Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wild edible sprouts

This is a young Pandanus sprout.  When a plant is in the sprout stage it has the highest nutritional value. Not only are the vitamin and mineral contents higher, but the enzymes can be up to 100 times higher in certain plants at certain times.  Conservatively, any plant in the sprout stage will have between 10 - 30 times the nutritional value as it would when it's mature.

The best way to eat this particular young Pandanus is to cut or pull it away from the seed and eat the base of the plant. That's where most of the nutrients are located and that where you'll get the most sugar (carbs) as well.

This particular example is actually past the sprouting stage, but it's not far past, so it'll have more value now than later.

Pandanus sprout
Sprouted Pandanus: wild edible plant

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eco food container

There are better ways to carry lunch out into the jungle. Wrapping food in banana leaves is one of the traditional ways to carry food. The banana leaves make the food taste better too... that might just be in my mind, but I'm sticking to this theory.

Eco friendly food container
Eco friendly food container

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wild edible plants from Thai restaurants

Even now (2015), fancy and not-so-fancy restaurants in Thailand serve plants that you can find in the jungle.  

Other than the bean sprouts (in the middle), cucumbers, and longbeans (upper left), everything else here is in the jungle.

Thai restaurant wild edible plants
Wild edible Thai plants that are found in restaurants

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fire starter tree resin

Dipterocarp and a couple of other tree species offer resin which will stay lit for a long time. This is very useful when trying to get a fire going in wet or moist conditions.  

If you don't know which resins light, just try a variety and try to remember what that tree looks like.  You don't really have to know the species. 
Dipterocarp tree sap for fire starter
Exposed tree resin... try it.  It will either burn or it won't. 

Tree resin for starting fires
Some tree resin will stay lit for a long time.
This will greatly add in getting a fire going in wet conditions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wild Edible Plant: Pandanus amaryllifolius

Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves (bai toey in Thai) are common in Thai markets.  This popular plant actually sells out quickly most of the time as it's so prized. The leaves can be boiled to make a lovely sweet tea. A extract is made from the leaves to put in candies and sweet bread-type snacks. You can also wrap meats in these leaves when grilling to add flavor. 

Nutritionally, there is some carbohydrate value, some C complex, some B vitamins, and it has antioxidant properties.

Though cultivated in some areas, this is a wild native plant.  It grows in abundance in moist area, especially around water.  This photo is from Khao Sok National Park.

In a survival situation, adding some leaves to your boiled water adds some carbs and it also makes it taste better, thus helping your morale.

Pandanus amaryllifolius
Pandanus amaryllifolius from Khao Sok National Park

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Survival gear: slingshot

As there are so many plants and insects available in a tropical jungle survival situation, hunting animals is generally not necessary. However, if you have sufficient water and have enough energy through the plants and insects that you're finding and would like to supplement your food intake with some additional protein (though generally not necessary), one cheap and easy thing to carry in your jungle survival kit is a slingshot.

I only carry the rubber and the pouch as it is very easy to design the wooden part from natural materials.

With a slingshot, you can hunt lizards and other reptiles, birds, and perhaps some small animals such as rodents.

The only other hunting gear I would use is stuff that I could make: a spear and a long thin (preferably tapered) switch that I use for killing grasshoppers, cicadas, and other insects. Sometimes a lizard can be killed using a switch.

Slingshot rubber and pouch for survival hunting. Put a few
small cable ties in your survival kit to construct the slingshot.
Cable ties are useful in other situations and they don't take
up much room.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kindling Wood

In my 15 liter dry bag backpack, I always carry a fire kit. My kit contains at least three ways to start a fire and in addition to this, I carry a Ferrocerium fire striker rod around my next in case, for some odd reason, my fire box is lost or if I have to jettison my backpack during a creek/river crossing.

In addition to tender, I always carry kindling. When the jungle is wet, it is extremely difficult to keep a fire going without having some completely dry kindling.

I sometimes split small pieces of kindling wood. Sea Hibiscus and other 'white' softwoods are superb, but when not available, I have pre-cut bamboo (grass family actually, not wood).

I do this at home at a prep. I can and often do add to the amount of bamboo fire kindling when in the jungle, but I want to have a container with a supply of dry kindling in addition to whatever I can find in the field.

Jungle survival kindling
Bamboo is first sawed to a length that fits the container.
Next, I take my knife and split it into thin pieces. I do this
by batoning the back of my knife. When it's just bamboo,
I normally use the palm of my hand. If I'm batoning a harder
material, I'll use heavier wooden baton.

Empty pill containers work nicely for keeping kindling dry.
When opening the pill container the first time (medicine,
vitamins, or whatever) I like to just a sharp knife and cut
in a manner that allows the foil to remain on the rim. This
forms a bit better waterproof seal later on.

If there is a bit of room left in the top of your container,
you might as well cram it with extra rubber bicycling innertube
strips. These don't have to be kept dry actually, but you can't
have too many. They are wonderful for keeping a fire going.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Dual Survival" survival consultant

Me with Dave and Cody from the Discovery Channel survival show "Dual Survival". I was the survival consultant on two episodes... I actually designed most of two shows.

If you're interested in learning jungle survival skills... both the mental aspect and the physical skills, check out http://www.paddleasia.com/jungle-survival.htm

We also offer bushcraft courses. Bushcraft is basically survival with a bit more gear... or you can think of it as minimalistic backpacking. Check out http://www.paddleasia.com/bushcraft-courses.htm

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wild edible plants - Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel leaves, flowers, seeds, sprouts, and roots are all edible. It is very similar in look and taste to clover.

Wood Sorrel is packed with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, vitamin C, lecithin, vitamins A, vitamin E, B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), iron, zinc, and selenium.

Approximately 70% of the caloric value of Wood Sorrel is in the form of amino acids.  Wood Sorrel is not a complete protein, but if eaten with something that supplies the missing amino acids, it would make a respectable protein supplement.

When in the sprout form, which is always the most nutritious stage in a plant's life, 100 grams of Wood Sorrel provides 4 grams of protein.

Wood Sorrel flowers are, of course, high in carbohydrates (sugar) and as sugar is converted to glucose, which is the brain's fuel, you would definitely be doing yourself a favor by eating as many clover flowers as possible.

So, in a survival situation, you should grab all of the Wood Sorrel you can find, pull up the roots too if possible, and eat it all.

Wild edible plants Wood Sorrel

Thailand jungle food: Fishtail Palm Fruit danger

I have mentioned the Fishtail Palm several times as a jungle food source in the jungle... partly because it's so common and party because it's tasty.

This time I want to mention the fruit. The actual pulp part of the fruit has raphide crystals made of calcium oxalate. DO NOT eat the pulp part of this fruit! It's not really a poison, but the sharp crystals will be highly irritating.

The kernel part of the seed is edible. It's a lot of work to get this kernal. If you've got lots of time on your hands and just want to sit in the shade and do it, then it makes sense. It would be a good idea to wash the kernals in case there was any residual pulp crystals left.

I have personally swallowed some calcium oxalate crystals. It was very unpleasant.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wild Edible Food: freshwater land crab

This is a claw from one of the many freshwater/land crabs here in southern Thailand. As you can see, there is a substantial amount of meat available just in this claw.

There is an average of 18 grams of protein in 100 grams of crab. Grasshoppers are a bit easier to catch and have over 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of weight.

Hunting crabs is pretty easy too. It's certainly safer and uses less energy than hunting bigger animals.

BTW, I found this claw. I didn't kill a crab for this pic.

Freshwater crab jungle survival food
Freshwater crab claw