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 KM on June 26, 2023 at 2:50pm

Maple trees produce a lot of sap when spring first starts - later on they produce abundant seeds.  Here are some links to sites on how to harvest, prepare and eat the Maple seed.  (see blow for separate videos on how to identify and prepare maples seeds)


Maple Tree Seed

When we were children one of the fond memories many of us share was playing with the maple tree “helicopters”. These helicopters were also known as “whirlees” or keys. No matter what you remember them as, they are actually called samaras. Maple seeds earned their name as being helicopters because they are amazing auto-rotating helicopters. They begin rotating almost from the precise moment they are released from the tree. Even poorly-shaped seeds rotate with ease.

Maple tree seeds are edible, contain protein, and can be used as survival food in winter months, however like many wild edibles the best flavours are enjoyed in spring. As the year progresses they tend to gain a hint of bitterness and by the time winter rolls in, what is left is shriveled and somewhat bitter; but make no mistake, they are still edible.  (I have not been able to get confirmation, however, all edible seeds contain essential fatty acids, therefore it is assumed that these seeds have some levels of Omega-3, 6 and 9.)

To eat maple tree seeds you need to remove the wings. Some people will eat the seed pod as a trail snack however, many people like to roast or boil them.
Maple tree seeds are similar to acorns; the taste can vary from tree-to-tree so trying some from several trees is an option.  Better still, the ones that taste bitter, use these for cooking because adding spices can sure make them taste great.

Ok, so now you know they’re edible here are a few ideas to get you on your way to enjoying this culinary delight.

How to Eat Maple Tree Seeds

If you feel eating maple seeds raw just doesn’t do it for your taste buds then boil them for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and season with whatever you think you will enjoy (butter and spices).

Toss spring maple seeds into a salad.

Roast maple tree seeds and eat them as a snack or toss onto a salad or as a garnish on soup. You can roast them by placing the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with spices you like. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Try drying out the seeds for something totally different. You can use a food dehydrator, drying in the sun on a hot, dry day, or in the oven at a very low temperature. Once they are dried grind them into powder and use them as a spice, as flour, or as a soup thickener.

If you want mashed potatoes like you’ve never had them before, mash your potatoes and add some fresh or roasted maple seeds into the mash!

This year give maple seeds a try, they’re free for the taking and in many areas in abundance!


How to identify different species of Maple.

Identifying and eating Maple Seeds.

Comment by KM on June 26, 2023 at 3:49am

Wild lettuce grows abundantly in many places and is used as a tincture and for pain relief.  Cross between a thistle and dandelion it is often 'eradicated' from the garden as a weed.  It is in fact a very useful plant.  Here are some links to videos that show how to identify, harvest and prepare wild lettuce.

Comment by KM on June 26, 2023 at 3:35am

Here are some tips for foraging elm seeds.


Spring is here and with it comes elm samaras: a tree seed you can eat that tastes like fresh green peas, and one of the most unique wild edibles available to foragers in the spring.  Today I'll share with you what I've learned about these over the past few years of gathering. I'll go over how and when I harvest, as well as how I cook with them. 

The seeds of elms are called samaras. All elms I've seen have seeds that are edible, but, for the purposes of this post, I'm going to focus on Siberian elm samaras (Ulmus pumila) as they're the best I've had.

Sam Thayer says Slippery elm (Ulmus Rubra) seeds are equally good as good as Siberian elm. I've been told other species like Chinese elm (U. parviflora) are good too, but they're not as widely available. 

The only others species of elm samaras I've had are American (Ulmus americana), which aren't quite as good as Siberian elm. American elm samaras have more tiny hairs and are smaller than the rounded, winged fruit of Siberian elm. 

Sam Thayer writes that some people have reported developing an allergic reaction to American elm samaras, so make sure to try small amounts if those are the only ones available to you.

 Close up of edible Siberian elm samaras


Sustainability is a big topic in the foraging and wild food world. The good news about samaras is that arguably the best tasting ones come from an invasive tree. As Sam Thayer writes in the Forager's Harvest, Siberian elm trees were brought to the U.S. in the 1860's from Northeastern Asia. The tree is rugged, hardy, and, unlike American elms, resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Now, if only those invasive trees could start producing morels!


The harvesting window is very short for these, so you need to work quickly. On a good year, I can easily harvest a couple grocery bags full of samaras in an hour from one or two trees, but timing is crucial. 

Edible American elm samaras on a tree
Edible American elm samaras on a tree

Here's some quick tips I think are helpful.


  • You're looking for trees right as the leaves begin to unfurl. For me this is usually Mid-April, depending on the year.
  • Walk on the edge of the woods, sunny fields or trails. The trees there will have lower branches you can reach. As these trees get more sun, they give the largest amounts of samaras, from my experience.
  • Choose light-green, tender samaras in bountiful clusters without too many elm leaves. Fruit with tough or papery wings are too old.
  • U. pumila is often planted as an ornamental or shade tree. Sometimes I'll harvest from trees on the street if it doesn't see much traffic (pollution).
  • When they're ready, hit all of your spots. My areas produce for one week.
  • I bring a metal coat hanger, uncurled, and use the hook part to gently lower hard to reach branches.
  • Bring a blickey or a container you can secure to a belt. Having two hands free will double your harvesting speed.


Once you bring them home, you want to chill the samaras down by putting them in a zip-top bag in the fridge. Don't forget to channel your inner deer by stuffing your mouth full once or twice. They'll never be fresher than the moment you pick them. 


