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Monday, April 19, 2010

Dandelion Greens – The Perfect Spring Survival Food

With Spring finally here in New England, not only are we are enjoying a taste of warmer weather but the first shoots fresh, tasty, wild-edibles as well.
One of my favorite wild edibles during the early Spring happens to be the bane of all lawn owners: The Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
This article details how to identify and prepare this commonplace but excellent tasting and nutritious wild plant — knowledge that is an excellent addition to your survival info store.

How to Identify Dandelion

Dandelion is a perennial, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are deeply toothed and resemble it’s namesake (dandelion comes from the Old French “Dent-de-lion” meaning lion’s tooth). Here are the key components of dandelion that you’ll want to look for:
  • deeply toothed, lance-shaped leaves (3 to 12 inches long)
  • leaves grow in a basal rosette
  • leaves are hairless
  • leaves and flower stalks exude a white milky sap when injured
  • yellow, composite flowers (1 to 2 inches wide)
  • flowers turn into round white seed heads that float in the wind

Dandelion Greens – How to Prepare Them

Instead of waging backyard chemical warfare on dandelions why not eat them instead?
The best time to gather and eat dandelion greens is in the early Spring before the flowers emerge. At this time of year they are only minimally bitter when eaten raw. When added to a stir fry (as I show you below) even finicky eaters will like them.
Here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare and eat dandelion greens:
You’ll notice the first shoots appear as a basal rosette
Gather around 3 cups of dandelion greens
With some olive oil, cook around 2 cups of onions until soft
Add the dandelion greens some chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cook for around 15 minutes
viola! some awesome tasting dandelion green stir fry!
Dandelion greens can also be added raw to salads and are excellent in sandwiches. If you eat the greens after the flowers emerge, they will be noticeably more bitter. However, you can still eat these. Just boil them in two changes of water (be sure to bring the water to a boil before adding the greens) and they’ll taste just fine.

Dandelion Greens Nutrition Information

Dandelion greens (leaves) are more nutritious than most anything you can purchase in your produce section.
They’re higher in beta carotene than carrots and the iron, vitamin K, and calcium content is far greater than spinach and brocolli. And for the price of pulling them out of your (and your neighbor’s lawn :) ) you get vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, P (bioflavonoids) and D, biotin, mositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Still think this is a bothersome weed? Think again.

Related posts:

  1. The Fantastic Four – 4 Essential Wild Edible Plants that May Just Save Your Life
  2. Choosing the Perfect Survival Knife
  3. How to Make Survival (Sumac) Lemonade

Fun Files For Monday!

I really appreciate your participation in the poll to the right. I now have a good idea of what you'd like to see and in what percentage, so I'll try and balance the files I find and post links to, and not just keep it confined to things to help you create chaos and mayhem.

But before we go to the books available for download, I'd like you to visit A-Z Bushcraft. There are videos available for you to watch online that give you some good, easy to remember tips that may help you survive should you become stranded.

First is a text on how to grow crops without using endosulfan. It has good tips that will help anyone who is looking to minimize the effects of insects, especially mites, without having to resort to an extremely toxic pesticide. These tips can be used anywhere and not just where endosulfan was used in the past.

How To Grow Crops Without Endosulfan and Pesticides.

Next is a book that is nearly 100 years old. It is centered around building devices to be used around the farm. It could come in handy should access to modern powered equipment become restricted due to a fuel crisis or other event.

Handy Farm Devices And How To Make Them.

Everybody has to eat. The question is what do you do with the stuff that comes out the other end of people. The answer can be found right here, in this book:

The Humanure Handbook: A Guide To Composting Human Manure

The Mormons have long been looked to as a prime source for information for long term preservation of foods.

The LDS Preparedness Manual

And finally, "The 'Bible' for emergency prep and survival, plus green and healthy living". That's right, its:

When Technology Fails: A Manual For Self Reliance and Planetary Survival

INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Ingredients vs. Prepared Foods

