View topic - Northern Edible Plant Guides – Recommendations?

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2010, 3:36 pm 
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Hi folks,

I am looking for reference guides (book or websites), for wild edible plants of boreal forest and taiga/tundra ecosystems. There is a bewildering array of books out there. I think most are written for areas south of where I travel, or tend to cover large regions like all of North America, but I would like to focus on the north.

I am interested in more survival type eating while on a canoe trip or hiking, travelling fast and light, e.g. pick and eat, or boil or roast only once, and not the heavy duty preparation type foods for base camping or for making home preserves. I know there is a wide continuum of preparation methods and durations.

I found this title that appears promising: Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada, (MacKinnon, Karst and Kershaw), although it will cover many areas I will not be travelling: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Edible-and-Medicinal-Plants-Canada-MacKinnon-Karst-Kershaw/9781551055725-item.html?ref=Search+Books%3a+%2527Edible+and+Medicinal+Plants+of+Canada%2527
published by Lone Pine Publishing. Lone Pine is known for its superb titles and field guides. Nice cover image too. Anyone have this reference?

Does anyone have a personal list, tried, tested and true, of the best common edible species for canoe tripping and hiking in the north? I have short lists of my own, but need to expand them.

I am familiar with some of the old stand by’s like the common cat tail species, which are always high on people’s lists for the north. But I have sometimes seen conflicting or confusing descriptions of how to prepare the various parts of this plant, so I am open to yet more descriptions of cat tail preparation, dandelion, etc. More info is better! :D

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2010, 6:06 pm 
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Hoop please post if you find anything, I've been looking for the same thing.

I did see a nice small guide but it was for the NW USA (and Southern BC), looked very good except that I'm pretty sure that few of the plants included grow in the area we are looking for.

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2010, 7:48 pm 
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One of Ray Mears books lists a few things such as Lichen, Iceland moss. old mans beard, rock tripe and raindeer moss he also mentions how it should be prepard before eaten.

Here's a link that if nothing else is an interesting read, scroll down to the edible plants, as well the "Peterson" field guide, "Edible Wild Plants" is well illustrated although it does mention it covers Eastern and Central North America.

http://www.arcticwebsite.com/USAAFsurvival.html

Hope thats a start,

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2010, 8:24 pm 
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Hello HOOP_

Below is a link to a great website. Lots of valuable info there.

http://www.bushcraft.survivalbill.ca/


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2010, 8:26 pm 
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"Harvesting the Northern Wild" by MArilyn Walker.
http://www.yukonbooks.com/shop/customer ... ctid=14577
It's got the right focus, but I suspect it's a bit limited - maybe not much is nourishing up there unless it has legs, fins or wings....

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2010, 12:32 am 
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Hello Hoop,

We have found the newest portion of the spruce branch to be a nice addition to our diet in the early summer, before berry season. We call them spruce buds. a fresh green garden taste.
I've seen them for sale in specialty shops, pickled in vodka.

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2010, 6:38 am 
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A book that seems to have a northern leaning is The Edible Wild by Berndt Berglund. It's far from complete and offers recipes that could be served in restaurants, but there are also some camp recs. The canoe on the cover sold it.

Image

http://www.amazon.com/Edible-Wild-Compl ... 0684127598

For real survival, thr inner bark of trees can be eaten... birch, willow and alder are northern possibilities. Reindeer moss and other lichens can be boiled for carbohydrates, and in streams there are often crayfish hiding beneath rocks that can be collected for protein.

There are military guides on northern survival available somewhere out there, I've never seen them.

I mostly go for the taste, mushrooms, fiddleheads, teas, berries. If it were for starvation I'd probably try stay alive by eating tree bark... Les Stroud never tried this, maybe that's too extreme even for him.

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2010, 11:23 pm 
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Hmmm....frozen.....this is an area that looks to be exploited....mayhaps a new book can be in the works? I have had the same problem when researching...the books available are far to broad based

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PostPosted: May 17th, 2010, 7:36 am 
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Hey, CC... I bought Berglund's book because it was published in Toronto and there were references to northern Ontario in it. He used to have a booth at the Sportsman's Show at the CNE but I don't remember that far back.

Even though the cover says that it is "a complete cookbook and guide to edible wild plants in Canada", it is not. Tree bark is left out along with others. Having to scrape off inner poplar bark day after day to keep starvation off is probably a different situation than Berglund's book was written for.

