What wild foods?

1 to 20 of 33 messages
29/01/2012 at 13:01
Just a question I've never been wild camping, and although I've got no immidiate plans I would like to try at some point both in the uk and else where. And although I have many questions! I'm just wondering about what you can and can't eat on the wild, and what sorts of meats can be kept fresh or safe to eat on extended periods. Is fishing aloud or anything along those line?
29/01/2012 at 13:15

A good book to get is "Food for Free" by Richard Mabey.  Now seems to come in a more sensibly pocket sized Collins Gem edition, clicky...

Fishing depends what for and where.  In the sea you can go for whatever you want, on rivers with permits it's rather different!  I recall a particularly good meal on a paddling trip of coley we cooked on open fires on the beach in Shetland.


29/01/2012 at 13:35

Look What We Found do some really tasty ready meals that are a doddle to prepare (immerse in boiling water for around a minute).  You can get them from Sainsburys, Waitrose and Aldi have started stocking them too. 

I still have one packet from last year; a Cumbrian Lamb Hotpot.  My packets are just plain but the recent ones I've seen have stickers on them (so the water might need chucking away).

It is probably worth taking something like this alon just in case you fail to catch anything wild. 

29/01/2012 at 13:58

Another vote for 'Food for Free', which is an excellent reference for all things wild and edible outdoors. I used to pick buckets of blackberries as a kid, and had no idea there were so many other things that could be picked and eaten. Head for the Arctic, and virtually everything that grows is edible, or at least non-poisonous... but the further south you head, the greater the number of non-edible and poisonous things there are.

I once met a poacher high in the North Pennines who said he would never kill anything that he wasn't prepared to eat. He also told me that fox tasted absolutely disgusting! The old Gypsy recipe for baked hedgehog involves rolling the beast in a ball of clay and baking it in an open fire. Crack it open, and the prickles come away with the clay, leaving the flesh ready to pick at. Never got beyond freshly road-killed pheasants myself!

For some reason, late last year, I had a super-abundance of seafood eaten live, straight from the sea. This included raw fish straight off the hook, octopus chopped into bits while still alive, and molluscs plucked living from their shells, for immediate consumption. The most disgusting items from that epic feat of endurance included jellyfish and a fish stomach!

Frankly... I'd stick with the fruit, nuts and vegetables!

29/01/2012 at 14:10
Be sure you know your plants and fungi really well before you eat. There are several plants and fungi which can kill you stone dead (and very painful in the process) which have edible 'cousins' which are very similar and difficult to tell apart.

I collect a limited repertoire of fungi in season. It took a while to gain the knowledge to do this and I am definitely not an expert.
I personally never eat any of the umbelliferae family of plants there are too many deadly ones and I don't have the skill to sort them out.
Edited: 29/01/2012 at 14:12
29/01/2012 at 14:32
If new to picking fungi... best to do it with someone from Germany, France, Italy... in fact anyone from almost anywhere except Britain! I once came across a sign in the French Alps which 'restricted' non-residents from gathering more than 2 KILOS PER DAY! I don't think I've ever seen 2kg of fungi, let alone pick them all myself! Poor Brits are terrified of anything that isn't pre-packed button mushrooms from the supermarket, but there are loads of tastier treats out there. My first mushroom mentor pointed out that there are several thousand species of fungi in Britain, of which a dozen or so are properly deadly poisonous, and a few others would make you queasy, or just be plain inedible. The trick is to know a handful of edible ones that really can't be mistaken for anything else, and leave everything else well alone.
29/01/2012 at 14:38
Yes Paddy, that is about where I am at (-the few reliable edible species).

One other warning. You can eat too many mushrooms. I am now sensitive to Horse mushrooms and am sick if I eat them. At first I thought I'd mis-identified a batch of fungi, but no I've just had too many, too often and my system has decided it won't stomach them anymore.
29/01/2012 at 15:38

PS for most people the "wild" bit in wild camping refers to the fact that you are not using a camp site, and it usually involves "wild toileting" (there are useful books and leaflets about this). For food we just eat what we bring. Which last time was wine, Irn bru (not for Pete or me ), crisps, instant couscous with sausages, sticky toffee pudding, instant custard, pancakes, etc....


