Survival Food - What to eat when food is scarce

Survival Food - What to eat when food is scarce

In many countries, eating bugs, grubs and worms as well as what we term weeds,is part of a normal daily diet.  As the Earth changes start to take a hold and increased crop shortages become the norm, new food sources will be sought after and utilized in daily diets.  For those who have back gardens or go to parks etc, they will notice that dandelions, goosefoot, and mushrooms along with other wild edibles are readily available. 

For instance the whole of the dandelion plant can be eaten, providing a lot of nutrition.  That creeping garden weed, chickweed is a lively peppery addition to salads.  That pervasive variegated plant in the corner of the garden - groutwart - the leaves can be eaten just like spinach.  There are  many surprising plants and insects that provide the nutrition we need when food is scarse.  

There are plenty of plants and insects that provide delicious meals and snacks.  What has been included here is just a sample, showing how to prepare, cook and eat wild edibles and insects.  As always safety comes first and safety tips for collecting wild edibles and insects has been included.  

Cooking (includes safety tips when foraging)

Safety tips on foraging wild plants (an excerpt on foraging from the story written by Nancy Lieder - )



Eating Insects/ general - Zetatalk (check your local area for edible insects)

Water Weeds

Mushrooms/Fungi (check your local area for edible mushrooms)

Birds and Other Small Mammals (catching, skinning and cooking rats)

Snails, Slugs and Worms

Wild Edible Seeds

Zetatalk - Edible Seeds

Sprouting Seeds 

It is recommended to use organic seed produce as most stores sell produce that has been irradiated and the seeds will not sprout.

Here are some seeds that are good for sprouting:: broccoli - lentils - peas - sunflower - pumpkin and mustard..

6 Easy ways to sprout seeds

Edible Grass

Kitchen Scraps

Quick Recipes and notes

Dried and powdered worms/bug stores well and can thicken soup. Corn and Amaranth ground up together makes a corn cake equivalent to red meat in protein.

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Comment by Juan F Martinez on November 22, 2019 at 1:02am
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Comment by Juan F Martinez on October 18, 2019 at 11:45pm

This Guy Lives On A Diet Of Insects
This guy replaced all meat in his diet with insects and says he’s an ‘eco vegan.’ He’s explained why he made the decision and what it’s done to his body

Comment by KM on September 22, 2019 at 6:02am
Comment by KM on September 12, 2019 at 5:16pm


Here's how to use wild herbs and plants just like Alberta's settlers did

Borage (Borago officinalis) made a good fodder for chickens and geese, and was sought out by bees and other pollinators. 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was used in a poultice to heal wounds, and for many other uses. 

Long ago and far away, when I was at Girl Guide camp in Ontario, one of the leaders took us on a herb walk. As we came upon a clump of horsetail, she explained how the pioneers had used it for scrubbing pots clean.

When we encountered a mullein plant, we learned that Indigenous peoples used the soft leaves to line the insides of their moccasins. I was in awe that plants so readily available in the wild could be so useful, and a lifelong passion for herbs was born. In this sesquicentennial year, as thoughts turn to life in Canada 150 years ago, let’s take a look at just a few of the herbs that were cultivated in gardens or gathered from the wild in the mid to late 1800s.

In 1867, while Confederation was taking place in Eastern Canada, the area we now call Calgary was home to a number of Indigenous peoples who relied on herbs for health, healing and spiritual needs.

The arrival of European settlers in the West increased greatly after the CPR reached Calgary in 1883. There were two main sources of herb knowledge for settlers. They brought their experience and seeds with them from Europe or Asia, and they also gained valuable insight about the healing properties of local roots, leaves, flowers and tree barks from Indigenous peoples.

Rose Hips were used to treat colds and influenza. 

Most settlers were likely miles away from the nearest doctor, so when it came to first aid and medical complaints they often had to rely on their own knowledge, skills and supplies. The following herbs were common remedies on both sides of the Atlantic at the time.

Willow (Salix) and poplar (Populus) each contain salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin) and were used for pain relief. Rose hips were popular in Europe to treat colds and influenza and Indigenous peoples relied on the wild version, along with teas made with spruce (Picea) or cedar (Thuja) needles, to keep scurvy at bay.

Other parts of the rose (leaves, petals and roots) were used to treat a variety of stomach disorders and to make an eyewash to treat snow blindness or eyes irritated by campfire smoke. Effective eyewashes were also made from bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus) or raspberry leaves (Rubus idaeaus).

Bachelor’s Buttons (Centaurea cyanus) were used to make eyewash. 

Nettle (Urtica dioica), a perennial plant found throughout the world, has been used to treat respiratory problems, digestive disorders, urinary tract problems and gout. A tea made from the fresh or dried leaves was a spring tonic for early settlers and the fresh juice was reported to promote the flow of milk in nursing mothers. 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, also known as millefoil, nosebleed and warrior plant) is one of the world’s most popular herbs, with a wide diversity of uses. A poultice made from the flowers and young leaves was well-known for its abilities to stop bleeding and heal wounds. It was used as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion, the leaves were chewed to relieve toothache, and it was also effective at treating coughs, colds and fever.