Besides eating fresh, you can also collect the fruit to harvest the central seed. Some people have compared the nutty taste to sunflower seeds. I don't doubt they're good, but processing these is a lot of work for a little return, so I don't see myself trying that any time soon. 


The golden nugget of wisdom I have to share with you here is a mindset, not a harvesting hack. Samaras are small, and there's a difference between having a couple as a trail nibble or putting a few on a salad, and eating them like a vegetable. 

To really appreciate them as more than a garnish or a cute sprinkle, you need a bunch. I recommend starting with at least a gallon bag. The real beauty of this fleeting, gourmet ingredient is hard to appreciate until you eat them in a portion similar to other foods. You can eat them in salads, and they're good, but cooking opens up a new world. 

If I cook samaras, it's usually in soup or broth. Toss them in at the last minute and watch their color transform to a vibrant green. Lightly oiled and toasted on low heat they also make a fun garnish or snack (see above). They'd also be great tossed into sauteed asparagus and mushrooms at the end of cooking.

The tender, papery covering softens and reminds me a bit of tiny pasta I used to chase around my bowl as a kid. To me it's a bit like eating elf food, and the kind of eating spring is all about. 

Comment by KM on June 7, 2022 at 3:29am

How to forage for food in the garden or anywhere, identifying 10 different plants! 

Comment by Juan F Martinez on May 10, 2022 at 5:09am

Herbs to forage in the Spring,

Comment by KM on April 24, 2022 at 5:07pm

This is a bit of a long video, but at the 55:11 mark, there is an interesting part on insects and how to incorporate them into daily cooking. ; This URL will take you directly to the point of the insects.

Comment by KM on March 15, 2022 at 6:36am

Lots of people sprout their own seeds for eating.  Putting into salads, on sandwiches and various dishes.  Here is a site that helps to show what seeds to sprout and some of their nutritional value.

Comment by KM on September 24, 2021 at 3:22am

Picking, preparing and eating nettles.

Comment by KM on September 24, 2021 at 2:58am

How to prepare Dandelion Jam, Cake and Dandelion root coffee

Comment by KM on September 11, 2021 at 9:10pm


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Squash flour is a wonderful low carb flour that can be used for gluten-free, paleo, and keto baking! A perfect replacement for coconut flour! This gluten free flour can be made with any type of squash!

Squash flour made with yellow squash in mason jar.

Yellow squash is prolific during the summer months, especially with the Back to Eden Gardening Method that we use! But there are only so many yellow squash recipes that I really want to make for the family, so I got a little creative.

Normally we use coconut flour for our baking needs, with an occasional almond flour recipe tossed in the mix.

But I decided to try my hand at making squash flour to see how it compared.


Fortunately, my rabid curiosity paid off and the squash flour was a smashing success!

    1. First, you'll need about 5 pounds of yellow squash for each cup of finished squash flour.
    2. Shred the squash either with a cheese grater or a shredding attachment blade on your food processor (that's what I do).
    3. Lay the shredded squash on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135° until COMPLETELY dry.

✅ If you need a good dehydrator, here's the dehydrator we've been using for 20 years (and love)!

  1. Take the completely dried squash and place it in a clean, dry food processor or blender. Run on high speed until squash is powder fine. This usually takes about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Once you think the squash flour is ready, leave the lid on for another few minutes (with the machine off) to allow the flour dust to settle. Otherwise you will end up with yellow cabinets!

Once I finished the flour, I made this delicious chocolate cake!

5 pounds of squash for 1 cup of flour?!
Yes, it is a lot of squash! But keep in mind that you aren't going to be using it in the same quantities as wheat flour.

For each recipe, you will only use 1/2 a cup of squash flour, on average!


Store the squash flour in an air tight container WITH a silica packet (this is a MUST) for up to 6 months.

The squash flour will pull moisture from the air and will end up molding in the jar if you don't include a silica pack. These are the ones we use and they work really well!


When first contemplating the idea of squash flour, I did a small test batch to determine the absorbency rate of this flour compared to other paleo, GAPS gluten free flours such as almond flour and coconut flour.

I found that squash flour acted just like coconut flour, except that the squash flour didn't crumble the way coconut flour did. Instead, it had a wonderful bouncy texture to it, even though the absorption rate was the same.

So I tested it with several of my favorite GAPS recipes that used coconut flour and found that not only did the squash flour replace 1 for 1 with the coconut flour, but I much preferred the taste and texture of the squash flour!


Does this work with other squash varieties as well?
I have tried it with zucchini and had the same results as with yellow squash! However, I have not tried it with the starchier squashes such as butternut and spaghetti squash.

Here is the zucchini flour!
Gluten free paleo keto gaps baking with zucchini flour

Will this turn my food yellow?
As you can see in the photo, the finished product has a vary light color when fully blended. However, if you made this with zucchini (and then didn't add cacao or something to the recipe), this would give the finished food product a slight green tinge.

That doesn't bother me though!

How long will it last?
If you use an air tight container and a silica packet in every jar, it should last you about 6 months to a year, depending on the humidity of your climate.

In all honesty though, it's going to be gone long before that because this stuff is seriously delicious!


While there's not really a 100% accurate way to calculate the nutrition for the squash flour, each 1/2 cup is about 2.25 pounds of fresh yellow squash or zucchini.

So here are the nutrition facts for 2.25 pounds of squash! Keep in mind that you need to subtract the fiber to get the net carbs.

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