29/01/2012 at 15:52
Well... in that case... most processed foods will last forever, regardless of sell-by and use-by dates on packs. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them were actually digestion-proof too!
29/01/2012 at 16:09
Oh boy I'm a little worried about the hunting bit, dunno if this sounds soppy, but never liked the idea of killing things like rabbits for example, cause I worry if that rabbit would have a dependent child or so, an if killing one would potentially kill another inadvertently. hopefully I'm not sounding too stupid here, as I assume it needs to be done for those extented trips.
There's nothing here in this country that would try to hunt you in the wild I assume but in the continent like France, Germany an beyond I assume they would?
29/01/2012 at 17:49
But if you only killed one rabbit and it did have a child, the child could  be looked after by the other parent. Like in a single parent family.
29/01/2012 at 19:29

Jeez! Worried about rabbits?!! They are vermin and IIRC it is actually the landowner's responsibility to keep numbers down. Trust me if you have permission of landowner you can take as many as you want. There is a reason for the "breed like rabbits" phrase. The small, newly born rabbits you see early spring starting to fend for themselves are the large rabbits breeding in a matter or months or even weeks later. Seriously each rabbit is capable of many litters in a year so you shouldn't worry about taking an adult rabbit. I'm not even sure if young even needs a parent if that parent and the young is out of the warren. They kind of fend for themselves from very early on!!

LLWF foods keep. I have taken them on hot days and not eaten them for a week during which they got hot during the day and never cooled. They are sealed when hot so supposedly keep out of the fridge without making you ill.

You can keep things like salami and pepperoni ok for up to a week. Well I have anyway. Oatcakes are long life and I take primula "cheese". Unopened it keeps for a while even when not refridgerated IME. Once opened I generally eat within about 2 days. Dehydrated and wayfarer type foods keep well too.

Foraging for all your food is next to impossible and I'd say totally impossible if you want to actually backpack. If you read Book of the Bivvy the author actually recommends never carrying more than a couple of days food. The argument being that the extra distance in the UK needed to walk out to a shop for restocking is less than the effort of carryinga lot more weight to not need the re-stocking. Not sure how right that is out of the UK though.

29/01/2012 at 19:53
Sorry not familiar with the lingo yet, but what's LLWF?
Is there any wildlife to be careful about? I.e likely to attack etc?
29/01/2012 at 20:15
Read cody lundin's 98.6 to dispel any romantic notions of being wild.

Lwwf - look what we found avavailable online and in supermarkets. Superior quality food to eat

There is no dangerous wildlife in the uk apart from adders
29/01/2012 at 20:19
and Boars.
29/01/2012 at 20:31

Adders - Only an issue if you like to sleep in places they like to sleep in. They are not likely to attack you but more likely to avoid you. They know you are around before you know they are. however in some areas you can end up waking with adders who hav decided to sleep next to you. Not common but I have heard stories of a herpetologist who often sleeps out on snake surveys only to wake up with some adders next to him. He survives still!! They are not agressive in almost all situations and for a fit, healthy adult unlikely to do that much harm really even IF it bites you. Bear in mind the venom is needed to hunt and I believe not for defence as it is not fast acting. You might get a bite though but I believe it is unlikely to use it's venom. I could be wrong of course as I am half remembering what I've been told by a snake expert in the past.

Boars - IIRC they are in the south east and all the way across to South Wales in parts. Some pockets a bit further north and perhaps midlands. However there might be some boar farm escapees anywhere there are farms I guess. They are 30 plus MPH, 3/4 of a tonne of pure muscle and bone. They are much quicker than you and most likely know you are there before you know they are around. Mothers with young can be dangerous. Also the boars I believe can be bad tempered. However I doubt you'll come into contact in most areas. If you do get attacked, I guess it is tough!!

I have heard that in scotland at certain times of the year capercaille attack walkers. I hope that doesn't  give you nightmares!!!

29/01/2012 at 20:36
The brown bear in britain was extinct by the end of the 6th century. The last wolf was supposedly killed at Killiecrankie in1680.
I came across a troupe of wild boar on the Stevenson trail in the woods south of Cassagnas. They ran away when they saw me; whether boars in britain would be the same as there is not such a tradition of hunting them. I think the Tom Lehrer song about hunting is equally applicable to the French as the Americans.
29/01/2012 at 20:42
and could Ticks be classed as dangerous wildlife
29/01/2012 at 20:44
Dangerous wildlife? Well... so far I haven't been stung by a bee, bitten by an adder, or trampled and gored by wild boar. Dangerous 'tamelife' is another matter, since I have been bitten a couple of times by dogs. I've been in bear country and wolf country without any problems too. To be quite honest, most of the wildlife I've ever seen is running or flying away from me, rather than heading towards me.
29/01/2012 at 20:46
Trolls in scotland are a severe and increasig problem. They're contained by high voltage wires on pylons. They are discombobulated by the noise windmills make.
The current fit of covering the hills with windmills is to contain the trolls.
1 to 20 of 33 messages
Forum Jump