg.
  7. After they are skinned, cut through the thigh muscle where it attaches to the back. To help this process, grab the leg/thigh and bend them up towards the backbone until the joint pops loose. Keep working and cutting through the thigh until you can free the thigh/leg from the turkey’s body. Repeat for the other side. I usually then cut through the leg joint and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Wild turkey drumsticks are notoriously tough when you cook them. They also have tons of tiny, tough, bone-like tendons running through them. The only way I’ve found to make them edible is to cook them for a long time in a crockpot and sometimes on an old gobbler this doesn’t even work.

I hope these methods will help you enjoy your turkey.

Linked from: http://www.survival-spot.com/survival-blog/preparing-a-wild-turkey/

How To Survive Eating Wild Winter Edibles

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Recently, we’ve been asked a question about what types of foods are good sources of carbohydrates in the winter.

The reader was specifically worried about his son, who is going on a military survival retreat in Maine and can’t afford to lose the 20 pounds that the program has warned him that he will likely lose. His question was about sources of carbohydrates.

My son will be sent to Maine in the winter for a 3 week military survival course. Others who have experienced this say that the participants will lose an average of 20 pounds during that time. He can ill afford to lose 20 pounds, so I was wondering if you knew a good source for carbs that can be found in abundance in the winter? I think he is fairly good at locating small game for protein. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Best regards,

Everett

Though there are many great wild sources of carbohydrates to eat in Maine, I’ve had a problem finding exact nutritional values of wild plants. Go figure. Since the main goal is preventing weight loss, we’re looking for plants that can be found in a great enough quantity to thrive, versus simply survive.

Therefore, we need plants that are both high in calories and found in enough quantity to make a substantial meal. The first part was easy, the second part, not so much. So, I’ll share what I’ve found.

Cattails

It turns out that these plants are considered a pest by many because they grow so prolifically in marshy areas and around ponds.

Fortunately for somebody foraging, cattails are a great source of carbohydrates and nutrients year-round. In the winter time, the best parts of the plant to eat are the rhizomes, or roots, and the corms, the little shoots that are the beginnings of next year’s plants.

You probably won’t be able to just rip the cattail out of the mud; you’re likely going to have to dig for it a bit. Just run your hand down the stalk of the cattail and into the mud. Feel for the roots, then follow them down a bit and PULL!

Don’t stop with just one plant; grab several at a time because they’re not that heavy and you can carry them or store them in camp. No need to get wet more than once if you don’t have to.

Now, you’re going to notice little shoots around the base of the plant, which are older corms and are the beginnings of next year’s plant.

You’ll also find little pod-like pieces on the rhizomes and around the bottom of the stalks. These are less mature corms and are also edible. You can eat both types of corms raw. Just peel off the outer fibrous part and eat the delicate interior.

The rhizomes are going to look sort of hairy. Wash them as well as you can, then peel them just like you would a potato. Your goal is to extract the starch from the rhizome and there are a couple of ways to do this.

You can break up the rhizome and then put it in a small bowl of water and squeeze the rhizome pieces in the water until the starch is remove. The water turns a milky white. Let the water settle for a couple of hours and the heavy, starchy flour will settle to the bottom. Pour off the water and spread the flour out to dry.

The second way is to use your knife to squeeze the starch out onto a rock. Just lay the rhizome flat and slide your knife down the rhizome, sort of like you’re squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The starchy paste will collect on the rock.

Either way, you can let the paste dry and smash it with a mortar and pestle into a flour, or you can toss it in the pan and toast it as-is, toss it into a soup along with the corms, or you can eat it raw.

Of course, you can always make a bread with it by mixing it with other ingredients, but in a survival situation, you’re probably not going to have access to yeast and all that good stuff.

rose-hips

Rose Hips

These pretty berry-like plants not only add a pop of color to the winter landscape, they’re also a good source of nutrition and can be found in enough quantity to be worth the effort. Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant and are usually red or orange but can also be dark-colored. Just open them up, pop out the seed, and eat the flesh.

One cup of rosehips has 206 calories, 49g of carbs, and 31g of fiber. It also provides 110% of your RDV of vitamin A, 901% of your RDV of vitamin C, and more than 20% of your RDV of calcium and magnesium. Eat more rose hips!

Pine

They’re not just for Christmas anymore! Pine trees provide a couple of different sources of food. If you’ve ever eaten pesto, you’ve eaten pine nuts, which are found in pinecones. There is some work involved for the amount of food that you get, but there’s also a tremendous amount of calories and nutrition in them.

