You must know how to prepare fish and game for cooking and storage in a survival situation.
Improper cleaning or storage can result in inedible or potentially dangerous (food poisoning is a risk) fish or game.
Do not eat fish that appears spoiled. Cooking does not ensure that spoiled fish will be edible.
Signs of spoilage are–
· Sunken eyes.
· Peculiar odor.
· Suspicious color. (Gills should be red to pink. Scales should be a pronounced shade of gray, not faded.)
· Dents stay in the fish’s flesh after pressing it with your thumb.
· Slimy, rather than moist or wet body.
· Sharp or peppery taste.
Eating spoiled or rotten fish may cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, vomiting, itching, paralysis, or a metallic taste in the mouth.
These symptoms appear suddenly, one to six hours after eating.
Induce vomiting if symptoms appear.
Fish spoils quickly after death, especially on a hot day.
Prepare fish for eating as soon as possible after catching it.
Cut out the gills and large blood vessels that lie near the spine.
Gut fish that is more than 10 centimeters long.
Scale or skin the fish.
You can impale a whole fish on a stick and cook it over an open fire.
However, boiling the fish with the skin on is the best way to get the most food value.
The fats and oil are under the skin and, by boiling, you can save the juices for broth.
You can use any of the methods used to cook plant food to cook fish.
Pack fish into a ball of clay and bury it in the coals of a fire until the clay hardens.
Break open the clay ball to get to the cooked fish.
Fish is done when the meat flakes off.
If you plan to keep the fish for later, smoke or fry it.
To prepare fish for smoking, cut off the head and remove the backbone.
If you are in a survival situation then there is a high probability that you are going to be consuming some of the local flora in order to sustain yourself.
But you can’t go running through the wilderness Willy Nilly munching on whatever plant takes your fancy!
One bite of the wrong plant and you could be dead in minutes!!
That why it is vital you not only know how to identify poisonous plants but you also understand how they poison, what to do if you get poisoned and how to deal with poisonous plants in general.
Successful use of plants in a survival situation depends on positive identification.
Knowing poisonous plants is as important to a survivor as knowing edible plants.
Knowing the poisonous plants will help you avoid sustaining injuries from them.
How Plants Poison
Plants generally poison by–
· Ingestion. When a person eats a part of a poisonous plant.
· Contact. When a person makes contact with a poisonous plant that causes any type of skin irritation or dermatitis.
· Absorption or inhalation. When a person either absorbs the poison through the skin or inhales it into the respiratory system.
Plant poisoning ranges from minor irritation to death.
A common question asked is, “How poisonous is this plant?”
It is difficult to say how poisonous plants are because–
· Some plants require contact with a large amount of the plant before noticing any adverse reaction while others will cause death with only a small amount.
· Every plant will vary in the amount of toxins it contains due to different growing conditions and slight variations in subspecies.
· Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances.
· Some persons may be more sensitive to a particular plant.
Some common misconceptions about poisonous plants are–
· Watch the animals and eat what they eat. Most of the time this statement is true, but some animals can eat plants that are poisonous to humans.
· Boil the plant in water and any poisons will be removed. Boiling removes many poisons, but not all.
· Plants with a red color are poisonous. Some plants that are red are poisonous, but not all.
The point is there is no one rule to aid in identifying poisonous plants. You must make an effort to learn
as much about them as possible.
Learn About Plants If You Want To Survive
It is to your benefit to learn as much about plants as possible.
Many poisonous plants look like their edible relatives or like other edible plants.
For example, poison hemlock appears very similar to wild carrot.
Certain plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth and poisonous in other stages.
For example, the leaves of the pokeweed are edible when it first starts to grow, but it soon becomes poisonous.
You can eat some plants and their fruits only when they are ripe.
For example, the ripe fruit of mayapple is edible, but all other parts and the green fruit are poisonous.
Some plants contain both edible and poisonous parts; potatoes and tomatoes are common plant foods, but their green parts are poisonous.
Some plants become toxic after wilting.
For example, when the black cherry starts to wilt, hydrocyanic acid develops.
Specific preparation methods make some plants edible that are poisonous raw.