For dental hygiene, sage (Salvia officinalis) and a variety of mint leaves, or even pine needles, were chewed to freshen the breath. Chewsticks with frayed ends were fashioned from twigs of oak, maple and dogwood to serve as toothbrushes.

Some culinary herbs from the garden did double duty in the “medicine cabinet.” Summer savory (Satureja hartensis) could bring down a fever and winter savory (Satureja mantana) was popular as a remedy for colic. In traditional herbal medicine, it’s interesting to note that while summer savory was considered an aphrodisiac, the winter version was said to inhibit sexual desire.

Borage (Baraga officinalis) is a hardy annual and was a welcome addition to pioneers’ gardens. It is highly nutritious for people (we now know it is a good source of the essential fatty acid GLA), it made a good fodder for chickens and geese, and was sought out by bees and other pollinators. The leaves have a mild cucumber flavour and were eaten either fresh or cooked in stews and soups. Dried leaves and blossoms made a refreshing tea that is said to have a calming effect on the nerves.

The garden also provided dyes and aromatic herbs for laundry, soap-making and other household use. Sheets could be stretched and dried across fragrant hedges such as hyssop, thyme, juniper, lavender and roses. Flax (Unum usitatissimum L.) was grown to provide for clothing and other necessities. The coarse fibres were used to make rope and sacks for grain, while the fine silky fibres were spun and woven into linen cloth.

Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) was used to make clothing, rope and sacks for grain. 

Herbalism is a vast subject with a rich history in Canada and I’ve only scratched the surface here with respect to herbs that the early settlers relied on for everyday use. If you are interested in learning more, here are a couple of websites worth checking: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing and The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Comment by Juan F Martinez on September 12, 2019 at 3:24pm

Regrow for ENDLESS food.

Comment by KM on September 10, 2019 at 5:27pm


Here is an excellent blog 'The Foraging Foodie' - a beginners guide to foraging mushrooms - it's from the UK, but has excellent information. 

Comment by KM on August 14, 2019 at 2:20pm



This site has an array of everyday foods with bugs, showing how they can be cooked and prepared for the everyday meals!

Comment by KM on August 4, 2019 at 4:34pm

Broadleaf Plantain is a perennial broadleaf plant that grows in many locations from spring to autumn. Not only is this a vital wild edible plant for overall good health, this wild weed can be used to treat chronic diarrhea as well as digestive tract disorders. Broadleaf plantain is packed with nutrients and is safe to ingest. If a person chomps on some fresh leaves, these can be applied to the skin to treat minor burns, insect bites or open wounds.

Distinguishing Features: Broadleaf plantain has green, oval to egg-shaped leaves that grow in a rosette. These leaves have thick stems that meet at a base. When these stems are broken, they reveal string-like veins that resemble those in celery. Long-pointed, green, petite flowers grow from the base; these also contain a small pod housing dark seeds.

Flowers: Plantain flowers occur in compact spikes on erect, leafless stalks from among the basal leaves. Each spike is about the size and shape of a pencil but consisting of many, tiny, stalkless, greenish flowers giving it a coarsely granular texture. Each flower measures 2 to 3 mm (1/12- 1/8") across. Each flower has four petals, two stamens, and one pistil. Egg-shaped seedpods develop beneath the withering flower.Flowers from spring until late autumn.

Fields of NutritionFields of Nutrition has medicinal benefits and vitamin/mineral content of Broadleaf Plantain.

Leaves: The leaves grow in a rosette and can range from 5 to 30 cm in length. Plantain leaves have stems that contain string-like veins and these veins are seen on the leaf. There are five to seven prominent parallel veins from the base. Leaves are generally broadly lance-shaped to egg-shaped, are hairless or sparsely short haired.

Height: Can grow to a height of 12cm.

Habitat: Can be found growing throughout Ontario and most of North America as well as in Europe and Asia in meadows, pastures, lawns, roadsides, gardens, and waste places.

Edible parts: The entire plant. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. They are somewhat bitter and tedious to prepare because it’s generally preferable (though not required) to remove the fibrous strands before use. Many people blanch the leaves in boiling water before using them in salads in order to make them more tender. Once blanched, plantain can be frozen then used later in a sauté, soup or stew. Seeds can be eaten raw or cooked and can be tedious to harvest. The seed can be ground into a meal and mixed with flour. Dried leaves make a healthy herbal tea.

Other name: Common Plantain.

Similar plants: Rugel's Plantain.

Recipes: Baked Plantain, Chicken Weed Wrap, Nutty Plantain Snack, Plantain Oil, Plantain Salad, Sesame and Wilted Green Saute, Wild Pizza

Comment by Juan F Martinez on July 19, 2019 at 1:05pm

The Honorable Harvest

Comment by KM on July 13, 2019 at 5:14pm

Six of the most common 'weeds' in the garden -

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