Just one cup of pine nuts has 909 calories, 92 grams of fat, 23% of your RDV of potassium and 84% of your RDA of magnesium. They’re also a good source of fiber, so that you have a slower digestion process. You’ll feel full longer.

All pine trees have edible nuts tucked into the pine cones, but only about 20 species produce seeds that are large enough to warrant the effort. Still, in a survival situation, something is better than nothing. Fortunately, there are often many different types of pine trees in the same area, so if you don’t get decent-sized nuts from one, try another.

Wild Berries and Fruits

Even if there’s snow, it’s still possible to dig through the snow to get to fruits, and if you’re lucky, you may even find some grapes or berries, especially cranberries in Maine, above the snow.

One of the advantages of having thumbs is that you can dig through the snow a bit if you find a bush to see if there are berries buried. Apples are another great resource that you can find under the snow.

Yes, they’ll be frozen, but they’re delicious, nutritious, and packed with carbs. They also drop late, so it’s probable that they were frozen before they rotted. Other fruits to keep an eye out for include peaches and pears.

Grass and Grains

Believe it or not, most (99%) of all grasses in the US are edible. They’re often tough for your body to digest, but they’re better than nothing. This includes wheat, oats, and wild meadow varieties. The best part to eat in the winter is the starchy base and the seed heads.

1% of the seeds are toxic and need to be cooked before being eaten, and if seeds are blackish or purple, avoid them because that’s a sign of poisonous fungus. Eat them if they’re green or brown.

I often consult a man very close to me when I have questions such as these, because he’s actually been there, done that as part of his army survivalist training. He made it all the way through the training and has described in great detail (and to my dismay) exactly what a bug feels like when you eat it. He says the trick is this – crunch (chew), crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow!

Aside from his advice about how to eat a bug with minimal “biting back”, he also says that the most crucial step to survival is knowing the plants, animals, and insects of your area. Know what’s edible and what’s not, and most importantly,know what will kill you if you eat it.

If you have a problem with being too thin, it’s important to realize that your body uses more than just carbohydrates for energy – it can also use protein and fat. The bottom line is that your weight isn’t dependent upon eating carbs. It’s a matter of calories in versus calories out. It doesn’t matter if those calories are in the form of carbs, fat, or protein.

There will likely be some energy dips while you’re transitioning from carbs to protein, so if you’re planning to use protein as your main source of energy during a retreat, you may want to do that before you leave. In real life, of course, you won’t have that luxury, but until then, do what you can to survive the survival training.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/how-to-survive-eating-wild-winter-edibles/#

The Only 4 Things You Need to Survive in the Wild

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If you want to know how to survive in the woods or wilderness, then the first thing you need to know is this: always be prepared. You don’t want to be caught without supplies. Never go for even a “short walk” in the woods without bringing a fire starter, knife, water, and rain jacket. Even if you don’t plan on going into the wilderness, you still need to be prepared with survival gear. Keep a car emergency kit in your vehicle in case you break down on remote road. Keep a bug out bag packed in case you need to flee.

But you can’t always be prepared for everything. Take the case of Autumn Veatch, the teenager who survived a plane crash and then days in the wilderness – despite having no supplies and being injured.

It isn’t just plane crashes which could leave you stranded in the wilderness with nothing. You could go for a hike, fall into a river, and have all of your gear wash away. Or you might get abducted by a nutcase and have to escape your abductor through the woods (yes, this has happened many times).   The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for anything by knowing how to survive in the wilderness.

You Only Need 4 Things to Survive in the Wild

Unless you are injured or sick, there are just 4 things that you need in order to survive in the wild. Yes, only 4!

  1. Water
  2. Shelter
  3. Food
  4. Warmth

Hopefully you will have survival supplies to help you get these 4 things  – like having emergency food and water rations, a tent for shelter, and matches so you can make a fire to stay warm. But, if not, don’t despair. You’ve got a lot more resources around you than you realize! If you are ever lost in the wild with nothing, just follow these steps.

1. Find Water

The first thing you need to survive in the wild is water. You can only go 3 days without water before dying, but you’ll be extremely dehydrated long before those 3 days are up. Hopefully you can find a stream or creek to drink out of. If you can’t find a ready supply of water, then you can use these tactics to get water:

  • Collect Dew: Take your shirt off and press it onto the ground to collect dew. You can then wring the dew into your mouth or into your water bottle.
  • Drag a Piece of Cloth Behind You: There is a lot of water in the woods on plants. Drag a piece of cloth behind you (or wrap it around your legs and walk through thick brush). The cloth will collect the moisture and you can wring it out into your mouth.
  • Follow Ants: If you see a train of ants going up a tree, it is probably because there is a cache of water in a groove in the tree.
  • Travel Parallel to a Mountainside: If on a mountain, cross it by staying parallel. Mountains usually have streams going down them so you are likely to come across one eventually.
  • Dig for Water: If you dig, do so at places like dried-up streams and areas with a lot of lush foliage.

