View topic - Northern Edible Plant Guides – Recommendations?

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PostPosted: May 26th, 2010, 10:05 am 
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Krusty,

Quote:
Cook 'em if you can:

Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish


Same thing with raw fish... I've forgotten the names of the parasites, they can result in tapeworms, large cysts forming, etc. The parasitology course was good for turning faces green, people trying to hold down lunch while slides were being shown.

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PostPosted: May 26th, 2010, 12:17 pm 
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There are some good plant lists from Sweden[1], and many of the species are circumpolar. Unfortunately for most of you I don't think any of the books are published in English...

I think that Ray Mears Wild Food book covers at least some plants you can find in Canada.


[1] The Swedish army sponsored a rather extensive research programe in the 70's and 80's, nutritional analyses, etc.

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PostPosted: June 17th, 2010, 1:18 pm 
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How far north? I live in Gillam, at the very northern edge of the boreal in Manitoba, spotted by taiga and tundra (and palsa bogs). You aren't likely to find a lot of the things mentioned up here, no fiddleheads, that's for sure. Even cattails aren't as common as you'd suspect. Depending on the time of year, there's lots of berries, and many ripen at different times of the summer, from early summer strawberries to lowbush cranberries which are ripe pretty much right up to snowfall.

Reindeer moss is a staple, I'll pick it and eat it raw on a hike. Not so good if it's bone dry, but if it's growing and moist it's taste is kind of like a cross between mushrooms and what you would expect moss to taste like. I kinda like it. Lots of Labrador Tea, makes a good tea as well as a good seasoning for any fish/game. I've eaten willow shoots before (hell moose love them, and I love moose), spruce tips as mentioned. I've been told by very experienced mushroom hunters that there are no poisonous mushrooms up here, I know there are lots of morels in the spring. You can find *some* cattails, but don't count on them. Lots of bugs, not sure I'd like to munch down on a handful of blackflies, any that have flown into my mouth have tasted pretty bad.

Personally, I'd have some means of fishing, even a coil of line and a few leadheads, and a rifle, and if I don't have snare wire on me, I know have to make some with willow bark or spruce roots (although a small coil of brass wire is extremely useful for many things). I like my protein and fat while in the bush.

FWIW, I'm a Canadian Ranger, and we do Northern wilderness survival training for the regular forces, usually above the treeline, and in winter, but throughout the year as well. We show them how to make nets, chisel holes in the ice and use logs to set the nets. We show them game processing, snaring, tracking, and yes, finding wild edibles.


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PostPosted: June 19th, 2010, 1:30 am 
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Low1 wrote:
Even cattails aren't as common as you'd suspect. Depending on the time of year, there's lots of berries, and many ripen at different times of the summer, from early summer strawberries to lowbush cranberries which are ripe pretty much right up to snowfall.


How is the sedges and reeds (Scirpus and Phragmites) up there? There is some starch and sugars in their roots (sugar in the Scirpus, so don't boil the roots, throw away the water and eat the rest).

As to berries, remember that at least lingonberries and bilberries will give you an upset stomach well before you have had a full days calories (imagine eating a bucket or two of bilberries...)

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Reindeer moss is a staple, I'll pick it and eat it raw on a hike. Not so good if it's bone dry, but if it's growing and moist it's taste is kind of like a cross between mushrooms and what you would expect moss to taste like. I kinda like it.


I like to prepare my lichens in a bit; clean, make sure it is fairly wet, add some berries (etc) if you have them, wrap in an outer layer of wetish sphagnum moss, lets cook overnight in a pit. The lichens have a bit of a bitter taste, which is gone after the night in the pit.

There is the cambium layer of pine and spruce (even the small ones count...).

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Personally, I'd have some means of fishing, even a coil of line and a few leadheads, and a rifle, and if I don't have snare wire on me, I know have to make some with willow bark or spruce roots (although a small coil of brass wire is extremely useful for many things). I like my protein and fat while in the bush.


Definitely fishing and hunting is the way to go for any long term survival. In real life situations one can go for a couple of weeks without food, so most of us will nevetr have a dire need. The friendly folks in Northern Ireland (i,e, the hunger-striking prisoners) gave mediccal science plenty of data on how long a human can survive without food (a long time, much increased in the ones that ate their vitamains).

One thing I often carry is "gäddsax" , basically a special trap for fish generally used for ice-fishing. Fish grabs the bait, spring-loaded points snap shut over their head. Not sporting, but a few of those can catch fish while you sleep (might work on hares and squirrels as well, but that would not even be remotely legal over here, not that that would matter in a true survival situation).

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 5:35 am 
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Here's another one that might be useful for the far north.

Common Plants of Nunavut
Carolyn Mallory and Susan Aiken, 2004, 200 pages

In the pages of this guide, you will discover the important features of plants, how they reproduce, what types of common plants are found in the Arctic and, in some cases, how plants have played an important role in the traditional life of Inuits.

Text in English and Inuktitut

Review

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/archives/ ... 18_09.html

Available from here:

http://nature.ca/prodserv/cat/index.cfm ... egoryID=56

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PostPosted: October 4th, 2010, 9:51 am 
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There's a new Gwich'in subarctic plant database on-line:

http://plants.gwichin.ca/database

It's based on the book: "Gwich'in Ethnobotany: Plants Used by the Gwich'in for Food, Medicine, Shelter and Tools" (by Andre, Alestine and Alan Fehr).


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