I’ve been contemplating my 45 jars of Ragu pasta sauce that are sitting on my pantry shelf, wondering how many more jars I want to store.  It all goes back to a recurring nightmare of mine: the S has hit the fan, we’re living in a bunker, and I discover I have 45 jars of pasta sauce but no pasta!  Now, I’m completely in favor of stocking up on  grocery store food.  For most of us, it’s highly accessible and affordable, especially with the use of coupons.  However, at some point, anyone serious about food storage must ask the question, “Now what?”coupons 300x199 INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP:  Ingredients vs. Prepared 
The ‘what’, the next step, is to begin storing ingredients.  Stocking up on wheat, sugar, salt, rice, spices, and other basic ingredients allow us to combine them to make hundreds of different dishes.  This step requires a bit more of an investment since a bucket of wheat will cost much more than a loaf of bread or two, but when you figure all that wheat will make dozens of loaves and can last for decades, it’s obvious that the wheat, not the store-bought bread, is the true bargain.
Ideally, your food storage will consist of three layers.
  1. Grocery store food.  Generally easy to prepare, which could be important in emergencies.  Open a can, heat up the contents (or not), and dinner is served!  The downside is that these foods are usually not packaged for long-term storage and often contain excessive salt, high fructose corn syrup, and other additives.
  2. Ingredients purchased in bulk.  Yes, putting these to use will require learning how to cook everything from scratch, but you’ll end up with healthier, less expensive meals in the long run. 
  3. Freeze-dried foods.  Freeze-dried entrees, such as spaghetti with meat sauce or chicken teriyaki, require only the addition of boiling water.  Because they’re so lightweight and easy to prepare, they’re ideal to stock for emergency evacuations and power outages.  A variety of freeze-dried fruits and veggies are handy for everyday cooking but especially to insure your family has a supply of produce, long-term.  Check out Kellene Bishop’s review of freeze-dried foods by different manufacturers  here.
Food prices are increasing and some economists are predicting even higher prices.  We have a terrific window of time right now to stock up, stock up, stock up at reasonable prices.  Check out online coupon sites such as Coupon Carousel.
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.

Free Bushcraft Book Download

Caught At Last

If you are into bushcraft, one of the must have items for your survival library is “Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping” by W. Hamilton Gibson (1850-1896). This bushcraft book by William Hamilton Gibson was first published in 1881 and is not copyrighted in the United States. It also contains numerous illustrations by the author. This book provides a complete and illustrated guide on how to catch everything from large animals to squirrels and mice. It also offers general advice on camping and hiking in the woods.
Additional information inside this book includes plans for building dozens of traps and the directions for the building of shanties and log cabins for survival. It also includes directions for the building and construction of boats and canoes, tips on food and cooking utensils and instructions for the curing and tanning of fur skins. There are also some great bait recipes for your traps.
Although the information on the price of fur skins is a little outdated, it still contains a wealth of information for those persons that are truly into bushcraft. It is being provided free in a secure download so that you may add it to your library.

You can preview or download a secure copy of this free bushcraft book here:

Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping.PDF (9.8 MB)
Note from RW: Edited download format to correct problems with viewing illustrations.
Got bushcraft?
Staying above the water line!

Tip of the Week…City Living and Surviving…Water

Free Movie and Cheap Pizza for Date Night Tonight:
Download your free app to your iphone or android today and enjoy tonight!!
Clean drinking water is a huge concern no matter where you live during an emergency but for city dwellers it is more of a concern due to the amount of space needed to store water and also the inability to just walk to a river or stream to get more.
Most just don’t have the space required to store the volume of water needed. This is a key reason I never recommend, in fact I strongly recommend against, storing dehydrated or freeze dried foods. Dehydrated foods need four times the volume of water to food to reconstitute. In other words for 1 cup of dehydrated food you need 4 cups of water. Now, you may be thinking freeze dried foods taste good without reconstituting but that is very dangerous. These foods need to be reconstituted to digest so if you don’t reconstitute them before eating your body will draw water from your cells for the digestion process. This leads quickly to dehydration and if untreated, to death.
We talked about where to find space in the first post of this series. We talked mostly about storing food. When storing the foods we eat food=water. Think about it. As you use those peaches you can use the juice to cook your oatmeal or to reconstitute powdered milk. You can use green bean water to cook your pasta or to add to the flour for biscuits or bread.
Collecting rain water is an option and should be considered in your planning. consider how you cold rig up plastic sheets, tarps, buckets, even a kiddy pool, to collect water. A small pool could be loaded with food and other supplies and slipped under a bed until it is needs. The rice stored in a 5 gallon bucket could be poured out into a pillow case and the bucket used to collect water. If you have a balcony this is much easier than if you don’t. Do you have access to the roof of your building? Could you work out a system with a neighbor across the alley to tie a tarp between your buildings? If you park on the street do you have a hard sided car top carrier that could be opened and allowed to fill with water during a rain?
Purchase a water purifier. Some urban areas have lakes and rivers near by. You can not drink this water directly from the source so be sure you have a good water filter available. Remember it takes time to purify the water so you will need to be diligent.
If you can get water but you do not have a purifier you can purify water in many ways (see your February Newsletter). One of the easiest in the city is to use clear plastic PET water, juice or soda bottles. Keep a few ready to go by removing the label, washing them with soap and water and rinsing well. Fill with clear water. If your water contains debris or dirt filter through a clean cloth first. Fill the bottle with clear water. Place the bottle on a piece of metal in the full sun, in 6 hours UVA radiation will kill viruses, bacteria and parasites in the water. If there is no sun then hopefully you are collecting rain water. On a cloudy day you will need to leave the bottle out for at least two full days.
Think about your options today and walk around your home to case out the possibilities. Once you have done this it is time to purchase any items which will help you provide water during a crisis.
The book Life As We Knew It was recommended to me a s book that depicts life after a disaster and as one that is a good conversation starter.
The other book which is a great way to start someone on preparing is One Second After
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