And remember that water from lakes, streams, and rivers should always be purified before you drink it, even if it looks clean!

2. Make a Shelter

You will need a shelter to protect you from the elements. A shelter can also help protect you from some wild animals as they are more likely to attack you if you are in the open. Making a survival shelter in the woods is actually fairly easy. Remember to have your shelter made before it gets dark!

My favorite shelter for how to survive in the woods is the “fallen debris shelter.” You just need to find a fallen tree. Then pile some large branches against it to act as a shelter wall. Then you fill in the gaps with smaller branches. There are many other ways to make shelters in the wilderness though.

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3. Stay Warm

Temperatures can drop really quickly in the woods, so you better prioritize warmth. Staying warm is actually just as important as food for survival. And, if you are cold, then your body is going to require more food.

A well-built survival shelter will help you stay warm by trapping in your body heat. But you do other things to improve your warmth.

One of my favorite stories about how to survive in the woods is that of Susan O’Brien. She survived a night in the woods by burying herself in dirt to stay warm. Dirt is a great insulator for when you don’t have a blanket. You could also use fallen leaves, pine needles, or other debris.

Another way to stay warm is to make a fire. But, if you are lost in the woods without matches or a lighter, then this is going to be problematic. Unless you are some sort of wilderness MacGyver, don’t even bother trying to rub two sticks together. You’ll just end up with 2 warm sticks. Save your energy and snuggle up in your debris bed instead. Or, if you absolutely must make fire, then try these methods of making fire without matches.

4. Find Food

There is actually lots of food in the wild – so long as you know where and how to look for it. In survival situations, these would be your primary options for food:

  • Wild animals
  • Wild plants
  • Insects and bugs

Sorry to break it to you, but catching a wild animal for food is a lot harder than it seems. Even if you have gear, it is really difficult! The one exception to this is if you are stranded near some sort of lake. Then you should try one of these methods for fishing in the wilderness.

The better option for wilderness survival food is to eat bugs. Yes, I know this probably seems gross to you, but most bugs are edible and actually very nutritious.

As for eating wild plants, never eat a plant unless you are 100% sure it is edible. If you eat an inedible plant, you could end up with diarrhea, and that will kill you a lot faster than hunger! In desperate situations, you can use the  to tell if a plant is safe to eat.

Check out our products that may help you with survival.

How To Get Water From A Tree – Survival

 

1- Burdock

If you’ve ever been out in the woods and gathered the little burrs on your socks that annoy the crap out of you, you’ve encountered burdock. Those burrs are the seeds of the burdock plant, and are actually the inspiration behind the invention of velcro! While you wouldn’t want to eat the burrs, the root of the plant is quite edible. Soak the roots in water for 5-10 minutes to remove any muddy, pungent taste, and then boil them for 5-10 minutes (in clean water). They have a mild, sweet flavor. Dried burdock root is also considered a diuretic (increases urine production), diaphoretic (increases sweat production), and a blood purifying agent, and has been used as a holistic detoxifying agent for those reasons.

burdock

2- Chickweed

Also called “chickenwort” or “winterweed,” chickweed is a cool season plant found throughout most parts of North America and Europe. It can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked like spinach. You can eat the leaves, flowers and stems, though you should probably cook the fuzzy stems. Chickweed also contains a chemical compound called saponin, and can be toxic if eaten in large quantities, so eat it sparingly. It has been said that the plant has been used to relieve rheumatic, arthritic and period pains, and a poultice made from chickweed can be used to help heal cuts, burns, bruises and even mange.
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3- Elderberries

Elderberry plants are members of the honeysuckle family and can grow up to 13 feet tall. Their berries and flowers grow together in clusters. The blue and purple colored berries are edible, but the red berries will make you sick. The white flower petals can also be eaten raw or steeped into a fragrant tea. You can also take the entire flower cluster, dip it in a tempura-style batter, and fry the whole thing. The berries and flowers are also used in herbal cold medicines.

