Live-Off-The-Land with These 7 Summer Survival Foods

So, summer is here again, guys and gals.  What better time to practice your survival skills?  I have mentioned in articles past that it is a good idea to put away all the high-tech gizmos and get back to the basics of doing things to give your practice realism.  We’re going to do a few articles that broach that mindset, and this one is the first: how to make dinner when the SHTF…some not-so-obvious sources.I’m not going to cover what has already been covered, such as methods of fishing and the types of fish to catch.  We’re going to utilize a hypothetical framework.  You are “under the gun” in a SHTF/the “Road” environment.  You can’t stand idly by with a fishing pole carved from a branch, seeking dinner in a relaxed, “On Golden Pond” manner.

While many would turn their nose up to these 7 survival food sources, in a dire emergency, where there is no food, you have to take it where you can get it. 

  1. The Crayfish: Let’s do it up, down and dirty, with the “mudbug,” as they’re called in New Orleans, as our first survival food. Yes, he is known by many names, including Crawdad, Crawfish, etc.  The crayfish will provide you with ready protein, and also for bait for night fishing later (this on trot lines).  Prepare them by boiling them.  Throw in some wild garlic or wild onions for a little flavor.  You’ll get some protein in the form of meat from the tail, and a little within the front claws.  You’ll have to round up a bunch to make a good meal.  Best method: find some large rocks in a shallow stream and slowly overturn them little by little.  As the cloudy/silty water clears, he’ll usually be sitting there, waiting.  One hand place behind him, and when the other is to his front, he’ll move back.  You can also use a small dip net if you don’t prefer my method.  The big ones lurk in the deeper pools.  Eat the meat right after you cook it in a pot.  The ones for bait at night keep in a separate container with water in it.
  2. The Frog: yes, those frog legs can be eaten.  They can be boiled and peeled, or roasted over a fire.  Protein is where you find it.
  3. The Grasshopper: Grasshoppers and other edible insects are packed with protein and can be dried out in the sun, or lightly roasted over a fire.
  4. Cattail roots: This survival food can be boiled and are similar in taste to potatoes, with a more starchy taste to them.  They’ll give you some carbs and sugars, to help round out the meal.
  5. Snakes: Yes, high protein in these guys!  Gut them, peel off their skin, and put them on a spit…a coat hanger (metal) works great…and then roast them.  If not, then slice it up and cook it over a fire.  Venomous snakes can be eaten in this manner, as well, but take care when obtaining them.  Decapitate the snake by cutting off the head and about 1” behind it.  Either bury or burn the head…you wouldn’t want to either step on it or sit on it and be bitten by a dead snake’s head!  The snake meat is a little greasy, but hey, you’re eating and he’s not, right?
  6. Trot lines: Set out fishing lines at night, and set them at intervals that enable them to be checked regularly during the night.
  7. Greens: Dandelions (the whole plant), shepherd’s purse, and wild berries you can garner for starters.  Make sure you can positively ID them!  Don’t survive the SHTF initial event only to poison yourself with something you didn’t recognize!  Pine needle tea will give you a supply of Vitamin C…boil it for about 20 minutes in a pot or canteen cup.

We’re going to go more in-depth in future articles but in a SHTF situation, you want to make sure you cook in a fire pit or on a shielded fire.  Don’t allow the flames to give you away either day or night.  This situation here follows a forage-cook-feed-move/hide method.  You’ll have to also take due diligence to clean up your mess so as not to allow others to trail you.  This is another reason the fire-pit method is good.  When it’s time to put out the fire, do so and then bury it.  Practice these skills now so that they will be second nature for you when the time comes that you need them.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

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