You can eat the thinly sliced and thoroughly dried corms (drying may take a year) of the jack-in-the-pulpit, but they are poisonous if not thoroughly dried.
Learn to identify and use plants before a survival situation.
Some sources of information about plants are pamphlets, books, films, nature trails, botanical gardens, local markets, and local natives.
Gather and cross-reference information from as many sources as possible, because many sources will not contain all the information needed.
Rules For Avoiding Poisonous Plants
Your best policy is to be able to look at a plant and identify it with absolute certainty and to know its uses or dangers.
Many times this is not possible.
If you have little or no knowledge of the local vegetation, use the rules to select plants for the “Universal Edibility Test.”
Remember, avoid –
· All mushrooms. Mushroom identification is very difficult and must be precise, even more so than with other plants. Some mushrooms cause death very quickly.
Some mushrooms have no known antidote. Two general types of mushroom poisoning are gastrointestinal and central nervous system.
· Contact with or touching plants unnecessarily.
Contact dermatitis from plants will usually cause the most trouble in the field. The effects may be persistent, spread by scratching, and are particularly dangerous if there is contact in or around the eyes.
The principal toxin of these plants is usually an oil that gets on the skin upon contact with the plant.
The oil can also get on equipment and then infect whoever touches the equipment.
Never bum a contact poisonous plant because the smoke may be as harmful as the plant.
There is a greater danger of being affected when overheated and sweating.
The infection may be local or it may spread over the body.
Symptoms may take from a few hours to several days to appear.
Signs and symptoms can include burning, reddening, itching, swelling, and blisters.
When you first contact the poisonous plants or the first symptoms appear, try to remove the oil by washing with soap and cold water.
If water is not available, wipe your skin repeatedly with dirt or sand.
Do not use dirt if blisters have developed.
The dirt may break open the blisters and leave the body open to infection.
After you have removed the oil, dry the area.
You can wash with a tannic acid solution and crush and rub jewelweed on the affected area to treat plant-caused rashes.
You can make tannic acid from oak bark.
Poisonous plants that cause contact dermatitis are–
· Poison ivy.
· Poison oak.
· Poison sumac.
· Rengas tree.
· Trumpet vine.
Ingestion poisoning can be very serious and could lead to death very quickly.
Do not eat any plant unless you have positively identified it first. Keep a log of all plants eaten.
Signs and symptoms of ingestion poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, depressed heartbeat and respiration, headaches, hallucinations, dry mouth, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
If you suspect plant poisoning, try to remove the poisonous material from the victim’s mouth and stomach as soon as possible. Induce vomiting by tickling the back of his throat or by giving him warm saltwater, if
he is conscious.
Dilute the poison by administering large quantities of water or milk, if the person is conscious.
The following plants can cause ingestion poisoning if eaten:
· Castor bean.
· Death camas.
· Physic nut.
· Poison and water hemlocks.
· Rosary pea.
· Strychnine tree.
If your caught out in the wilderness and have limited or no food with you then it is very useful to know what plants you can and can’t eat.
Tasting or swallowing even a small portion of some can cause severe discomfort, extreme internal disorders, and even death.
Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt about a plant’s edibility, apply the Universal Edibility Test below before eating any portion of
Before testing a plant for edibility, make sure there are enough plants to make the testing worth your time
and effort. Each part of a plant (roots, leaves, flowers, and so on) requires more than 24 hours to test.
Do not waste time testing a plant that is not relatively abundant in the area.
Remember, eating large portions of plant food on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea, nausea, or
Two good examples of this are such familiar foods as green apples and wild onions.
Even after testing plant food and finding it safe, eat it in moderation.
You can see from the steps and time involved in testing for edibility just how important it is to be able to
identify edible plants.
To avoid potentially poisonous plants, stay away from any wild or unknown plants that have:
· Milky or discolored sap.
· Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods.
· Bitter or soapy taste.
· Spines, fine hairs, or thorns.
· Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsleylike foliage.
· “Almond” scent in woody parts and leaves.
· Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs.
· Three-leaved growth pattern.
Using the above criteria as eliminators when choosing plants for the Universal Edibility Test will cause you to avoid some edible plants.
More important, these criteria will often help you avoid plants that are potentially toxic to eat or touch.