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4- Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are quarter-sized green offshoots of the fern plant. They can be found in the wild primarily in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes region of North America. Left alone, they will unfurl as a new shoot from the plant. A word of caution – fiddleheads contain a mild toxin that will cause a severe upset stomach. However, cooking the plant will kill the toxin and make it safe to eat. Boil for 5 minutes or steam for 10, then sautee. Fiddleheads taste like a cross between asparagus and fresh green beans.
fiddleheads

5- Lavender

While it can be found in many planted landscapes, lavender can also be found in the wild. It has a sweet, perfumy flavor with a slight notes of citrus and can be eaten raw or steeped into a fragrant tea. Lavender is often used in cookies, jelly, wine, sauces, and custards. The blossoms are also a sweet addition to champagne. Lavender has also been used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, depression and a variety of digestive issues.

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6- Miner’s Lettuce

Miner’s lettuce got its name from the Gold Rush miners who (after learning the trick from the local Indians) used to eat the wild plant to stave off scurvy. Reminiscent of spinach, the plant is chock full of vitamins, deliciously crunchy, mild-tasting, and remains tender even when in flower. Although pictures usually show miner’s lettuce with a round leaf with a flower stalk in the center, early in the season the leaves are more likely to be spade-shaped. Eat the leaves raw. It’s so delicious, there’s no reason to do it any other way.

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7- Palm Hearts

Also called “swamp cabbage,” palm hearts are harvested from the inner cores of palm trees. Palm hearts are rich in protein, iron and fiber. They can be eaten chilled in salad, braised,deep-fried, stir-fried, sauteed or boiled. Pale in color, palm hearts have a tender, delicate flavor, similar to a mild artichoke or coconut. Many upscale restaurants around the world serve hearts of palm fresh, crispy and crunchy in mixed salads and also prepared with seafood. To get to the edible palm hearts, simply peel away the outer layers. I say “simply”, but to be quite honest, I’m sure it’s not very easy to do.
palm-hearts

8- Pecans

Most people, especially in the Southern US, know all about pecans. If you’ve ever seen a pecan, even on top of a pie, you’d easily recognize one again. Harvesting pecans that have fallen to the ground is pains-taking, back breaking work, but is so worth it in the end (trust me – I’m speaking from lots of experience). Once found and broken free of their hard outer shell, pecans can be eaten raw. If they have a slight bitter taste, they probably don’t have all of the inner shell removed, but it’s nothing to worry about. You can also roast pecans over a fire to enhance their flavor and bring out some of the natural oils of the nut.
pecans

9- Stinging Nettles

Nettles usually appear in the same places year after year. They are covered with tiny, nearly invisible stinging hairs that produce an intense, stinging pain, followed by redness and continued skin irritation. However, if you find them and can harvest them without getting “stung”, these plants are edible. Once cooked, they lose their sting as the hairs are cooked off of them. They can be steamed, boiled or sauteed. They are full of vitamins and minerals, and are actually a decent source of protein, too! They have a very mild woodsy flavor.

nettles

10- Wild Ginger

Wild ginger grows in colonies on forest floors underneath trees. The leaves grow in pairs, and are heart-shaped and have the appearance of ivy. During the early spring, you may find flowers growing from the crotch of the leaf pairs. These flowers are very unique and have no actual petals, but are burgandy in appearance. The roots of the plant can be eaten as a ginger substitute and the leaves can be steeped into a tea. HOWEVER- eat wild ginger in strict moderation. Do NOT eat it by the handfuls as there is a slight toxic quality when eaten in large quantities. Think of it more as a seasoning for your wild edible salad instead of a main ingredient.

wild-ginger

WARNING: Identification and use of wild plants requires particular care and attention. Never eat any plant unless you are absolutely sure that it is edible! It is a good idea to cross-reference your knowledge with a book written by an expert. The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The author assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any adverse effects encountered by the individual. Please harvest wild edibles at your own risk! As with any foraged food, make sure the plant has not been sprayed with any chemicals and is not growing anywhere that toxic waste is dumped. Try to avoid plants grown too close to the roadways as they tend to contain too much dust and automotive exhaust.

Linked from: http://survivalathome.com/10-more-wild-plants-you-can-eat/

6 Wild Plants You Can Eat

It’s spring, and if you’re looking to supplement your diet with something other than factory processed, chemically treated, GMO, now it is time.  You can do this even if you live in urban  areas you can and should be able to find a few common herbs and plants in your environment.

My dad would tell me to, “Go out and dig up some weeds to eat.”  I think he just want me to cut the lawn and pull some weeds, but there is some truth to his words. 

It’s spring, and if you’re looking to supplement your diet with something other than factory processed, chemically treated, GMO, now it is time.  You can do this even if you live in urban  areas you can and should be able to find a few common herbs and plants in your environment.