Another thing I'd probably feed on is crayfish... in some lakes and streams, there are piles of them waiting under rocks. I was kinda surprised that Les Stroud never tried crunching them down.

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PostPosted: May 17th, 2010, 8:34 am 
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Nancy J. Turner is the source of record for ethnobotany in much of N. America (and particularly West Coast). She's been around for a long time, and I imagine the work of her students is quite good too (perhaps looking more specifically at arctic). Here is a list of some of her books:

    - Wild Green Vegetables of Canada (Edible Wild Plants of Canada)
    - Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples (Royal BC Museum Handbook)
    - Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms: How to Identify More than 300 Toxic Plants and Mushrooms Found in Homes, Gardens, and Open Spaces
    - Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America
    - Plants of Haida Gwaii: Xaadaa Gwaay gud gina k'Aws (Skidegate), Xaadaa Gwaayee guu ginnkaw's (Massett)
    - Food Plants of British Columbia Indians: Interior peoples
    - Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia
    - Edible Garden Weeds of Canada (Canada's Edible Wild Plants)
    - Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada (Canada's Edible Wild Plants Series No. 3)
    - Wild coffee and tea substitutes of Canada (Edible wild plants of Canada)
    - Ethnobotany of the Okanagan-Colville Indians of British Columbia and Washington
    - Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany and Use

I know these aren't for the arctic, per se, but many of these plants are the same (or exist at higher altitudes), and just have different growing seasons. Perhaps you could pair it with some of these for the North

    - Upper Tanana Ethnobotany (Priscilla Russell Kari). Yes, this is the book that Christopher McCandless ("Into the Wild") brought with him to Alaska.
    - A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic (E. C. Pielou). Includes a chapter: "A Field Guide to Arctic Plants."
    - Nan t'aih nakwits'inahtsìh (The land gives us strength) : the medicine plants used by Gwich'in people of Canada's western arctic to maintain good health and well being (Alestine Mary Terise Andre).
    - Ethnobotany of the Eskimos of Nelson Island, Alaska (Ager, Thomas A.; Wallen, Lynn Ager).
    - Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada's northwest boreal forest (Robin James Marles).
    - Gwich'in ethnobotany: plants used by the Gwich'in for food, medicine, shelter and tools (Andre, Alestine; Fehr, Alan).
    - Use of plants for food and medicine by native peoples of eastern Canada (Arnason, Thor.; Hebda, Richard Joseph,; Johns, Timothy).
    - Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska, and Northwestern Canada (John Trelawny)
    - Harvesting the Northern Wild: a guide to traditional and contemporary uses of edible forest plants of the Northwest Territories (Marilyn Walker).
    - Edible roots and berries of Northern Canada (A. E. Porsild).
    - Barrenland beauties: showy plants of the Arctic coast (Burt Page).
    - Mushrooms of the boreal forest (Eugene F. Bossenmaier).
    - Alaska's Wilderness Medicines: Healthful Plants of the Far North (Viereck, Eleanor).
    - Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories
(Willard, Terry).
    - Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland: Including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Western Ontario, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska (Johnson, Derek & Kershaw, Linda J. & Pojar, Jim).
    - I am sure many more.


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PostPosted: May 17th, 2010, 10:11 pm 
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Hmmmm....Crayfish are so tasty....another food source many people ignore is minnows.........carry a few of the tiniest hooks you can find ......a pinch of worm or grasshopper or bumblebee will set off a feeding frenzy......and twenty ot thirty 3 to 6 inch fish roasted make a good meal! Like wise creek chub, fall fish...etc

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2010, 7:46 pm 
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I have a few pdf ebooks. I put them on my PDA, instead of carrying bulky books with me.

They are mostly about the boreal forest, none for the tundra per se.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2010, 9:23 pm 
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Now you guys are cooking! 8)

I have always been interested in this topic but never from an arctic perspective. Steve (sp?) from Ohio with his own garden center bar rowed me a book by Euell Gibbons for edible plants.

Does Steve post anymore?

Barry

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PostPosted: May 26th, 2010, 7:49 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
Another thing I'd probably feed on is crayfish... in some lakes and streams, there are piles of them waiting under rocks. I was kinda surprised that Les Stroud never tried crunching them down.

Cook 'em if you can:

Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish


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PostPosted: May 26th, 2010, 7:59 am 
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Clams are edible, but just barely! :roll:

'course you know about boiling tips of spruce and juniper(tastes like gin, which is made from the berries)

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