My dad would tell me to, “Go out and dig up some weeds to eat.”  I think he just want me to cut the lawn and pull some weeds, but there is some truth to his words.

Many wild plants around you are edible and some medicinal. This can be a fun family project to go out into your local world and discover how it feels to become an urban gathering survivor and learn skills to identify edible and medicinal plants.

THE DISCLAIMER: Many plants are toxic, or have toxic parts, or are alternately edible and toxic at various stages of maturity. Also, some people are sensitive to foods that others can consume safely. You need to know what you’re doing when you go out foraging and eating unfamiliar plants. If you have kidney disorders, stay clear. For more detailed information download our free book: Edible Wild Plants, or Wild Mushrooms

Six Common Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants

1:  Dandelion

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The hated dandelion is nutritionally quite dense. It has four times as much calcium, 1.5 times as much vitamin A, and 7.5 times as much vitamin K as broccoli. It has more iron and riboflavin than spinach, and provides vitamin E.  Dandelion greens nutrition facts. It is also diuretic. The tender young leaves are tasty in a salad, and the young blossoms are a real treat when stir fried in butter with a little garlic, salt, and pepper. Show it some love and let it grow, at least in the back yard.

2:  Poke Sallet

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The plant is toxic and must be double or even triple blanched to rinse out the toxins (along with all other nutrients). That’s the official view, anyway; I can’t stand to go to all that work and then just throw out all the food value, so I pick the leaves very young, while the leaf stem is still green and not red, and steam it just like spinach before stir-frying in bacon grease. I eat a spinach-sized serving along with other foods. It has never made me sick, but of course you should experiment very carefully and put safety first, and remember that children are more vulnerable. According to the poke sallet wiki, the lethal dose in mice appears to be about 300 g per kg of body weight. That’s the equivalent of a 175 lb. human eating more than 50 lbs. of the stuff.  Now, if you eat enough it will “clean you out,” if you know what I mean, but sometimes that’s a good thing, right? Just make sure you’re not traveling after your meal.  Don’t eat the roots, no matter how prepared — they can’t be made safe.

3: Lambsquarters

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I love this one. One of my earliest foraging experiences was harvesting lambsquarters with my dad. It grew in dense patches around the farmyard. He prepared them like spinach, and like spinach, it does have a mildly unpleasant “sticky” feel on the teeth. But hey, nothing’s perfect. It tastes better and is a lot less work than cultivating garden greens. It’s also more calorie and protein dense than many of them. Here’s a lambsquarters nutritional comparison with spinach.

4. Dock

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This one is edible, but not all that tasty, with one exception; the stalks are good added to a salad. It’s similar to rhubarb. The roots have a cathartic effect (also called a “stimulant laxative,” in that it accelerates bowel activity; a “laxative” works by softening the stool). The stewed leaves have a laxative effect, but they don’t taste all that good; they’re better used as an herb to flavor gamy meat like grass-fed beef or a tough buck.

5: Wood Sorrel (Sourgrass)

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Wood sorrel is very distinctive and easy to find. It is rich in vitamin C and adds a wonderful tartness to raw dishes like salads, salsas and slaws. My kids pick it and munch on it while doing yard work, and I add it to diced avocado with lemon juice, salt, and onion. It contains oxalic acid, and is officially toxic in excess, or if you have bad kidneys. I think you have to eat a shipload to make you sick, but I’m not sure. You’ve been warned.

It also has medicinal value as a diuretic, antiemetic, appetite stimulant, and relief for indigestion. Further reading about wood sorrel.

6: Thistle

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I used to eat it canned in Europe, but as an adult I learned how tasty it is when fresh. Except for the seeds, every part of the thistle plant provides an edible item. The roots are good if you dig them up when they’re not as fibrous. That’s during the winter when there’s no plant top, which makes them hard to find. The peeled leaf midribs are tricky to get to, but they’re excellent. So are the peeled stalks, picked young, before they get stringy. The ribs and stalks are excellent prepared in a casserole, as you would do for cauliflower. I’ve also baked it like scalloped potatoes. When chopped into two inch pieces and stir fried, they’re superb. Even the flower bud has an edible heart similar to artichoke, but it’s tiny and hardly worth the trouble. Still, it’s good to know.

Source of Plant Pictures and Descriptions: http://www.survivalnewsonline.com/index.php/2015/04/7-wild-edibles-around-your-house/

Have Fun Foraging and Be Safe.  Learn new skills and Plan, Prepare, Protect.